Having witnessed a few of my nearest and dearest succumb to the mediative delights of knitting, I'm beginning to cultivate an appreciation—for the materiality and intricate skills of the art—that I might have normally reserved for wood or metal work. As with any craft, there are whole supporting industries attached that often remain hidden to the unindoctrinated—and any number of innovators tinkering on the peripheries—that can often be fascinating upon first exposure.
One such novelty that an education in needle work has revealed is the remarkable (if incredibly simple) textile innovation that is Woolfiller—the invention of Netherlands product designer Heleen Klopper, who was inspired after developing a fascination for wool and felt. In a similar vein to Sugru in the world of hard materials, Woolfiller is a product dedicated to fixing and repairing in the world of knitting and woolwear.
Fabric philistine that I was, I thought a hole (or a smattering of moth teeth marks) spelled disaster for my favorite woollen sweaters. Woolfiller takes much of its magic from the ancient craft of felting, in which fibres are matted together to form fabric pieces. Simply place a sponge under the offending hole, prick the wool throughly through and around the opening and voila, your sweater is saved.
Apparently, Woolfiller and the process of felting takes advantage of the unique 'scaled' surface of wool, creating enough friction to hold the fibres together. With wide uptake, this little trick could be a massive boon for clothing reuse and recycling the world over. And, of course there's plenty of room for freedom of designerly expression too, like this lovely example from Love Revamp .
Sam Dunne is a designer, strategist and writer based in London. Sam is founder of design strategy agency Cohere and Contributing Editor at Core77—reporting broadly on design, technology, food and object culture.