Link-Clickers Paradise 10/25/16

In pursuit of wool dryer balls I know I must clean, comb/brush, and felt my wool. And so here I go to discover the wonder of of it all.

I’m going to overwhelm you on this one.

Guide to Processing Wool. I was so excited to find this piece of information. It has gotten me to a point where I know so much more about processing wool and I’ve only read the first 4 pages.

ehow’s guide to felting wool. Simple, but interesting to see it needs to be worked for at least 10 minutes.

simple wikihow felting tutorial This actually shows the small balls to use for¬† jewelry and I totally want to make these. There’s that pesky 10 minute comment again.

Youtube flat felt tutorial. Interesting. 20 minutes? Wow! Starting to think I don’t have enough patience to make these dryer balls. I now know why everyone starts with roving – fewer steps, less time.

Frog & Count This actually is a how to clean wool. The ultimate problem for reading the internet is the continual link-clicking. Every time I click a link I am sleuthing my way through miles of information, each clue bringing me closer to my goal or further away depending on your perspective. I will need to revisit this site.

Combing wool with homemade combs. Sigh more sites that need further perusal.

Washing wool. Really people tell me to stop clicking already. So much to learn, so little time!

Wool processing. I’m noticing these web pages that seem old or dated. Not modern. Does that mean I’m old for wanting to do these things?

Pretty needle felted items. And it’s past my bedtime.

Felt. OK, I’m getting tired of this search – are you? I think I learned what I needed on the first 2 or 3 items. However, I will stay the course, maybe I’ll learn something vital!

More felt. I am interested in this site – they taught a kids group. I wonder if there is more to discover here.

Washing wool. Very detailed.

A site that appears more modern and talks about washing wool. Must explore more – later. It is getting so late.

Mother Earth News and how to make a felted rug. I love this magazine but for money reasons do not receive it in my home. Fortunately all their content appears on the internet! A treasure trove of old-timey fun. I am totally doing this rug method next time we shear our sheep!

Spinning daily site – to explore later.

Anoka fiber works. I was reminded of this by a fellow sheep fiber fanatic in our area. What a great resource. I still haven’t made it to their site, but I hope to soon.

Well kids. What have we learned today? I am easily distracted by interesting links – yes. I think I will be able to finish my wool dryer balls quite effectively soon.

Making It From Scratch: Wool Dryer Balls II

I really, really, really want to make wool dryer balls – have you noticed that yet? I have heard from people that they would “totally buy them from me” if I could only figure them out. Motivation! There is a demand; I MUST fill the need.

Problem #1: I do not have roving.
Roving is wool in a pre-yarn state of existence. It occurs after raw wool has been gently cleaned and brushed. From what I can tell, the fibers all go in one direction and are magically joined into a beautiful rope-like structure which can then be spun into yarn. Discovery #1: there are also many other pre-yarn states like rolag which is usually what is made when hand carding. However, all the dryer ball instructions start with roving or worse – an old wool sweater.

Problem #2: I do not have carding brushes.
Carding brushes are the instruments used to straighten out the wool and make it soft, fluffy, and I assume, formable into roving or rolag. From what I have seen of them, they are 8″x4″ and come in a set of 2. I have seen them for sale, but have not yet had the funds to purchase them. Discovery #2: Roving is not made from hand carding brushes, it is made with a carding drum. Sigh.

And yet, I am determined to overcome these hurdles and make my own dryer balls by forming my wool into something closely resembling roving. It may be an imperfect union. But where there is a demand; I MUST fill the need. Here is what I did.

I pulled out a tuft of wool. By tuft I mean a clump loosely the size of a salt shaker. I carefully pulled out tiny yarn sized bits, then split those in half, letting the ends cling together so that I had a double length of wool that was soft and filmy. I added these bits to a flat line which I built up to be about 24 inches long by 2 inches wide and maybe 1/4″ thick with all wool generally pointed horizontally. I staggered the wooly bits so that they would overlap. Then I carefully rolled it like pigs in a blanket (or should I say lambs in a blanket) and ended with something slightly resembling roving – yippee. I carefully wrapped these roving-like pieces around a wad of wool. I built up my wool balls this way until they were almost the size of softballs. I was uncertain if this would work so I did not make them actually as big as softballs and as I progressed they were closer in size to baseballs. These were then stuffed into old nylons, and separated from each other by rubber bands.

With two rows of lumpy caterpillar looking things complete; I added them to the dirty laundry bags. I was desperate to give this a try, but our washing machine was on the fritz, which meant a trip to the laundry mat. Running to the laundry mat is always a complicated endeavor. First it must be timed just right in the day because of school and work scheduling as well as other errands to be paired with this trip into town. It also requires ransacking the entire house top to bottom for all possible dirty laundry. Then all the laundry is sorted by color (we do 3 batches, Black/Red colors, Blue/Green colors, and whites) and stuffed into feed bags. Farmers life note: feed bags make great laundry bags, trash bags, and sometimes snow sleds.

Once ready to wash, I put them in hot loads with the colors (no bleach please). Then dried them. Pulling them from the dryer and peeling back the stockings was so exciting. They now appear to be dryer balls, but the light color ones did not felt (the way wool compacts and hold tight as it is washed and agitated in hot water) as much as they should have. The dark brown ones firmed up nicely, but they are not even baseball sized, so clearly I must do more, and I wonder if I were to wash the light color ones again if they would firm up more. Maybe if I wash them enough, they would firm up completely and I could just keep adding layers until they reach the proper size like a big ol gobstopper of wooly goodness?

Whatever they are, I think they are so pretty. I brought one to work to keep on my desk and have been dropping cedar wood essential oil on it. It is a lovely thing to pick up randomly and toss in the air and that smell, so peaceful.

I feel I am one step closer to fulfilling my dream of being the go to gal for dryer balls. For where there is a demand; I MUST fill the need.

Check back to see the thrilling conclusion in part III – or is it?

 

Making It From Scratch: Wool Dryer Balls

It is 9:02 pm and I am staring at a blank website page. At the top of my screen there are no less than 20 tabs open and I just picked up my phone for one last search.

I am a link-clicker. I am an idea-sleuth.

There seems to be a gap in the knowledge pool (or my search engine is holding out on me). There are no truly from scratch ways to make dryer balls. Very important stuff – right?! All tutorials start with roving. I do not have roving. I have baa-baa black sheep 10 bags full of lovely lanolin-smelling raw wool.

I find myself in this situation more than I like. Yes you can find everything on the internet. Unfortunately the general public’s step one is not where I find myself: drowning in the passion of a new project with no idea how to reach the shore of completion.

When searching for something “from scratch”, I do not want to see the first ingredient is in a can, package, or otherwise made by someone else and do not get me started on bread flour or pastry flour.

My first idea was to stuff a bunch of wool in two socks, tie it in each, and send it through the washing machine. Once washed I just left the wool in the socks and let them merrily tumble through a month of dryer loads.

Until now, when I really want to have many dryer balls to share with friends. So I took off the sock (I am still uncertain where the second one is – perhaps it has joined the merry millions on the lost sock island).

Look it worked (almost), if you are unmotivated want to make your own dryer balls – just stuff a large handful of wool in a sock, then wash and dry it.

If, however, you are looking for a way to impress your friends with your wool-bally prowess, you will want to read my follow-up post! Which will be the result of at least 40 more internet tabs as I attempt to discover the secret first step.