I’ve been making wool dryer balls in my spare time. Why? Well, I have some roving that is not great for spinning or felting. I need all my wool to do something on the farm. This is what allows us to be sustainable. All or nearly all wool and mohair is used to make something here.
Why use dryer balls? Well according to the Environmental Working Group, dryer sheets and fabric softeners damage your clothing and they also damage your health. The chemicals in these products contain chemicals known to cause cancer, irritate your skin, and cause reproductive issues. Also when dryer sheets are heated, these chemicals become airborne and can affect your lungs and exasperate asthma. These chemicals are know collectively as Quaternary Ammonium Compounds or QACS. These chemicals make your towels less absorbent. I’ve surely experienced that. They will also wear down the ability of your clothing to wick away moisture in socks or athletic wear. QACS stay on your fabrics for quite a while and they slowly seep out over time between washings. And as they seep they are affecting you, your family and all the fabrics in your house. Also what happens to the “used” sheet? It goes to the landfill. There are still those chemicals in the sheet. And the contents of our landfills can contaminate ground water and other water sources. Just think about all the loads of laundry in all the houses in your neighborhood or city or state, that’s a lot of these QACS in the environment.
Dryer balls are completely natural. Mine are made of 100% wool. Wool is great at wicking away moisture. It is antimicrobial as well. They work by bouncing around in your dryer. They lift and aerate your laundry. They help the heat to disperse within your load and thereby reduce your drying time. Because they reduce the heat in your dryer, they also reduce the static cling. Static builds up with more and longer heat in the dryer. They contain no chemicals, just wool, pure wool.
Each package of dryer balls contains 4 softball sized wool balls. Just toss them in your dryer and turn it on. In between laundry days or sessions, leave them in the dryer. I’ve had mine in the dryer for over 5 years. They last forever. Sometimes they get a little worse for wear and you can certainly replace them but these are economical as well. A box of dryer sheets costs somewhere between 5 and 11 cents a load. When you switch to dryer balls you will have that money to spend on something else, fancy coffee? yarn? some kind of treat? And you have the knowledge that you are making the world a better place. That’s work it for sure.
Working on hats this month in preparation for Farmer’s Market at the beginning of April. I think I can get a few of these hand knit garments made. And if you’re wondering that’s a brioche cowl made with a semi solid Livily and a marled Synergy yarn.
I’ve had a couple of productive weeks lately. Oh maybe that’s because I broke my leg and so I have to sit more than I usually do. So I finished my Fibershed sweater. I finished fixing the cormo hat that was too short. And so yesterday I started this. It’s a mitten pattern. It is a kit that I bought from Riihivilla. The yarn is made from their finn sheep. And she uses natural dyes. What has fascinated me about her dyeing is that she uses lichens and mushrooms, things that are hard to find here in my area. I love reading her blog as well. She of course writes in Finnish but then has a really good English translation too.
I use Highlighter tape to keep my place in the pattern. The deal that I’ve made with myself it to leave the tape on the row I’ve just finished if it is time to quit for the day. So when I pick this up later today, I know I will change the tape to the next row. I have 4 more rows to go and then I will turn the hem up and knit the two rows together.
This is my Fibershed sweater. I’m working on the sleeves. And it’s almost done. I’m beyond the elbows. What’s taking so long you ask? Well I’m doing the sleeves two at a time. I’m doing a series of blips which is a 12 row repeat on one sleeve then switching to the other sleeve and repeating that and so forth. That way the gauge is even. And I pattern is even. And the decreases are in the same place without really having to count.
What have I learned? well I’ve learned a few things:
Your future self will thank you if you weave in your ends as you are knitting. Do not wait until the end of your project. This sweater has a lot of yarn changes and so lots of weaving in the ends. But I’m staying on top of it.
Knit some every day. Even if you can only manage a row or two. Soon your project will grow and you will be near the end.
Well the knitting is done. Now on to the blocking and then the steeking. I will block this afternoon and it will take some time to dry. It’s a pretty dense fabric. I got some grosgrain ribbon and you all voted on the leather buttons. Well not all of you…but the consensus was the leather buttons. I have 4 of them. I intend to just put them on the top half of the sweater. I’m leaning towards the brick red ribbon. I have 10 days until Saturday…. I think I can…I think I CAN!!
Okay people. I’m on the second cuff. I’ll be finished with that this afternoon, I think.
The next step will be to finish the bottom of the sweater. As a recap, I was worried about having enough yarn. So I put the sweater body on a cable and I decided to complete the sleeves. I knew I wanted a sweater and not a vest. And happily, yes, I have enough yarn… I may have enough for a hat too…
And now I’m thinking about buttons. I raided my button box…I have a good one. And here are my top choices.
I want you to help me, so reply to this blog and on my social media and pick your favorite!! I have 3 weeks to finish. I think I will. I’m pretty excited to be done with this handspun lamb’s fleece sweater from my own Gina.
I’ve finished the colorwork yoke. I’ve gotten to the sleeve/body split. Now it is just knitting, knitting, knitting!
I kinda wonder and worry if I have enough handspun. So I’m thinking about alternatives in that case. I know I want to have more colorwork at the hem and the cuffs. And so maybe that is where I add in other yarns.
Making progress on the yoke of this Iounne sweater. It’s a free pattern from Knitty. Is it simple? Oh so SIMPLE! But it is my first time knitting a steeked colorwork yoke sweater. So simple is OK. And this is all handspun yarn. The gold is from my own lamb fleeces and the color is hand dyed BFL roving that I dyed specifically for myself.
Where to find us
Open by Appointment! Email me for an appointment or FACETIME
We are located in Frederick MD. You can shop in person with a mask and lots of social distance! Or buy online and stop by to pick up…I’ll run your purchases out to you in your car.
Next Open Studio:
April 17 11-4pm
Maryland Sheep and Wool Virtual Festival
May 1st and 2nd We will be open from 11-2pm for your in person shopping pleasure…. Or you can participate virtually