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.
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 been thinking about getting an e-spinner for several years now. I couldn’t really rationalize the high price of the most popular model. Last year at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, I saw a woman spinning on an eel nano. It seemed so small and delicate. I looked at reviews, I looked at other espinners. And I found the one for me.
I bought a Heavenly Handspinning Vespera, Gen 2. I had it unpacked and put together in under 30 minutes.
And I was spinning very shortly afterward. HH has nice YouTube videos to help you set up the machine and to get started spinning. And I did use them to make sure that I had all the cords connected in the correct way.
I’ve been thinking a lot about farm yarn. One of my big 4 goals this year was to widen out my line of FGF yarns. I want to have an offering at every standard weight of yarn. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Watch this video that I recorded this week for my #farmchickslive #ThursdayThreads.
Here are some of the farm yarns that are already in our line.
This year one business goal was to widen out my farm yarn line. I have lots of choices in the Worsted weight yarn. I have Synergy: the marled yarn that looks hand spun. I have LiViLy that is from my fine wool Cormo Sheep. I have Trasna made from the long lustrous fleeces of my BFL Cormo Hybrid sheep. I have Fingals which is from my pure bred BFL sheep. That’s a lot of yarn in one single weight.
So this year, I wanted to add a fingering and a sport weight to my wool yarns. I also wanted to replenish my yearling mohair that is a fingering weight yarn. And I have a LOT of PolyPay wool that I bought from a shepherd in Virginia. I really want it to be a bulky yarn.
So yesterday I unboxed my yarn shipment from the mill. And I was sooooo happy.
I have a beautiful fingering weight wool from the hybrids. there are over 400 yards in a 4 oz skein.
I have a lovely sport weight yarn with the cormo wool that has over 300 yards in a skein.
The yearling mohair came back perfectly matching the previous run.
The polypay did not come back as bulky. It came back as worsted. But it is lovely. The wool “tells” us how it wants to be spun. And it really didn’t want to be bulky.
Time to get to the dye pots and see how these babies do. I usually don’t list my farm yarns in it’s natural form. But if you see something you really need, just shoot me an email.
Well, I think we all have a lot of time to knit. Even if you are working from home, you can now knit through those meetings because they are conference calls and no one can see you. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been changing from night pajamas to day pajamas. It’s hard to actually put on real go out in public clothes, right?
So my WIP today is a new shawl that I’m working on. I’m using my Chinook yarn which is a blend of Superwash merino , cashmere and nylon. It is soft and has a great drape to it.
A while back, I asked my Instagram followers to pick the set of skeins for this shawl. These grey, green and purples edged out the blues and the pinks.
When I design a shawl, I have to make it something that I can knit. And I’m not the most skilled knitter. So this shawl is great TV knitting so far. It is mostly garter stitch with some eyelets thrown in for some spice. I do plan on adding some lace bits, but they will also be something that I can handle. And not too difficult for people. Because the yarn is so pretty, I want it to do the work.
What are you working on? Add a comment to let me know.
Puck’s Choice yarn is a farm yarn made from the fleeces of our beloved Puck, our first sheep. She was a BFL cross, a typical lustrous longwool sheep. I took her fleeces and blended them with charcoal mohair from Twilight and her babies as well as a black alpaca fleece that I purchased from an alpaca farm in Virginia. The blend is equal parts of these 3 yarns. The result is a wonderful dark charcoal yarn that has varying saturations of color.
This yarn is a 2 ply that is a DK weight yarn. It is soft and durable. Is it next to the skin soft? No it isn’t. But it will make a great sweater. I imagine an Icelandic inspired yoke sweater that is all the rage. You can add beautiful color for the colorwork and have Puck as the body of the sweater. It will make great hats, showing off cables or even lace. And it will make good socks and slippers. It is really versatile.
If you are local, in Maryland, you could use this yarn for the garment competition at MD Sheep and Wool Festival. There is a special award for those using a Maryland yarn. If you are within our fibershed, you can call this local to you and make a garment for your #oneoutfit100days. You can be sure that these animals were treated well and even spoiled. The yarn was made from animals with names. You can get the yarn by clicking here.
Yep! I keep getting more and more ideas for colorways on this wonderful, luxurious yarn. It’s a blend of superwash merino, nylon and cashmere. You can make the softest sock which still have the strength of nylon and the bounciness of wool. OR you can make a wonderful shawl or scarf that you can wear to keep warm that is next to the skin soft!!