Just about anything wooly is great, be it a bully or a felted ball. I'm right now watching "Spies Like Us" with the hubby and am loving their wooly outfits. They're wooly gweat! <insert gratuitious chuckles here>
But I do have a point to make after this very long introduction: felted wool balls.
We finally used up our 7th Generation dryer sheets and I wanted to start utilizing something less expensive and re-usable. I find myself this year questioning the necessity of shelling out so much money in disposable goods for household maintenance. While researching alternative, you might say traditional or heritage, techniques, I've discovered a new hobby. I love digging up the answers to the question of "How would our grandmothers or great-grandmothers have done this?" Although I'm not sure our maternal forebearers would have agreed on the fun-ness factor.
They also obviously did not have washers and dryers and so never had to make dryer sheets. There was no beyond-the-grave wisdom on this one. But luckily, some other smart person had the brilliant idea of using felted wool balls to separate drying clothes, decreasing drying time and increasing fluffiness (scientific term), while eliminating static cling. What?!
Oh, wool, you. What can't you do? (By the way, my scientific research concludes that those claims are, in order, true, sort of true, definitely true, and mostly true. I love all the new fluffy fluffiness of my fluffy clothes! Static cling is impressively minimal, although I do live in Portland where it's almost unheard of, and the drying time is noticeably, but just barely, shorter.)
Coming back to felting wool. So, it is an artisan technique and felted goods can be quite pricey! This beautiful felted bear brooch on etsy is $30 (although worth every cent, in my humble opinion).
Aren't they darling?! Etsy is full of needle felted wool animals for anyone who has just discovered a new obsession. But the good news is that those adorable felted wool balls in the photo are much easier to make. So easy that children can do it with a little parental guidance.
The materials needed are hot water, liquid dish soap, wool roving, two hands, and 10 minutes.
It was actually a fun activity for the children and our 3 generations of women (my mother, my daughter, and me) huddled around a bowl of hot water together to make our 8 wool balls. Initially it seemed like it was all a cruel lie and the wool roving would never come together to form a cohesive ball but we gradually got the knack of it and the miracle happened. After drying them in the dryer, they looked adorable.
Click on the link to learn how to make them.
You'll need 4-6 balls for your laundry so my mom took four and I kept the remaining.
It was so fun, they turned out soo cute, and I love them sooo much that I already want to make more. (It's a warm, cuddly, wool-loving joy fest here!) This time I'd like to decorate them with colored wool roving so they look adorable like these Martha Stewart craft ones.
Felted wool balls are bouncy! They're fun to play with, not just useful. And they would make fabulous beads for a child-friendly or infant-chewable necklace. If I were to run for a political office, my platform would be bringing back wool felting. It's just too bad for the world, and for wool, that I have no political aspirations. Yet.
So check it out. Click on the link to learn how to make felted wool balls.