Wool scraps can be used to make a couple handy household items!
We’re at a key moment in the changing of the seasons. An old Irish tradition signals the waning days of winter – already! It’s reason for celebration, at least for this Provo family.
Natalie Burton shares details on the Irish tradition of Imbolc, and a few wool crafts that can bring the Imbolc traditions into our own homes.
2 Projects to Use Up Your Wool Scraps
Imbolc is a cozy, nature-based holiday that marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. It’s a celebration of the early stirrings of spring underneath the layer of cold. Sheep and wool are a symbol of the holiday, and of the Imbolc people. It is known as a time to clear out winter and prepare for spring. In fact, this is the origin of spring cleaning! Celebratory traditions include lighting candles to celebrate longer days and planting seeds and new intentions that will grow in the coming season.
Upcycled Wool Dryer Balls
Dryer balls are a wonderful way to help your dryer work more efficiently to dry your clothes. These are made using old and worn wool sweaters that are not doing a decent job as sweaters anymore. Whether they have a few holes, or accidentally went through the dryer and are now four sizes too small, they make the perfect raw material for a quick upcycle.
- Cut the sweater apart by section. Remove the seams and any ribbing. Cut the ribbing into 1-1.5″ strips and set aside. From the large remaining panels (front, back, sleeves) cut out four panels for each dryer ball. The odd-shaped bits that are leftover (and too small for another panel will become the beginning of the dryer ball’s core.
- Bunch them together, then wrap them tightly using the offcut seams. When you get close to your desired size, switch to ribbing strips to help smooth it out and manipulate it into a perfect sphere.
- Then it is time to “make a sweater” for the tightly wrapped core. Embellish the panels if you would like, then sew them together two at a time. When combining the two halves, leave an opening to slip the core inside. Close the “sweater” over the core using a ladder stitch, then embellish further if you wish.
Upcycled Felted Soaps
Felted soap is usually made by wrapping wet felting wool around a bar of soap. The result is a soft encasement that is gently exfoliating and makes the soap last longer. It also makes the soap less slippery and easier to hold on to!
- Using the same larger sweater panels, cut out three matching shapes about half an inch larger than the outline of your soap.
- Trim the length of two of the pieces by about a third. Embellish the pieces as you so desire, and then sew them together, right sides facing each other. It should look like an envelope casing for the soap.
- Turn it right side out and insert the soap!
Natalie Erdmann Burton has been an outside-the-box sewist since the moment her mother taught her to use a sewing machine. She has been known to sew an article of clothing “real quick” rather than waiting for a laundry load to finish, and believes that nearly any musical can be costumed using primarily donated button-down shirts and a good selection of dyes. Her natural inclination to rescue all the things and a passion for keeping the fiber arts alive and accessible led to the creation of Making Space Thrift, a craft and fabric thrift store in Springville. Natalie and her husband Dave are raising their five children in Mapleton. Find more ideas from Natalie on Instagram, @makingspacethrift, or at www.makingspacethrift.com.