Eco-Craft update, dryer balls

Homemade Dryer Ball Update

I originally posted about my homemade dryer balls in March and I’ve been using them ever since.  At first I wasn’t sure if they worked but now I am sold on them.  Almost always my items are dry when the dryer beeps.  I rarely need to add time and run a standard load in the dryer longer.  This wasn’t the case before I started using them.  I’ve also used less dryer sheets.  I still use them, but I’m definitely using less.  Static is not bad either but that is hard to gauge because I’ve been using them during the warmer months where the heat hasn’t been on much.  The true static test will be in December and January.  But, less time in the dryer results in less static so I’m anticipating less static this winter.

A couple months ago I made two more dryer balls out of t-shirt scraps wrapped in wool.  And I lost one of the original balls somewhere in the house.  I’m sure it will turn up eventually.

Because we do a ton of laundry, my dryer balls have taken a beating.  One in particular unraveled a good bit today so it is time to fix them.  As you can see, they have been well used.dryer balls

Four of the six balls needed fixing.  I wrapped the unraveling one up with some wool scraps and finished it and the others with 100% wool yarn wrapped really tight.  I tried to work the ends in a little better as a few came loose with the initial batch.  Then I washed them with a couple of loads of towels set to hot.  This time I did not place them in a lingerie bag.  They seemed to felt better and we are ready to do some more laundry!

homemade dryer balls with wool and yarn scraps

 

Hello-Fall-crochet-by-Darleen-Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! Zinnia Votive

Now Available, Zinnia Votive.  A lace sleeve for a standard canning jar.

Zinnia-Votive-in-Knit-Picks-Luminance-crochet-pattern-#CbyDH

Dress up a standard canning jar and turn it into a beautiful gift.  The Zinnia Votive is a pattern for a standard canning jar sleeve. Place a tea light inside the jar and see the beauty of crochet lace like never before. A gorgeous way to light up your late summer nights. The pattern includes fully written instructions as well as an illustrative chart.

The pattern is written to fit a standard, round 8 oz Ball canning jar. However, it is easily adaptable to fit many different jar sizes.  Upcycle your glass jars into illuminated lace.

Pattern information can be found here: Zinnia Votive

So many uses!

Gifts for all occasions including, teacher gifts, get well and thinking of you gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, and housewarming gifts.

Use as wedding favors.  Crochet in the colors of your wedding and place one at each table. Use battery powered tea lights (get long lasting ones!) for breathtaking lighting on your special day.

Slip one on each jar of jam you give as a gift.  Include a votive with how-to instructions so the recipient may enjoy your gift long after the sweet treat is enjoyed.

Gift with fresh cut flowers inside.  Include a votive with how-to instructions so the recipient may enjoy your gift long after the flowers have faded.

Make a variety of them in different sizes (the pattern is easily adaptable!). Arrange on a picnic table and enjoy a romantic dinner for two.

The sleeves work up quick and use very little yarn/thread. They make great craft fair and fundraiser projects.  A thrifty and eco-friendly craft.

Spiffy

Eco-Craft, Yarn Balls aka. Dryer Balls

How to make dryer balls for zero dollars!

I’ve been intrigued by dryer balls for awhile now.  Every once in awhile I’ll see a post about them and think to myself-I wonder if they work? I have no interest in purchasing plastic or rubber ones or using tennis balls in my dryer.  I can’t help but wonder if those types of dryer balls release toxins of some sort when exposed to heat.  My interest is to improve my laundry, naturally.  I would like to use less dryer sheets, not replace sheets with potentially more or different chemicals.  So I finally decided to give dryer balls a try when I came across some wool yarn and felted wool scraps in my stash.  I’m on a quest to reduce my stash. I thought this would be a good way to use up some of it and finally find out if 100% wool dryer balls actually work.  The yarn and felted sweater scraps are leftover from previous projects.  Therefore, my cost is $0.

Step 1: Gather up 100% wool scraps and 100% wool yarn.

yarnballs1

Felted wool scraps from various projects, felted wool “yarn” cut from a damaged wool sweater, and some random 100% yarn wool.

Step 2: Smush the scraps into a ball and then wrap with yarn.  Add more scraps and wrap with more yarn.  Repeat until the ball is the size you want.

yarnballs2

Step 3: Secure yarn.

yarnballs3

Step 4: Repeat until you have as many as you want or you run out of scraps.  I didn’t time myself but I think it took me about an hour to make all of these.

yarnballs4

Step 5: Felt them.  I placed them in a lingerie bag and washed them with my regular laundry for a couple of  loads.  Once they were felted enough where I didn’t think they would unravel, I took them out of the lingerie bag and washed them with the regular laundry for a couple more loads.  Last, I trimmed the few ends that came undone.

So DO THEY WORK?

I’ve heard claims that they save energy, reduce static, reduce dryer time, reduce wrinkles and make clothes softer.   If they did all of these, I would be ecstatic.  If they did one or two, I’d be happy.  I’ve been using them for over a month now and I’m pretty happy.  My clothes seem to be dry when the cycle is complete.  Before dryer balls, I often had to add time to the dryer because the clothes were still damp.  More time in the dryer will result in more static.  And, while I still have to use dryer sheets, I’m using one per load rather than two.  Yup, I’ve had to use two for awhile now.  My boys wear a lot of athletic, moisture wicking type clothing made out of synthetic materials.  These items tend to pick up static when in the dryer.  However, less time in the dryer = less static.  So, overall, I’m happy with the results.

I have a few more scraps so I may make one or two more.   If you have the materials, give it a try and let me know what you think.

PatchworkKitty-001

 

Eco-Craft, an up-cycled tea cozy.

I love herbal teas and I love to drink tea while at work.  It helps to keep me warm as my office building is really cold.  Add to that I’m usually cold when others are not and that my job is sedentary and you get a very cold me.  I have a space heater, an extra sweater and a throw blanket in my office.   I just recently purchased an electric tea kettle and I love it.   However, I found that I had to keep reheating the water for my second and third cups of tea.  So the crafty in me kicked in and I decided it was time to make a tea cozy.

I got up early Saturday morning and while having a cup of coffee with my husband, we heard a bang and the power went out.  Great.  No power = no water = no shower. Thankfully he was already ready for work so he left.  Without power I had nothing to do.  There was enough daylight coming in so I decided I’d start working on the tea cozy. Rummaging through a box of pre-felted wool sweaters saved for a throw rug I hope to eventually make, I found this really cute striped sweater.  cozy-sweater-1

I pinned the sweater together and cut around the arms and neck.  I forgot to take a photo of this step so I drew on the cut lines, below.   If you are making one, you would want to make sure you have everything pinned together first and make sure your cuts are as even as possible.

cozy-sweater-3.jpg

The cozy was looking like it was going to be too tall so I trimmed off the bottom ribbing.  The sweater was originally a cardigan so I opened it and traced the shape onto eco-fi felt to use as a liner.  This felt is very cool as it is made out of 100% recycled bottles!cozy-sweater-2

At this point the electric company showed up and determined the cause of our problem was a poor squirrel.  The little guy got on the transformer thingy and was electrocuted.  😦 They trimmed back the tree limbs that were too close to the pole and replaced the damaged part and our electric was back on in a jiffy.  Thanks guys!!!  FYI-save the squirrels and keep your tree limbs well trimmed near power poles.  I know I will from now on.

With the power back I was able to steam the sweater and the felt so they were nice and smooth.  I trimmed the edges of the both the sweater and the eco-fi felt so they were even then trimmed the liner so it was just a little bit smaller than the sweater.  The next step was to sew the two end pieces together and across the top.

Next I turned the sweater inside out and sewed the opening closed and across the top.  Then turned it right side out.  This step probably would have been a lot quicker if I used a sewing machine.  My sewing machine and I don’t always get along so I decided to hand sew it.

cozy-sweater-4Next, the liner was inserted into the sweater and sewn together along the bottom seam.  I decided to sew the ribbing over bottom edge of the cozy to add some stability.  Last, some random buttons where sewn where the cardigan button holes were and a little tab was added to the top.  Success! An adorable tea cozy made of recycled and re-purposed materials!  If I had thought ahead, I would have added the trim, tab and buttons before sewing together and before adding the liner.  This may have saved some time.  But I was making it up as I went along and it worked out fine.  The end result would have been the same.  It was a fun project for a lazy Saturday.  I tested it out with my stove top kettle and it works great! I can’t wait to use it at work.

cozy-sweater-5Happy crafting!!

#familyfun tic-tac-toe game board crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Repurposed Crib for Yarn Storage

Re-purposed Crib Yarn Storage

yarn storage out of repurposed crib #CbyDH

Crib re-purposed into beautiful yarn storage.

About a year ago, I picked up a used crib.  I had asked the manager at a local thrift store to please let me know if she received a crib that she couldn’t resell as I was looking for one to use as a photo prop.  She called me a few weeks later letting me know she had a crib and a changing table.  She couldn’t sell them because they were recalled.  Since I didn’t plan to use them for a baby she said if I was interested she would let me have them for $10.  SOLD!

 

Shells of Love crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Changing table saved from the trash.

I was super excited.  Right away I painted the changing table white and used it for photos and for storage when I wasn’t using it as a prop. Because the changing table worked so well both as a prop and for storage, I decided I didn’t need the crib after all.  It spent some time on my covered porch while I tried to determine if I could/would ever use it.  When I finally decided I did not need it I recycled the metal springs and posted the wood pieces for re-purposing.  I couldn’t bring myself to toss them in the trash as they were in good shape.  When nobody responded, I put them under the porch and thought I’d try again in a few weeks.  Then this morning, while taking a shower, I had a EUREKA moment; use the crib slats as yarn storage.  It was so simple and so awesome!  Originally I wanted to hang the slats.  I also thought I needed spacers between it and the wall.  But when I started filling the slats up with yarn to see if it would really work I realized I didn’t need any of that.  Propping it up against the wall is perfect!  Easy-Peasy.  The room has carpeting in it so it shouldn’t slide at all.  AND the crib has another piece just like this!!  I plan to pull out the other one, clean it up and fill it up with more of my yarn stash!  I know I have enough.  One day I will work through all this stash…one day.

 

 

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Crocheted shorts pattern – OMG I found one!

A while back I posted about men in crocheted pants.  That post has become quite a hit-obviously, who wouldn’t want to see men in crocheted pants!  I get a lot of emails asking where to get the patterns.  And I have always had to respond “Sorry, I don’t know.”  Until now.

crocheted shorts by eco-create

Pattern and photo by Kirstie Adamson with EcoCreate. Photo used with permission.

These amazing crocheted shorts can now be made with the awesome pattern by Kirstie Adamson.   I haven’t tried the pattern…yet.  I’m envisioning a pair of capris in blues and greens.  I have the perfect yarn.  I just need to find the time, and the guts, to go for it.   If you decide to make a pair of these shorts, please let me know.  I’d love to see them!!!  The link for the pattern is here: Crochet Shorts Pattern by Kirstie Adamson.  While you are there, check out the website and blog for some great upcycling ideas and tips.

crochet patterns for men