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A Use for Dirty Wool

It happened again the other day. The fiber was sorted, picked, washed, rinsed, and some of it was even dyed. Then, as it was on the drying rack in the yard, basking in the sunshine I might add, the wind came along and blew it to the ground. Most days, this would not be the end of the world, but I had just mowed the grass. So, there it was all of my hard work strewn through the yard, covered in grass clippings. I couldn’t bear to let it go to waste, not when the little voice in my head is always saying: “waste-not want-not”.

After a bit of consideration, and what I thought was an unrelated trip to the garden center to replace the linings for my hanging baskets, I finally found a use for my ruined fiber. It turns out that the coco husk liners cost more than the hanging baskets! So, why not replace them with the fiber? It would be at least as eco-friendly, and a whole lot less expensive.

I tried two different ways to make the linings from the fiber. The first one was to wet the locks and form them to the inside of the wire frame, leaving some of the ends to stick out at odd angles and give a more organic look. This way is more visually appealing, but I have noticed that the birds have found it to be a very useful nesting ball. They pluck the locks from the basket and carry them off for their own use, so be sure to use an ample amount, or you could find your potting soil exposed.

The other method, which was less appealing to our feathered friends, was to felt the locks into a sheet and form it to the basket. This looks far more tailored than the loose locks. It also seems to hold the water a bit better.

A few other fiber things that would make good replacement liners would be the pieces left over from repurposing sweaters and other wool items, rovings that just weren’t as spin-able as you thought they would be, and any wool garment that has been shrunk in the wash. This could also be a place to put the UFOs that you never intend to finish!

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