You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2009.

…keeping a magnifier on hand at work to read the dinky type in printed web pages. Those arrogant coders cannot imagine that freezing point size on print-outs, regardless of the magnification of the web page rendering, could possibly be a problem.

I hate them. I don’t hate much in this world (it takes too much energy) but I seriously think I do hate “them”.

*What Would (the) Balls Do?

I mean, they are a winter white wool, embellished with sun yellow wool and red wool roving. They finished felting and were used on a cotton and linens load to great results and happy softness.

But how would they be in a load of black clothing? Black corduroy, black knit yoga and sweat pants? Black stockings and black microfiber tops?

Would they be smeared with white lint? If so, would I ever be able to get the lint out? (Do they make a Visine product for that I wonder?)

As the balls bounced and bonged against the walls, I worried and wondered if maybe this whole felted wool dryer balls project wasn’t a really *really* bad idea. I leave early tomorrow morning for a long weekend visiting mother in Florida and the contents of the black laundry load were a significant portion of my planned weekend wardrobe.

So I waited up for the dryer to finish. At a quarter to 1 in the morning I was pulling out the dried black load… NO lint! Not on the corduroy pants or the micro fiber tops or nothing! Yeah!

But the balls themselves looked a bit the worse for wear. They had a slight bit of black lint on them! The DIY wool dryer ball articles said that they might need an occasional shave to remove pilling, particularly right after they are first made. So I shaved my balls, removing the early pilling AND the smidgen of black lint at the same time.

Go me!

This is basic physics, yes? Heat rises and cold sinks. Ceiling fans are designed to take advantage of this indoor weather, whether we are wintering or summering. The blades can push the warm air that rose up to the ceiling, down to where we can enjoy it. It can pull the cooler air from the floor (or basement) up during the warmer times.

If this is so bleepin’ basic, why do people buy more heating blankets (which lie on top of you) than heated mattress pads (that are below you)?

For mumble, mumble decades I was in the former group. I put blankets on top of the heating blankets to trap the heat closer to my body. My feet would never warm up, so I wore bed socks (how sexy is that?) to bed. I was tempted to wear mittens, sometimes. I had buns of ice! Mushy, fluffy ice, but ice, nevertheless.

I kept my heating blanket for decades (literally!). I would crank it up to the highest levels just to get any heat out of the aged wires. I thought that was all there was. When looking at the price of new heating blankets I blanched and scurried on. I could deal. If I took a hot bath before bed, the residual heat of the hot water helped set me up until I fell asleep and then didn’t notice the chill until I woke up, hopefully around the time I actually had to get up anyway!

Last spring the blankets at the family farm in Vermont were replaced with electric blankets. On the lower settings they got so warm I turned them off! Oh my! Hmm… maybe mine *were* in need of replacement!

Warmer weather came, and with it, the denial regarding purchasing electric heating elements for the boudoir.

The seasons do march on, don’t they?

The January White Sale at Kohl’s offered heated bedding below the stratosphere price-wise, so I perused the selection. There was still some sticker shock, but the best sale was on a heated mattress cover.


We both love it! The footsies and toesies are warm. My buns are not-so-much the ice blocks…actually, my tush is decadently comfy and warm, even!

If MacGyver were dead, (not technically having ever been alive, how could he be?) he would have been rolling in his grave at the thought of how long it took me to apply basic physics to my sleeping tush! Then again, if MacGyver was the one who taught my basic physics class, I might actually have learned something several decades earlier that I could have applied several decades earlier!

Mmmm! Warm good!

What I don’t seem to have at the moment, is a washing machine.

When we bought our front-loading washing machine, I did a lot of research to determine the best model with the best record and the best ‘street cred’ I could find. Of course I wanted the yellow one, but it turns out that color wasn’t an option. Then I wanted the red one but they were all out of that. Rats.

I got the white one (they all used to be white and now that there are colors I wanted one of THOSE)… the white Maytag Neptune series state-of-the-art (at the time) washing machine and dryer. How I LOVED that machine! (wait, it’s not dead, yet, so I probably should stop talking in past tense already)

So…about the balls I mentioned? Well, it was in the process of felting them in the washer that I realized the door lock light wasn’t going on (and the door wasn’t locking — not always a synonymous thing) and it wasn’t spinning. It would fill. It would drain. That was it.

I tried resetting and rerunning the load three times with the same result. You know what they say about those who try the same thing over and over again, expecting different results? (ahem) By that time it almost 3 in the morning of a work night… not my most brilliant brain time (surprise, surprise).

When I whined mentioned the problem to DH, he reminded me that it was ten years old and perhaps ‘due’ for issues. I mean, the warranty ran out five years ago, so by current standards, we were five years overdue.


Google to the rescue! (Yes, at 3 AM!) I have all the patience of a boiling teakettle and I wanted to get going on those balls!

Google kindly informed me that the well-researched and well-regarded model we had purchased was in fact, one that had horrible machine flaws that caused exactly the problem I had. They were not a case of this happening to a few machines here and there, but ALL the machines of this particular model would eventually have this problem.

Repair bill? Between $350 and $450. Unless…

Unless you have a DH with electrical engineering skills who can read (and understand, even!) the repair documents, order the correct parts, and complete the repairs for around $60. With overnight shipping, the repair items arrived Saturday morning. At that point, the washer looked like this:

guts of washer washer brains

The exposed washer front and the brains of the washer with a fried circuit.


While I was off running errands, DH repaired the washer. There were no left-over parts. (!) As proof of his labors, DH affixed the repair sticker on the top front of the washer.

fixed washer label

At that point we had to leave for grandparent babysitting duties (always fun!) so I wasn’t able to get back to my balls until today.

I could have sworn I took a ‘before’ picture of them at their first felting, when I was creating the core of the dryer balls, but I can’t find it. I *did* take a copy of them after their last felting in the fixed (hurray!) washer.

dryer balls

These were an experiment from the get-go..trying out designs from online instructions that didn’t cover the la-de-dah design issue I was trying to produce. Thanks to Donna who shared a snippet of her red roving fiber, I was able to get a neat effect that I hope stays. It didn’t bleed. None of them did. The green-gold-yellow striping one was actually the most difficult, keeping the stripes in the same sequence as I wound the yarn.

Using these in the dryer instead of fabric softener sheets is the latest organic craze. If you have non-synthetic clothes, they come out super-soft and fairly wrinkle-free. Synthetic fibers will come out more static-y with the wool dryer balls, so I’ll continue using the fragrance-free Bounce sheets for those loads.


As I huddled over my gas tank, whipped by numbing winds that made my winter scarf and gloves feel about as effective as lace-weight gossamer frills, I thought, “Damn! I wish I still lived in New Jersey!”

In New Jersey you are not allowed to pump your own gas. You must stay inside your vehicle (I just thought of motorcycles…they have to get off in order to fill their tank) and allow some other poor, frozen person to do battle with your shut-so-tight-it-seems-super-glued gas cap. In Jersey the gas is cheaper than here, even with the pumping service. While you can still find actual ‘full service’ stations here in Massachusetts, you will pay extra for the privilege of them pumping you up.

That which is made of snow will be covered by snow: buried snowcastle

Dixie's snowy faceDixie doesn’t mind in the least, but *I* do.

She and Duncan flounce and bounce like a pair of Tigger’s through the snow drifts and then come running back into the house (most times I think our doggy door is a great convenience, but not at times like these), covered in snow (including snowy butts when they have been attending to ‘biz ness’) so we can attempt to towel off the clumps…so they can run back out into the snow to play more. They plead with us to join them in frolicking, but I much prefer my frolicking to be in warmer climes… like INdoors in the winter!

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