Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lovely Lint

I was in the laundry room doing my thing. Washing, folding, organizing the shelf above the washer and dryer, that sort of thing. Behind my dust covered iron I found a pretty glass jug brimming with dryer lint. And why, you may ask, are you allowing a container full of dryer lint take up space in your already crammed and tiny laundry room??

I don't really use my dryer that often. Weather permitting, the clothes are hung outside to dry. The dryer is used when it is hot, when I am sick, or when it is dark. I'm afraid of the dark you know. But every now and again, a load gets tossed in the dryer out of sheer laziness and the resulting lint is carefully scraped from the trap and deposited in the pretty glass jar I found at Goodwill for 50 cents. I started to collect lint at the request of my husband. An avid outdoorsman and survivalist, he learned that lint is highly flammable and thus, is an excellent fire starter. For each camping and survival pack, you will find an old prescription bottle, stuffed full of lint and matches. A mini fire starting kit if you will. There is lint in the pockets of every one of his jackets, in the cubby holes of his truck and believe it or not, he keeps a flattened chunk of it in his wallet. Wherever that man goes, he WILL be able to make fire.

But even after he stocked himself and his supplies with my laundry lint, I continued to collect it. Put the clothes in, clean the lint trap, deposit lint ball in glass jar. Like clockwork. And now, I have a big 'ol jar of lint that I don't know what to do with. I could just throw it away, but there's so much of it. Really. It's like, six months worth of dryer lint. And I'm green and frugal and trying to live sustainably. If I'm using the energy to run my dryer to produce the lint, the lint should be able to have an alternative purpose to counteract the energy use of the dryer. I'm crazy I know. But if lint could start a fire, what else could it do? I asked around. Here are some of my favorite answers.

Your dryer lint can...

  • Be spun like wool. That's right. Pull out your drop spindle and spin up a ball of lint yarn. How cool would it be to knit yourself a pair of socks out of your dryer's waste product? Stay away from the fire though. We don't want your toes to go up in flames.
  • Can keep you warm. Stuff an old sock with dryer lint and place in front of a door to keep out a draft.
  • Be made into art. I found recipes for lint clay and lint paper mache.
  • Help your plants grow. Lint acquired from natural fibers can be composted.
  • Keep fragile items from breaking during shipment. It would take a lot but dryer lint would make a cushiony packing material to keep your items safe during transit.
  • Spark your child's creativity. Use lint anywhere you might use cotton balls or pompoms when making art projects.
Though I would LOVE a pair of lint socks (and who wouldn't), I've never picked up spindle in my life, nor do I think I had enough lint to produce the yarn needed for such a project. Instead, we used my six month stash to make some super cute linty sheep. Behold!

To make your own linty sheep. you will need:

-an empty toilet paper roll
-white glue
-scotch tape
-tissue paper
-a marker or pen
-dryer lint

Tape four qtips to the toilet paper roll for legs. Stuff a wad of tissue in one end of the roll to serve as the sheep's head. Draw on features with a marker or pen. Dip bits of lint or cotton and stick it to the roll like wool. Cover the roll completely. Add paper ears and tail if you wish!

The frame of the sheep

Making him wooly

Working with lint and glue can get a little "wooly!" HA!

A lovely, linty lamb.