Did you notice when I showed all my supplies in my last post that the doll's stuffing was missing? Well, that's because when I ordered all my other supplies from Weir Crafts, the stuffing was out of stock and I didn't want to wait for it to get back in stock. Traditional Waldorf Dolls are made with all natural materials, so I didn't want to go to JoAnn's and buy just any stuffing. I found the wool fleece that I ended up with on e-bay. It was a fraction of the cost of other fleece I had looked at. But, here's why: I would have to hand wash it upon delivery. Yep, it was freshly shaved off the sheep that wore this fuzzy coat of wool. The pic above is what it looked like when it arrived in the mail. There was also much nastiness in it and it smelled like a barn. Mostly just dirt matted into it and pieces of straw and random bits of leaves. Nevertheless, each of the 2 batches, took one wash and about 3 rinses before the water was clear. I'm sure many (most?) people would opt out of this and either wait for pre-washed fleece to get re-stocked, or head out to the store and make-do. My thinking is, where's the fun in that? I think the washing of the wool adds another step of love in the making of this doll. The scent also actually brought back childhood memories of my Dad's farm. I know, I'm kinda strange. ;)
Washing the wool was also a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon free of humidity thanks to a couple of days of welcomed rain. It was also a great opportunity to teach Taylor about where materials come from (even if she did think the wool smelled like "poop" ;) )
Prior to purchasing the wool, I did a quick Google search to see what I might be getting myself into and I found this simple tutorial on how to wash the wool. I followed the tutorial, but I also did a second "wash" with diluted vinegar and baking soda to help subdue the barnyard scent. That's Taylor joining in the fun.
After it was thoroughly washed and well rinsed, I let it bask in the sun to help it dry. After a few hours, I brought it in the house and finished drying it with a hairdryer on low heat. Putting it in the dryer would have just felted it. So, that wasn't an option.
Once it was dry, I pulled it apart (I'm sure there's a term for this step) and ended up with soft and fluffy fleece!
I still have half the batch to pull apart, this entire basket was used to create the (not very big) head of the doll. I'm trying to convince Taylor to help me because she's such a sensory seeking kid, I know she'd love the soft feel of it in her hands.
It was a very relaxing and therapeutic way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Even hubby was impressed at the end of it all, despite thinking I'd lost my mind when I started the whole process.
The scent lingered for a bit, but now it smells fresh and clean!