FREE PATTERN (or instructions, anyway): Trash Wool Pet Toys

What do you do with all those bits of fleece, roving & yarn that end up scattered all over your house? You can vacuum them up, sure, but if you gather them all up, wad them into balls, and tie them off in a stocking or pantyhose leg, and toss them in the washing machine with a load of towels, you’ve got yourself some free and much-appreciated pet toys.

All the clean bits that I catch in time get tossed into a bag or bin for recarding, but I often lose track of the bits while they’re still salvagable. Once they’ve drifted into a cobwebby corner or gotten mushed into the carpet with cat hair or dragged around and shredded by the kitten, I’m not super keen on spinning them up. But all the dirty bits are prime for pet toys, since they’ll get a free scouring in the wash!

Step 1: Gather up your yarn and fiber bits. You can include the odd superwash or non-animal fiber scrap, as long as you’re working with about 70% feltable fiber. Curly locks look especially cool.

Step 2: Wad them into balls. Little balls for cats, big balls for doggies. Densely-felted balls have a lot of bounce, great for fetchers. You can make really big balls (or oblongs or snakes) simply by using more fiber. For the densest large balls, start small and build up with additional layers in additional wash loads..

Step 3: Stuff them into a stocking and tie off sections with cotton yarn. I’d advise against a fishnet like I used (the felt works its way into the holes & isn’t as tidy when you have to work them out afterwards–but it’s all I could find and I had ants in my pants). Use tights or pantyhose.

Step 4: Toss in with a load of laundry using a hot wash with a cold rinse (I like towels or rags). Both the hot and cold are important. The hot encourages felting and the cold shocks the wool & further felts it.

Step 5: Untie and peek inside. If necessary, run them through additional cycles. Toss in the dryer then unwrap, or unwrap and air dry. If you want to re-use the stocking, stretch out the length that’s tied off so it’s easy to snip the yarn without cutting the stocking.

Step 6: Playtime!

  • Carolyn says:

    The cat pictures are awesome! Did you get him to play in the photo light-box?

    Anyway, I have tons of little bits and pieces that I have been holding onto with a similar idea in mind. Thanks for the idea of what to do next with them.

  • Deb says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the idea– my furry guys will soon have felted toys!

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  • Samsara says:

    Fantastic idea! And your cat is very cute!

  • Dianne says:

    The larger balls also make good pin cushions. After they have been felted and before they dry hit them really hard on a flat surface to make a flat side so they don’t roll around.

  • cherie says:

    Too cool and so clever! My two monsters (Dippy and Zippy) are gonna love this…

  • Kath Cole says:

    What a great idea. Thank you. will try it out

  • Cat says:

    If your cats like bells you can put a little bell in the middle before you wash them! My cats love it!

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