Hooked on Needles

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Creating Atmosphere for a Cozy Knit or Crochet Day ~ Making Firestarters!

I know making firestarters has nothing at all to do with actually doing any type of needlework, so maybe this post is a stretch for Hooked On Needles. But honestly, who doesn't love a warm fire on a cold and rainy fall day? Better yet, a cozy day of crocheting or knitting by that warm fire? Throw in a cup of your favorite hot beverage and maybe a few children playing nicely on the floor and a fluffy kitty or dog curled up on the rug, and I'd say you've got the makings of a perfect day!

We've been planning this project for a very long time. By "we" I mean my son and I. I started saving dryer lint at the beginning of the summer, and we always save egg cartons and paper towel/toilet paper rolls anyway to use when starting fires in our fireplace. So this project was a natural extension of what we were already doing, plus a great opportunity for us to do a project together. So today was the day! Here's how it went...

First we googled how to make firestarters and found lots of information and tips, but this blog post with video was what we followed. The video claimed that their one ounce waterproof dryer lint fire starter actually burned for 15 minutes, but I was very skeptical. Still it looked like a good project to do, so we did it.

I forgot to take a picture of our egg cartons, rolls and bag of dryer lint, but you all know what those things look like anyway, right? So we packaged them up just like the instructions said for the egg cartons. We also stuffed some toilet paper rolls since we had so much lint to use up!

Then we melted the wax. I thought using the electric skillet with water in it would work well, but it was taking so long that I finally transfered the canning jar filled with wax to a small, tall pan, poured the boiling water around the jar and turned on the stove to finish melting the wax. It went pretty fast after that.

Then we dipped the little packages into the melted wax and laid them out on wax paper to dry. One pound of wax only yielded about two dozen firestarters, so we'll have to dip the rest another day.

Once they were dry, I just had to prove that guy on the video wrong by seeing just how long these would burn, so I opened the flu and Sean lit the corners and it starting burning right away. Sean was so excited that I let him light the fire! He's 10 and playing with fire is not exactly something we have encouraged, but he's plenty old enough to start learning how to play with fire responsibly.

I was somewhat disappointed (I hate to be wrong!), but quite thrilled at the same time, when our cute little homemade firestarter puffed out its last little flame exactly fifteen minutes after Sean lit it! Imagine that! So now we have a nice little collection of these wax covered packages just waiting for those cold, wet, cozy days that are surely on their way to New England.

I would like to think I will be spending many of those days sitting in front of the fire crocheting or knitting, but the truth is that they will most likely be spent studying right up until the week before Christmas! Now that I am working three days a week and going to school the other two, plus taking an online course as well, my free time has almost all but disappeared. I'm certainly not complaining though. I love what I'm doing and I think my husband and my kids are proud of my success so far. It's only through the grace of God, and my family's support, that I have been able to do as well as I have done and I am just so happy to have the opportunity to do it. Many people don't get the chance. So it's all good.

So if you have a wood burning fireplace in your house, or a fire pit out back, and you like to sit by a roaring fire, save up some dryer lint, a few egg cartons and get a pound of wax. These little things cost practically nothing to make, and should make the job of lighting those roaring fires just that much easier this fall and winter. I'm looking forward to it!

Happy Stitching!

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