Ovella Wool - Justen Murray

Midland, MI

Handcrafted in Midland Michigan from local sheep wool. Wool dryer balls decrease dry time, replace fabric softener, and are reusable for over a year!

Justen is the owner and creator of Ovella Wool. She started making wool dryer balls a couple years ago. She started with yarn, but upon realizing what a pain yarn is, She developed her own process for using wool batting. The results are Ovella Wool. Justen hand dyes all of the colors you see. Natural dyes are her speciality and her passion.

Justen’s story:

About three years ago my family made the switch to cloth diapers. If you aren't familiar with modern day cloth, I highly suggest you do some research. These are not your mother’s cloth diapers! When you use cloth diapers, you learn a lot about laundry, soaps, water, fabric softeners, build-up, and perfumes. The most notable change is that you have to ditch fabric softener. I am the type of person who likes to make things rather than purchase them.

So I taught myself how to make wool dryer balls, the alternative fabric softener. I made some for me and a friend. And when the yarn dryer balls fell apart, I learned how to make them with wool batting. I went to the local fabric shop and purchased some wool batting that is used in quilt making. I made my first set of batting dryer balls. And then I made some for a friend. I had fun doing this and encouraged people to learn how to make them and make the switch from fabric softener sheets.

It was one day in July of 2014 that changed the direction of my life. I had made some dryer balls for a friend that worked at our local wellness store. I had been trying to get her to do it for a while, but she had no interest. When I gave them to her a work, her boss happened to be in that day. Upon seeing them she told me she wanted to carry them in her store! And just like that I had my first customer before I even had a product to sell!

Ovella is the Galician meaning for sheep. I am a big Outlander fan and wanted to include some Gaelic in my business. My finger slipped when I was translating and Ovella came up. It was perfect. I love the name, and now name all my collections in Galician words that mean what the product line stands for.

Upon opening Ovella Wool, a lot of things have changed. I now purchase my wool from a local wool processor with whom I have created another partnership. The wool that goes into each and every 100% wool dryer ball comes from this family owned business. The colors are in fact my own. I love dyeing wool, something that I didn't think I would get into. My favorites are colors from The Terra Collection, which features natural dye. Working with nature, sometimes you don't know what you are going to get, and I love being able to make four or five colors from one berry or twig.

Experimenting in a lot of different crafts and activities, I have learned over the years what I like to do, what I can do, what I will do, and what I love to do. Creating designs with colors and shapes on wool is something that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. The whole entire process is one that I not only enjoy to do, but love to tell people about. Wool is such a great material, from being non-combustible to mildew resistant to completely reusable and renewable, it has so many functions that we can use it for. Wool dryer balls are just one of those.

Serendipity Road