Maine balsam draft stopper

I was going to make the standard fabric cover for this draft stopper. Then I thought, “Hey. I’ve got a lot of hand spun yarn!” I do not believe I’ve ever seen a knitted draft stopper. Al asked me, “Isn’t the balsam going to fall out?” Well, not if one knits it tight enough!

Click on “more to find out what I did:

I used 80 yards of super bulky single ply hand spun yarn. Malabrigo Rasta could substitute, but it will be more uniform than this. Two strands of a yarn like Manos de Uruguay thick and thin yarn would work well, too, and it’s more fuzzy than Rasta. Obviously, this is a funky looking finished object; you could any number of yarns. How about scraps of Noro? Almost any of their yarns would work well (well, not the laceweight. . .) Or, you can buy a skein of my handspun, of course. . .anyhoo. . .

Cast on 12 stitches to three double pointed size 10 1/2 needles. Your knitting should be super tight. Knit in the round until your tube is long enough to go across the bottom of your door. I’m not giving you an exact width because doors vary. I could have made this wider around, too, but I had less than 100 yards of this color yarn.

Do a tight two needle bind off to close the tube. I knit the tube, then turned it inside out. If you prefer to purl, you could purl the entire thing.

You’ll need about  a half pound of balsam, and a couple of small stones (for weight). Put the stones into the tube first. Getting the balsam into the tube is a bit tricky. Using a real funnel makes it easier, but one made out of rolled up paper will do. The balsam will stick to the inside of the knitted tube. You need to kind of “squeeze and milk” the balsam and tube to get the stuff to fall to the bottom. I let it get thicker in some places. I also found that pushing it down with a wooden spoon was helpful. When it’s filled up to your liking, sew together one end.

Enjoy! This makes a nice gift for those who live in drafty houses. It took me not even an entire afternoon to make one, so it’s a good last minute gift.

I wanted to give you a link to a Maine company that sells balsam by the pound, but am having trouble finding one! I bought my balsam at the Belfast Co-op. It’s local. That got me to thinking you can buy local where you are, too.


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