Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include correct spelling of Terry Keller and Jed Tucker.
GREEN RIDGE — Creating handcrafted goods straight from the farm is what Tegan Tucker is all about. While Tucker’s mother, Terry Keller, creates wool items from her sheep in Cabool, Tucker makes homemade soaps, body butters, lip balms and burlap wreaths.
Although the women call their artful business Wasted Wool, nothing is wasted.
Tucker sells her handmade goods on Fridays at the Sedalia Area Farmers’ Market, which will open for the season May 6. Tucker and her husband, Jed, also have an 80-acre farm and own Tucker Seed and Supply near Green Ridge.
Kelly has 25 head of sheep on her property in Cabool. Tucker said her mother processes the sheep fleeces into different items and does all the dyeing herself. Once a sheep is sheared, the wool is washed and combed and made into roving.
“Once you get the roving, you can spin and you get yarn,” Tucker said.
Roving can be used for many things including felting.
“One of the things we do with roving is make our dryer balls,” Tucker said. “You use them in place of dryer sheets.”
The felt is made into a baseball-sized orb that can either be used with scent or without.
“They are 100 percent wool and they’re hard,” Tucker said. “You can toss two or three in your dryer … they will soften your clothes, they’ll take out the static and they will actually shorten your drying time.”
Tucker’s true love is the art of soap-making and creating burlap wreaths. She teaches a wreath-making class at Happy Trails Antiques and Collectibles in Cole Camp.
“We started doing those last fall,” she said. “Over there, we can have 15 or 16 people at a time. The class has gone over great.”
Tucker’s soaps are all natural, often created with ingredients such as carrot juice, activated charcoal powder, mint, eucalyptus and pink Himalayan salt.
“We don’t use any artificial colors or fragrances,” Tucker noted. “A lot of the homemade soaps that you find, they use chemical coloring. We don’t do any of that, we only use natural coloring.”
Tucker said the activated charcoal powder not only creates a nice color to the soap, but also has a cosmetic benefit.
“Charcoal will get into your pores, and it will draw out all the gunk,” she added. “This one I use for face soap, it works really well for acne or oily skin, because the charcoal draws all that out of your pores.
“I research everything that I use,” she said. “Like I said, we try to use only natural things. If it’s not something you can find in nature, it’s probably not something you will get through my soap.”
Some of Tucker’s soaps have medicinal purposes, such as her honey oatmeal.
“This is our best-selling soap by far,” she said. “This is one of the old staples that my mom taught me how to make. Mom has always made soap. The oatmeal is good for eczema and psoriasis … and there’s honey in it.”
Tucker uses local honey from beekeeper Bruce Bird, who is also a member of the SAFM.
“It’s super exciting, that’s why I’m in major production mode,” she said of the market. “They have been great, this will be my fourth year.”
To make a batch of soap Tucker uses a cold process with two 16-pound wooden mold boxes. Lye and water are heated to a high temperature to create a chemical reaction. This has to cool down to 100 degrees, and the oils or fats are heated up to 100 degrees.
“They both have to be 100 degrees at the same time, and you then mix them or it won’t work,” Tucker said.
The soap must set in the mold for 24 hours before being taken out, and cut into bricks, and then bars. Tucker can usually get 50 bars from one 16-pound mold.
Tucker also makes wool-felted soap that acts as an automatic natural washcloth. Scraps of leftover felt are wrapped around the bar of soap, dressing it up.
“It’s like a washcloth and soap all-in-one,” Tucker said. “It helps it lather, it helps it last longer — it’s great for kids.”
Besides soaps, Tucker makes all-natural scented and whipped body butters created with shea butter, coconut oil and lanolin from sheep wool.
“I try to incorporate lanolin in a lot of the things I make, because of the sheep,” she said. “It’s very similar to bee’s wax but it’s not as hard. It works to seal in moisture. The body butters and the lip balms both have lanolin in them.”
She added that lanolin is naturally produced in fiber of the sheep’s wool.
Tucker also makes a natural laundry soap and bath salts. She hopes to soon build a 30-by-30-foot building on her property so she can teach spinning classes and wreath-making classes.
“It’s really taken off, and it’s been nice,” she said of Wasted Wool. “I hope it continues to grow.”
For more information on Wasted Wool items, email Tucker at [email protected] or visit her Facebook page or www.wastedwool.com.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss; photos by Faith Bemiss | Democrat.