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Sunday, August 4, 2013

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls

So I have been telling you to SAVE ALL YOUR YOUR WOOL SCRAPS for a cool project.
Well, here is the cool project. 
Wool Dryer Balls
Have you ever used a dryer ball or even heard about wool dryer balls?

Last year I stopped into a cute, quaint little shop of handmade organic items, and they were selling sets of dryer balls.  I was intrigued for a few reasons.
  • First, they were made of 100% wool yarn (you know how I love wool stuff).
  • Second, because they had scented the balls with lavender oil (another one of my loves).
  • Third, I love the idea of saving time, money and avoiding chemicals whenever possible.
I bought a set of four very small balls, which cost me like $18.00.

I was excited to go home and do some laundry and give them a spin.  After doing a little research, I found out that the more balls you have, the faster and more effective they are.  I just had four small balls, which I could tell a big difference in drying time, but not much with the static thing. I noticed the more balls I had the better it did with static. I now use 6-10 balls.  Small loads do fine with just four.

I went out and bought a few scanes of 100% wool yarn and made a few more. I soon found out that it took a lot of expensive yarn to make these babies.  Now I know why they are not cheap to buy.  I got thinking and came up with this great solution, wool sweater scraps!  Using the scraps saves you a TON of yarn.  I was able to make double or even triple the amount of balls using the scraps as the center portion.

Before I go into how to make the dryer balls, I want to share the benefits and purpose of using them.
  • No chemicals, perfumes, unnatural additives that are in dryer sheets.( This is just one of the many articles found telling how dangerous these sheets really are).
  • They pull the moisture out of your clothes so you don’t have to run your dryer as long, saving you time and money!
  • They reduce static, not totally but do a pretty good job.
  • They soften your clothes by the gentle friction of the felted wool fibers against your clothing fibers.
  • I have heard they are FABULOUS for cloth diapers! They keep them soft and clean without the harmful chemicals in conventional dryer sheets.
  • Lower energy bills!

Here is the scoop on how to make these fuzzy little laundry buddies.   It is EASY PEASY!
All you need is:
  • skein of 100% wool yarn (NOT wool labeled “superwash” or “machine washable”)
  • pantyhose
  • blunt-tipped needle or crochet hook
  • scissors
  • string or cotton/acrylic yarn (to secure the wool ball in the pantyhose)
Use 100% wool yarn.  Do not buy yarn that says "machine washable" or "superwash" they will not felt. (shrink)

Gather up a hand full of 100% wool sweater scraps.

Scrunch them up into a little tight wad.  Take the yarn and start wrapping it tightly around the scraps.

Keep wrapping, moving the ball around to get an even wrap. 

Once the ball is to the size you would like,  (I like to make them the size of a tennis ball) cut the yarn.

Stick a crochet hook into the ball, attach the yarn and pull it through.  This will keep the ball from unraveling in the felting process.
After you have made a few balls, stick them into the toe of a nylon stocking.

Tye tightly in between each ball with string, or cotton/acrylic yarn. (Don’t use wool yarn or it will felt around the pantyhose.) Tie off the end.

Throw the yarn ball caterpillar into the wash with a load of towels.  Use the hottest setting possible in the washer and dryer.
Remove balls from pantyhose.  Some types of wool yarn will not felt well on the first try. You may need to repeat the washing and drying cycles up to 3 or 4 times. You’ll know felting has occurred when you can gently scrape your fingernail over the ball and strands do not separate.

I just keep my dryer balls in the dryer, or you can store them in a basket on top of your dryer. 
If you want to lightly scent your laundry and make your clothes smell yummy, you can add 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball before throwing in the dryer.  You will not have a problem with the oil staining your clothes if you are using a high quality essential oils.  I love doTerra oils.
They are available here.

*Just a tip:  You might find you are missing a few balls here and there. Check your fitted sheets or sometimes they fall out of the dryer when you are pulling the clothes out.  My dog loves standing by when I am unloading the laundry, he thinks it game time!

A set of these laundry balls, make a great gift!

 






2 comments:

  1. that is a GREAT idea! i cannot bear to part with felted/fulled sweater scraps, so this would be a good way to use them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen, I am the same way. These little scraps make great tags on sewing projects, and cut outs to embellish all kinds of projects. Have you seen the felt flower tutorial on my blog? Another fun thing to use up your tightly felted sweater pieces.
      Thanks for the comment, have a wonderful week.

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