Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wool Dryer Balls

When I found out about wool dryer balls, I thought they were a fabulous idea! You use them instead of dryer sheets or fabric softener, which can leech chemicals. I was excited to buy some to save money and be more green! Then I thought to myself, "I bet I can make these, and it would save even more money!" So I googled. =] I found a tutorial that seemed super easy and set to work.

First I had to find some scraps of wool in my yarn stash. I didn't have much trouble in that department! =] The picture below are the cores. They are about 6 inches in circumference.

Next I put the cores into a dress sock, with acrylic yarn tied between each core. (You don't want to use wool to tie, because it will felt, then you'll have trouble getting your cores out of the sock!) Once you have them all tied in, just throw them in with a load of laundry. I put mine in with my towels, because they are the only laundry I wash on hot, and that will help the felting process. I learned that you need to tie the yarn in a couple knots or it will come off. I had some twist ties in my laundry room so I replaced the yarn that came untied with those and then threw my core-filled sock into the dryer with my towels.

Here they are after felting. I feel like they could use a bit more felting, because they really didn't shrink up much, but the next felting should help to firm them up. The turtorial says you can skip the first felting if you want, but recommends that you don't if you want a firmer dryer ball. Otherwise the core would still be kind of squishy.

After this I wrapped them with more wool yarn and they're ready for their second felting. As the turtorial states, commercial dryer balls are about 9 inches in circumference, so to account for felting, you probabaly want to wrap them until they are about 10-10.5 inches. I only had enough yarn (I snagged some scraps from my sister too!) to wrap them until they were about 7.5, so they'll be a bit smaller. But that's okay, because you can really make them any size you want!

Here they are after the second wrapping... (The purple one looks alot bigger than the pink/yellow one in this picture, but it was just closer to the camera.)

And then back into the sock they went, and in with another load of towels! Here they are after the second felting! They shrunk down to about 7 inches in circumference, but I think it's a nice size. =]

I just love this kind of stuff so much!! I feel so accomplished when I can make something at home to save us money and help the planet! Now I'll just have to report back on how they're doing in the dryer!!


Anonymous said...

Hey, Great post! I too went and made my own wool dryer balls this way and before that I used tin foil- These work awesome but did unravel after 3 months use. ( caught on zippers/buttons I guess). I then went and bought a pack from back in January and they are still going strong and will probably last for years. They are made differently and will not unravel.

BrendaR said...

Let me know how they work! I wonder if they cut down on static cling, also???

You are so crafty!!