Saturday, July 9, 2011

wool dryer balls, a tutorial of sorts

ok, ok, most of you who know me know that I'm not exactly the tree hugger I'm kinda, sorta turning into.  I don't recycle (gasp!), i don't cloth diaper and i forget my reusable bags all the flippin time when grocery shopping!  On the flip side though, I am doing a little better for me and the environment with the cloth pad/diva cup thing.  So along with that I have noticed some of my more 'earth friendly' friends talking about these wool dryer balls.  Ok, if my friends are talking about it, maybe its something I should look into.  So I hop on ETSY because surely if it can be hand made it will be on there!  Boy was I in for some sticker shock - upwards of $40 for a set of 8 of them!  NO WAY was I willing to pay that.  I'm certain I have some talent in my left elbow that I can do this.  So, I SB Search (aka swagbuck search for points first) and found a couple and then I googled and found even more ways they can be made. 

First off, why use wool?

1. Shorten drying time

2. Reduce static
3. Soften and fluff your laundry gently
4. Use in place of dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener

Some of the tutorials used store bought materials (aka 100% wool sweaters on tag day from Goodwill), others use a fragrance in the center and others still used fleece as the middle.  One found most recently used tennis balls in the center and then a double felting process on the outside (saving on wool).

pre-felted dryer balls

Here are my materials:
4-6 skeins 100% wool yard
old nylon stockings
Small amount of cotton string/yarn/thread

1 needle
an old sock or pantyhose

Here's what I did: (so easy my kids were begging to join in the fun!)

I got my 100% wool (MUST BE 100% WOOL!!!) from both Meijer's and Michael's for $4.99 a skein.  As you can see I picked a variety of color but you can use all 1 color if you so choose. From there I just wound and wound (tightly) making a ball approximately as large as a baseball.  To finish, I cut the yard away from the skein and threaded a needle and inserted the loose end a few times so that it will not come unraveled.  That is where I stopped tonite mostly because I do not have any nylons laying around and my local Dollar Tree did not have any either. 

What I am doing tomorrow though will be the 2nd part of the process.  I will get nylons and put one of the balls in them and tying it off, then adding another and repeating the process until I have all 8 of them in nylons ties and ready to be felted.  You will then wash them in your hottest water in your washing machine, maybe adding in some towels along with the load.  And then also drying them on the hottest setting possible.  You will want to do this process 2-3 times before cutting away the pantyhose or sock.  When this is completed your balls will be smaller.  Some people then like to add another layer to their balls and make them as large as grapefruit (repeating the process of winding even more wool on top of the felted ball and then the wash/dry process yet again).  I am not exactly sure what I will do with mine yet.  I will want to felt first and feel them out.  They will last for months before you would need to add additional layers. 

This really is a family project.  My bigs (the oldest 2) wanted to help SO bad, but Mama had to do this first round.  I will let them definately help though in the future!

1 comment:

  1. Will see where I can find some cheap wool. Thanks for the info.