Thursday, February 9, 2012


For the record, Ashley, did it first.  :)  I saw her tutorial for wool dryer balls several several months back.  I had all of the materials, but apparently none of the motivation or drive to make them. 

When we bought our condo two years ago, Hubs insisted on buying me the Mercedes of HE washers and an eco friendly (as friendly as dryers can be) dryer.  I made the switch to HE detergent, Method Free and Clear, but never got away from the dryer sheets.  My skin is incredibly sensitive, so most of the time when I used the dryer sheets, I wanted to tear my skin off with a cheese grater every time I put clothes on.  I stopped using the dryer sheets completely and our clothes are static-y and cat hair magnets like crazy.  Since we have three cats, that tends to be a problem. 

I did some research into it and decided that while they were highly recommended by Sopie Uliano of Gorgeously Green, the plastic dryer balls are not for us.  Mainly because of the plastic, which can leach chemicals no matter what, and because of the cost.  Why buy what I can make?

I used a wool belt from my new winter coat as the core for my dryer balls.  I love the coat, hated the belt and never used it anyway, so I removed it and cut the belt into three inch chunks.  The yarn is Patons Classic Wool yarn that I found on clearance at Michaels about 8 months ago....they were clearing out these two colors so I got it for $1.99 / skein.  It's just been sitting in a bag on the craft room floor ever since!

Ashley's tutorial is awesome...follow it and your dryer balls will come out perfect.  Here are a couple of pictures of mine, for posterity.  

This is just after a few wraps with some of the red wool yarn.  I tried to keep the wrapping pretty tight and even, which wasn't to difficult with the thick wool core.  I wrapped until the ball was about the size of a tennis ball, maybe a smidge bigger, then stopped and tucked the ends in and wound it up really well.  I was able to get 4 out of the skein of yarn.

Like the tutorial says,  once the balls are wrapped, put them into the leg of an old pair of pantyhose and tie knots between each one.  Ash used baby shampoo on each of hers before she put them in the washer, but I didn't have any of that so I just used a drop (it only takes one) of Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap on each ball.

They felt down pretty well, and I think that mine ended up being about the size of raquetballs once the felting process was completed. I washed them on the sanitary cycle, which does three really super hot douses and rolls them around in the washer for about an hour in the hot water and soap. 

I threw them in the dryer also, and my dryer only ran for about a half hour before it decided that they were dry enough, and shut off.  That was fine with me, and I just let them air dry the rest of the way. 

The only problem that I ran into was that some of the wool found its way through the pantyhose and felted the nylons to the wool!  It came off pretty easily though, so no big deal.  The second set is in the washer right now, waiting to finish so I can take them and share with my best friend tomorrow!

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