Saturday, January 25, 2014

Wool Dryer Balls

While I was on my homemade laundry products spree, I started looking for a way to make homemade dryer sheets and they all seemed really messy and complicated.  I just wanted something I could throw in the dryer to make my clothes smell good and to keep them from getting staticky.

That's when I stumbled across this DIY Wool Dryer Balls Tutorial.  As a knitter, I immediately was in my comfort zone.  Felting?  I can felt!  I had almost purchased dryer balls at the store the other day, but I was glad I didn't!

So, for those of you that aren't familiar with felting, here's the way it works.  It's actually pretty easy.  Have you ever had a wool sweater that you weren't supposed to put in the washer, but you did, and when it came out, it was smaller, tighter, firmer, and fuzzy?  You felted it.  Felting is where you take non-washable wool, usually in the form of yarn, and throw it through a washing cycle to shrink and bind it together.

So basically, to make these balls, I pulled out some old balls of feltable wool yarn I had left over.  You can use an old shirt, too, but just unwind it, and make sure it's non-washable wool and that it hasn't been washed before.  You make them into balls, tuck in the ends, and tie a small knot.

Here comes the fun part.  Take some old pantyhose and slide your first ball down to the toe.  Tie a knot in the pantyhose right around the ball, or, alternatively, tie some yarn or string around it.  MAKE SURE THIS YARN IS NOT FELTABLE, otherwise you'll have a caterpillar when you're done.

Add all the other balls in the same fashion. You can see my caterpillar here on the right, after it's been through a cycle.  (Look at the fluff leaking out from the felting process.)

Then you throw your caterpillar in with a normal load, through both the washer and the dryer.  Undo your caterpillar and take a look at the balls.  Can you undo them?  If you run your fingernails across, do the strands move?  If so, repeat the caterpillar cycle, but if they're not budging, you have successfully felted your wool dryer balls!

The next step is just to throw them in your load!  They bounce around, fluff the clothes, and reduce drying time.  You can also put a little bit of essential oil in the wool balls right before you throw them in the dryer; this will scent the clothes naturally as they get fluffed!  During this cycle, I was washing some sheets, so I used Bergamot and Petigrain, which help fight insomnia and anxiety, both of which keep me up!

Has anybody else done this?  How did it turn out?