DIY: Making Wool Dryer Balls

This is one of those projects that has been on my “must/want to make” list for some time now.  So during our latest winter blast, I stayed in and played.  I don’t know why I didn’t get around to these sooner, they really took no time at all to make and so far I’m loving them!

What are wool dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls are made from 100% wool and can be made in any size you want.  They go into the dryer with your wet clothes and help to separate and fluff them so that it shortens the amount of time you have your dryer running.  They also help to get rid of wrinkles and static.  And if you use some essential oil, make your laundry smell good without any use of chemicals.

Shorter dry time, no wrinkles or static, and pretty smelling.  Yay!  With wool balls you can use and reuse again and again!!!  Saving you money.  Yep, that brings a smile to my face.  A penny saved is a penny earned… I’m earning some serious pennies with this one!

How to make your own dryer balls…

The first thing you need is 100% wool yarn.  It can’t have any cotton or acrylic or anything else in the yarn.  And it can’t be pre-shrunk.  The wool has to be able to felt.  I wanted to be able to make quite a few balls and didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on the yarn.  So… I got really cheap (or thrifty) and bought some wool sweaters at a garage sale for a quarter a piece.  Then I bought a couple of skeins of yarn at the fabric store.  You’ll also need some old pantyhose and a crochet hook.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to actually know how to crochet (whew!) you just need it to pull the final piece of yarn through.

Wool Dryer Ball Supplies

Since you wanted to save money on yarn and are using a junk sweater, you need to cut the sweater into strips.

Wool Sweater Strips for Dryer Balls

Then you take two strips of your wool sweater and knot them together to form the base of your ball.

Knotted Wool Sweater Strips for Dryer Balls

Now you can take and wrap more of your sweater strips around and around until you get it to about the size you want.

Medium Wool Dryer Ball

Once you have a decent size ball, take your yarn and wrap it around the sweater strips.  This holds all the sweater strips in place and makes your balls pretty.

Start of Wool Dryer Ball

When your ball is the desired size, cut your yarn, take your crochet hook, and weave the yarn into the ball.  I made my balls the size of a large orange.  The bigger, the better.  Or so I hear.  The larger the balls, the more they bounce around and separate the clothes.  Just felt I had to clarify that a bit for those of you who have wandering minds.

Large Wool Dryer Ball

Now, I’m not sure this next step is necessary, but I thought it might help since I have a front-loading washing machine and wanted to make sure my balls got adequately soaked and shrunken.  So I filled my sink with really hot water and a bit of hand soap and soaked and swished my balls for a little while.  Okay, so I really just let them soak while I went about and made lunch.

Soaking Wool Dryer Balls

Before you pop them into your washing machine you want to enclose them in the pantyhose so that they don’t unravel and create a really big mess.  I suppose you could do this before you soak your balls in the sink too.  I did have one that I made earlier and never got around to finishing floating in the sink.  Doesn’t matter as long as you do it before they go into the washing machine.

Place a ball in the stocking, tie a knot in the stocking, put another ball in, tie another knot and so on.  You won’t be able to reuse the pantyhose once the balls are felted.  The pantyhose get kind of hairy.  Not a pleasant feeling.  So buy really cheap ones or use some old ones that you’ve had hidden in your drawer for 10 years.  I don’t wear pantyhose too often to go out and feed the animals here on the farm.  Although it might be kind of entertaining to the neighbors!

Wool Dryer Ball Worm

Now you are ready to throw your wool ball worm into the washing machine.  Wash in high heat with cold rinse.  Then pop them into the dryer and dry on high heat.  Now might be a good time to wash your sheets and pillowcases.  Just an idea.

Take them out of the dryer and run your fingernail over the stocking/ball and see if the yarn threads have “felted” together.  You may want to put it through the wash/dry cycle one more time to be sure.

Your finished balls will look similar to this.  You can make them in any colors you like.

Close-up of Wool Dryer Ball

I made 7 of them using one and a half skeins of yarn.  The sweater insides really helped to save money on the yarn.  I put mine in a basket on top of the dryer with a bottle of lavender essential oil.  Place a few drops on the balls before popping them in the dryer and you have a healthy alternative to the chemical-laden dryer sheets sold in stores.  Much prettier and reusable too.  Be sure to use essential oil, not fragrance oil.  Fragrance oil will leave greasy spots on your clothes.  Pure essential oil will not.

Basket of Wool Dryer Balls

Now that I’ve had fun telling you all about my balls (tee hee), go out and try to make some of your own and let me know how much you love them!  Hmm, how do you use dryer balls when you hang your laundry on the line during the summer?  I’ll have to ponder that one!

If you don’t feel like making them, you can always buy some online at Etsy or Amazon .

 

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Good Luck Penny

Geez.  We had a really bad night yesterday.  We lost our precious Penny.  She was my favorite ferret.  Todd brought her home for me 4 years ago for Christmas.  She was a feisty little kit that loved to nip and play.  Her favorite thing to do was to steal pens out of my purse and hide them.  And to steal decorations off of the Christmas tree.    She loved to sit on your lap and drink tea from your013 cup.  We didn’t get to say good-bye.  Her death was totally unexpected.  She was our youngest.  She was supposed to be the last ferret standing.  I was going to get her a little skunk to play with when all the others had gone.  Now we are left with Jerry – the oldest and first ferret that we got.  Jerry is Todd’s favorite.  They have a love/hate relationship – Jerry loves to chew on Todd’s foot!  Jerry lost his brother Tom last year.  I know ferrets don’t do well all alone.  I hope that we are enough for him and he doesn’t succumb to the sadness ferrets get that I have read about.   Only time will tell.   We will miss our little good luck Penny.

Rest In Peace

Our day didn’t start out all bad.  Todd kept busy chopping all the wood that the tree trimmers left for us.  I’d say that we will have enough wood for this year and next. image Nothing like a warm roaring fire to take the chill out of the day.  We have wood stacked down on the front porch, on the side porch, in the yard, and a supply near the wood burner. And lots more to chop and split yet.  Yep, take that gas company!!!  We have all gotten pretty good at handling an axe and chopping wood.  We leave the chain-sawing to the big guy though.  I’m content to haul the logs.  I enjoy having all my limbs, thank you very much!

Lexie and I spent the afternoon making feather earrings.  She had seen a pair on Good003 Luck Charlie and wanted to buy some.  Lucky us!  We have a ton of chicken, duck, and guinea feathers that we can use to make our own!  And it’s much more fun than plopping    down a few dollars at the store for them.  We made a bunch of different combinations.  I think they turned out pretty well if you ask me.  I even made a pair for myself.  When you wear them, they are as light as a feather!!

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Here’s hoping that there are no more bad surprises before Christmas.  It’s a little hard to look forward to all the festivities when you have such a heavy heart.