Monday, January 25, 2010

Thinking Green: Dryer Balls

Well, one of our resolutions for 2010 included being a bit greener... I came across this great idea from my friend Carrie of Takin Care of Twins and it seems like with just a few simple steps, we can be a little closer to helping our environment and fight static cling...

What You'll need:

  • Wool Yarn: For the best results, use a yarn that is 100% wool. Do not use superwash wool. If it says it is machine washable, you don't want it for this project.
  • Old Pantyhose or a Sock
  • Cotton or Acrylic Yarn or String: You can use scraps here, too. This will be used to tie the hose or sock. You don't want this to felt, so don't use the wool yarn here.
  • Scissors
  • A Small Crochet Hook
  • A Measuring Tape
  1. Winding the Core~We'll begin by making the core of the ball. Making a core first will make the finished ball a little more firm. It is also possible to simply skip this step, but the ball will be a bit more squishy during the felting and might not have as nice a shape when you're finished.Begin by winding a bit of yarn around your fingers, remove your fingers, and keep wrapping around to form a small ball ( about 1/2 the desired size). Now tuck the end under using the crochet hook. This will keep it from coming loose as it's felting.
  2. Felting the Core~You can try to felt the balls by hand, but this isn't necessary and takes a while. I prefer to use the washer and dryer. Put your small wool balls into the pantyhose or sock, like the cheap knee-high pantyhose. After you put a ball into the hose, tie the hose closed with a piece of string or non-wool yarn with a secure knot. This will keep the balls separated during felting. DO NOT skip the hose/sock and just toss them into the washer. Trust me, they are very likely to fall apart and you will end up with a felted rat's nest. Toss the wool ball pantyhose caterpillar into your washer with a load of laundry (wash AND dry). They will felt faster in HOT loads. If you use a hand-dyed or not colorfast yarn, be careful for bleeding. They should be slightly felted. If you want them felted more, run them through another load.
  3. Winding the Dryer Ball~Begin winding more wool yarn onto the ball until the ball is the size you want. Tuck the end under using the crochet hook.
  4. Final Felting~Repeat the felting by once again doing your laundry and tossing these in (in the soc/pantyhose caterpillar OF COURSE). They don't have to be completely felted before you can start using them, just slightly felted will do. You just don't want them to come apart. They will continue to felt and get harder as you use them.

That's it! You now have wool dryer balls! Depending on the wool yarn you use, they may get pills on them with use. If these bother you, just give them a shave with a sweater shaver now and then.

TOOO much work? You can always buy Wool Dryer Balls...

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