Alright my lovelies, these are one of those things you don’t think you’ll need, but once you have them you can’t live without them. Behold. Pretty wool dryer balls. Haha. At first I was thinking, “oh let’s just make some easy ones” but then I thought “why make easy when you can make pretty?”. So I went with pretty because I try to add a little beauty to every boring thing whenever I can.
What exactly are dryer balls, you ask. Well, you toss them in your dryer with your wet clothes and put them on a normal dry cycle. They bounce around with all your clothes and fluff them up and really cut down on drying time, making the time drastically shorter. Perfect for large loads that take forever to dry, pillows you need to fluff, sheets and comforters that need fluffing and faster drying, and really handy for cloth diapers. I like to drop a few drops of lavender essential oil on my wool dryer balls before I toss them in, it makes everything smell nice and works like dryer sheets without damaging your clothes or taking away the wicking property of your towels. They are amaze-balls. See what I did there? Hah.
What you’ll need:
- 100% wool yarn (one skein makes about 1 1/2 balls)
- wool roving
- felting needles (optional)
- a pair of tights you hate or won’t ever fit in again
Grab your yarn and wrap it around a few of your fingers until it’s a good size.
Now take it off and wrap around the middle to hold that together.
Just keep wrapping. Turn the ball after every ten or so wraps so that it gets wrapped evenly.
You want it the size of a tennis ball. Once you’re done wrapping poke the end of the yarn through the ball with a pen or crochet hook.
Now this is the fun part. I’m going to pretend you already have everything you need to felt, because you do that all the time. Naturally. I mean, who doesn’t felt wool for fun?
This is what it looks like if you want to make them pretty. You can find all this at Joanns in the wool felting section by the cross stitch aisle. There’s my felting board, my ball, my wool roving and my felting needle. This is my pretty wool roving from Louet, by the way. Do we all remember the Spinzilla post? This is leftover roving, because sometimes when you spin you end up with little bits of fluff. And what better way to use all that fluff than to make cute wool dryer balls!
Now tear off a little bit of fluff and wrap it around the ball. You want it ALMOST see-through. Not too thick and not too thin.
Now give it some pokes to anchor it into the ball. This is good if you need to take out some aggression. I think felting is a good hobby for stress relief. I mean, think about it, you’re just poking it with needles over and over. Trust me, this is the funnest part. Even my daughter helped me felt some of the roving.
Now put some more fluff on the ends and felt that too (poke it). It should look kind of like this now.
At this point you can put it in your tights and felt it. Just slip it in the end, tie a knot around it and go on to the next ball to felt. Or be an over-achiever and let’s make it PRETTY!
I grabbed a sliver of white and felted it around into a double spiral.
And then I went and made a whole bunch of hearts and spirals. And I threw in a few random patterns for good measure. Look at all the pretty pre-felted goodness! Ahh, I can’t take the cuteness!
So extremely fluffy!
This is merino wool used from the Spinzilla fiber pack from Louet.
Now tie them into your nylons/stockings/tights. Get weird looks from anyone else in the room…check and check.
Oh and here’s the proper way to felt wool. I have to say this because I was reading on some blogs that it took ladies like 7 runs through the washer to felt them and that’s just wrong and a huge waste of water. Oh no honey. Wool felts when it gets agitated. The fastest way to do that is by shocking the fiber with heat and cold, and adding some soap to agitate it. It only took 2 cycles in my washer.
Add your strange string of balls into your washer on the hottest setting and add your regular detergent. Let it have a cold rinse. Do this again, one more hot/cold cycle and it should be felted.
Cut your nylons or untie them and look at the prettiness.
Taa-dah! Mine were a little damp but they air dried pretty quickly.
I really love using these. Usually you make about 6 to 8 to use, but since I wash clothes for seven people I made 9 of these bad boys. And they dry our clothes soooo much faster…especially because I like to make huge loads to get through all the laundry faster. And like I mentioned earlier, I like to drop some lavender essential oil on them before they go in the dryer with a load because they make everything smell pretty.
Who says doing laundry has to be boring? Even the kids will help fold laundry and match up socks so they can discover these hiding in the pile of clothes. The kiddos like to play with them when I don’t need them. Oh, and that purple ball on the left with the heart, my little girl helped make that one. Awwww.
So do you use wool dryer balls? Have you ever heard of them? I want to know! 🙂