Okay, let me explain. I’ve been fascinated by the latest dryer enhancement, wool balls. Just the mention of them has my hubby in hysterics and a thousand innuendos spewing from his lips, most not repeatable in print. I know this is off-topic from food, but thought it is a worthy “renewable” and eco-friendly thing to talk about.
For those of you unfamiliar with these laundry dryer wonders, you can find them on Amazon, in Target and many other places, or make them yourself. When I found a website that shows you how to make your own, well you know I just had to try.
They are so easy to use, just throw them in the dryer with your clothes. And they are reusable! The benefits listed from DIY Natural:
- “They decrease drying time, saving you money on utility bills. (Especially helpful in the winter months!)
- Commercial fabric softeners and dryer sheets are filled with harmful chemicals and perfumes that coat your clothing, eventually ending up on your skin. These chemicals can be especially harsh on sensitive skin. There are no chemicals in wool dryer balls!
- Commercial dryer sheets can be costly, and are thrown away after (normally) one use. Wool dryer balls can be re-used for years, saving you hundreds of dollars.
- Commercial fabric softeners shouldn’t be used on cloth diapers. Wool dryer balls are perfect for keeping your cloth diapers soft and chemical-free.
- Wool dryer balls won’t affect the absorbency of your towels, kitchen cloths, or cloth diapers – commercial softeners will.
- 100% wool dryer balls increase fluffiness and reduce static as dryer loads tumble.
- Dryer balls help to soften clothes naturally.
- Dryer balls are made from a renewable resource.”
Okay, now which of hubby’s “old man” wool sweaters do I want to get out of his closet? Do you think he’ll notice they’ve turned into dryer balls?
There were several sources I consulted before making these balls. One common item is wool roving. I’d never heard of it before. Was it wool you had to pry off sheep that were roving in the fields? The more I looked into this new wool item, the more confused I was. One source said: “Roving, a.k.a combed top, for wet felting and nuno work. Combed top is a good choice when making nuno felt due to its longer fiber length (less pilling).”
Now that brought up another question, what is wool combed top? “Wool tops refers to the finest wool with the longest fibers.” You can see where this is going, right? The more I researched the deeper I was in wool and I didn’t even try to figure out what nuno work was. Luckily, several of my friends are quite familiar with wool roving and explained what it is. I couldn’t find it locally, so made my first balls without it.
I started with a couple of squares of felt, a ball of 100% wool yarn (don’t be tempted to get a wool blend), a dull yarn needle and a pair of pantyhose.
I cut and rolled the felt squares, enough to make four balls. I tightly rolled the felt and then wrapped it with the wool yarn. Once the ball was about the size of a tennis ball I cut the yarn, threaded the end of the yarn into the needle. To finish, I pushed the needle through the wool ball back and forth a few times.
Let the felting begin!
Next. I put the balls into a leg of a pair of panty hose or old sock and tie off each ball tightly and then running through a hot wash and then dried them. I added a load of towels when I did this to justify the use of a hot water load. You may have to do this twice to get the optimum results. I did have to repeat the process to get the desired felting.
Once your wool balls are properly felted, they are ready to use.
P.S. I saved my hubby’s wool sweaters this time, although if I make more of these for gifts, I might have to cut into them. I can see out of the corner of my eye he is headed for his closet to preserve his favorites.
P.S.S. I finally ordered the wool roving online and will let you know how the second set of dryer balls come out.