Friday, June 17, 2011

how to make felted wool dryer balls.


We were looking for a way to use up our ever growing collection of scrap wool, when we discovered wool dryer balls.  We had so much fun making them that we just had to share this great idea with you!

If you have never heard of wool dryer balls they are rapidly growing in popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets. They reduce static, they soften your cloths without the use of harsh chemicals and they cut down on drying time saving you money. You can also scent them by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil.


You can purchase new 100% wool for felting, or you can use up your leftover scraps. The important thing is not to use a super wash or machine washable wool as this in theory will not felt. If you are worried about colour fastness in the laundry then you may want to stick to the light neutral colours.

Getting started


Start by winding your 100% wool for felting around your fingers.


Slide the yarn off of your fingers and wind in the other direction.


Fold the ball in half and keep winding. Don't worry about whether or not it is pretty.


If you are using scrap wool, when you reach the end of one colour just join the new colour with a slip knot and continue winding. We saved our largest yarn scraps for the outside so that our finished ball was one consistent colour.


When you have finished winding your yarn into a ball 10” in circumference, or about the size of a tennis ball, use a crochet hook to tuck your yarn end in.


To keep your yarn from unraveling in the washing maching you will want to place it in an old pair of nylons or the toe of a sock.


For added security you might want to knot a piece of cotton (non-felting) string around the sock. Wash with like colours in hot water in the washing machine. It may take a few washings to get the ball to felt. If you desire a fuzzier more uniform look you can remove the dryer ball from the sock (once you are sure that it is felted enough that it won't come apart)  and wash it on its own. Throwing it in the dryer will also speed up the felting process.


For added detail you can needle felt a design onto your felted dryer ball.


Simply divide your yarn into 3 seperate strands as shown.


Using 1 strand of yarn and a 38 gauge all-purpose felting needle lightly tack your design into place. If you are not satisfied with the results then simply pull the yarn off and start again. Don't be afraid to be creative. When you are happy with the design and its placement then stab the design evenly until it is firmly attached.


kim.

20 comments:

  1. HI! I cannot believe no one has commented yet :O making me the first one to do so! I love this post, I will be starting TONIGHT! I have just run out of dryer sheets and I have made up my mind, I will not go back! You're balls (LOL) are gorgeous! I'll be trying a few designs, hopefully it works out :D!! Thank you for posting!
    D

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  2. Thanks you so much for your compliment!!! They're a great way to use up those scraps of wool. Hope that you have as much fun making them as we did and would love to hear how you make out!

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  3. I didnt realize tat these were so easy I will have to make a few of these. Thank you girls!

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  4. I will be making lots of these.......for myself and for gifts. So cool!

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    1. They make great gifts! For awhile I was addicted to making them so I had lots to share. Everyone that I gave them to loved them and couldn't believe how well they worked! Thanks for your comment :)

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  5. I love this idea! I am going to make some for my friends. (AND ME, of course)! Thank you.

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  6. I am wondering if I could use an old sweater for the core of my wool dryer balls. The sweater is made of 85% wool and 15% nylon. Can you tell me if that would work?

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    1. I haven't tried it so I'm not sure. I'm also not sure if the nylon would cause static. If you decide to go ahead and try it I would love to hear how you make out!

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  7. Do you have to use detergent during the felting, or just plain hot water? Also, how long do the balls usually last?

    Thank you for such clear instructions!

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    1. I use detergent. I like to throw mine in with a load of towels as I usually wash my towels in hot water. The important thing would be not to use bleach. As for how long they last, I'm not really sure as I haven't wore mine out yet. I did some research though, and it sounds like they can last years and years. One lady has been using hers for 8 years and they are still fine.

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  8. Replies
    1. The pleasure was mine :) I forgot to mention that they may get fuzzy and pilly, but this doesn't affect their preformance. Every once in a while I just shave the pills off.

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  9. May I ask what yarn brand you used in this tutorial? :) They look amazing!

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    1. I am not sure about the orange dryer ball pictured, but all of the other ones were made using Patons Classic Wool Worsted.

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  10. Do you know is non-wool yarn works for this as well? I would love to dry this!

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    1. No sorry....non wool will not work. You need to use 100% wool for felting, and you want to be careful NOT to use wool labeled “superwash” or “machine washable”.

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  11. I actually about this a couple weeks ago from my niece, so I gave it a try. first couple I did I used the felting fiber, the others I used the wool yarn 100% of course, I couldn't believe how much it cut down on the drying time, Question how many do you use at a time in your dryer? I was unsure so I have 4 in my dryer.

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    1. I only ever use 3 or 4, but for a heavy load of towels or jeans you may want to use more. Tara Fletcher-Gibbs, of https://www.etsy.com/shop/CleanSypria?ref=shopsection_shophome_leftnav, feels the more the better and she often uses 10 to 12 in her large heavy loads.

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    2. thank you. I was thinking I might be using too many. 10-12 that's a lot.

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