Homemade wool dryer balls

I recently learned about wool dryer balls – have you heard of them? Apparently, you pop five or six of these babies into the dryer and they cut your drying time in half, and soften your clothes without dryer sheets, fabric softeners or any other chemicals that could irritate your skin.

I saw them on The Sitting Tree website, but with a $25 price tag, I wasn’t too interested. I figured there had to be a tutorial on the web somewhere that would help me reduce — even if just by a few skeins — the mountains of yarn I have and save my too sensitive skin at the same time.

It’s a pretty simple process – just make a ball out of 100 percent wool until it’s about the size of a tennis ball, then put it into the toe of a leftover piece of pantyhose. Tie the hose tight with either dental floss or something non-wool, like embroidery floss. Add your next ball and tie the hose around it; eventually, you’ll end up with four netted balls encased like sausage.

Wash them in the hottest water you have, then dry them in the dryer and voilà! Instant dryer balls. (Thanks to Ginny at Small Things for her post on the Etsy store The Sitting Tree, where I first saw the balls, as well as to Leslie on The Seasoned Homemaker for her excellent tutorial.) Reports vary, but I read these last anywhere from a year to several years.

These aren't quite so bubblegum pink; they actually have a lot of orange in them.
While Leslie and others make their dryer balls in natural, non-dye colors, I thought I’d start with this yarn to see if I really liked them before digging any deeper in my stash. A color catcher should hopefully get rid of most of the irritants.

I also made a couple of balls out of gray yarn, but they didn’t felt too well and came apart in the dryer. Lesson learned? Make sure you roll the yarn tightly and whatever you use to tighten the pantyhose.

How did they work? I can’t say I noticed a whole lot of reduction in drying time, but they definitely worked as a fabric softener. That alone was worth using two $10 skeins of yarn.

I made a little more progress on Audrey’s quilt. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the back, so you’ll have to wait till it’s done, but here it is all pin basted. I was all ready to start quilting when my machine decided to go on the fritz. I hope it turns out to be something simple like user error, rather than $200, which is what it cost me last summer to fix for about the same problem (threads bunching up underneath). Otherwise, I may be in the market for a new machine. Anyone have any suggestions?

What you don’t see here is how I have only 1/4 inch left on the back. I hate to redo this, so I may just baste a straight line across to keep the three layers stable while I quilt.

Till next time, thanks so much for stopping by!



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