The Virtuous Felted Wool Dryer Ball
You may have never heard of the “felted wool dryer ball.” She’s modest but packs a big punch. Toss six or more in the dryer with a load of clothes and watch these beauties work their magic by:
- Acting as a dryer sheet by removing static and softening fabric.
- Pulling moisture from clothes so you don’t have to run the dryer as long.
- Helping to remove wrinkles while bouncing around against the fabric.
You can use them again and again, for years even. For a normal size load of wash, you’ll want to add between 6-12 dryer balls. You can even scent the dryer balls by adding a few drops of essential oil about once a month. My favorite is lavender.
You should let the balls dry between cycles. For that reason, you’ll want a whole slew of them on hand. You can buy them on Etsy (for approximately $3-5 per ball) or make them in a few easy steps:
1. Gather supplies: old wool sweater (optional), wool yarn (not acrylic), roving (shown in green below; optional), panty hose, string. I found an old sweater in storage and the yarn and wool roving from my stash. Roving is a piece of wool that’s been combed, drawn into a clump, and twisted slightly. Roving has not been spun into yarn yet. It seems to felt more easily than the spun yarn, but you’ll do just fine with the wool yarn. You can buy roving locally (as well as yarn of course) from fibre space in Old Town Alexandria.
2. Cut small pieces of wool from the sweater. Nadja was more than happy to take on this task.
3. Fold a piece of the sweater and then start wrapping the yarn around it. The piece of sweater helps to make the center of the ball harder which makes it more solid and longer lasting.
4. After you make the circumference around 4-5 inches, secure the end, wrap some roving around the ball, and then stuff the balls into the foot of an old pair of panty hose. Tie string in between each ball.
5. Put the hose with the balls inside into a hot water wash with a load of laundry and then straight into the dryer. When they come out, they should be partially felted.
6. Wrap some more yarn and roving around the ball until each ball is at least 8-10 inches in circumference. Repeat steps 4 and 5 and you will have a nice set of felted balls to use yourself or give as a gift. They’ll felt even more every time you use them. (They would make a nice baby gift too.)
If you want to get really fancy, you can needle felt an alternate color or design on the outside. I’ve seen some beautiful specimens on Etsy.