Saturday, May 7, 2011

FO: Wooly Dryer Balls

Hey. Hey guys. I made something else. And I took pictures. Are you looking? Look at me!

AND it was an IWTMT.

Last week I bought some Lamb's Pride Worsted, thinking if I was going to make dryer balls I wanted natural-colored wool. Don't ask me why I didn't just use the perfectly good wool I have in my stash. Didn't your mother teach you to mind your manners? All these questions!


Pattern: Wooly Dryer Balls from With A Tangled Skein. However, I say "pattern" loosely; it's more of a brief tutorial. It does not include instructions on felting.
Yarn: Less than one skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted covered four acrylic balls of approximately 8.5" circumference. I used color M-140 Aran. The acylic core was probably Caron Simply Soft Ombre in Country Blue, but I don't know that for a fact. I got four small balls out of a large partial ball I had, with very little left. I really should measure this stuff.
(7.1.11 edit: I weighed the balls and did some math. I believe I used approximately 104.5 yards of wool and 190.5 yards of acrylic.)
Hook: Haha, bet you thought this was a hook/needleless project, huh? You use a crochet hook to secure the yarn ends so the ball doesn't unravel. I used a G because it seemed like it would lessen my chances of loosening all the yarn as I secured the ends.
Timeline: I got it all done yesterday.

This was a perfect quick project for me, since my hand has still not recovered. I also felted for the first time, and it was easier than I had anticipated. My washing machine is more computer-like than the turn-dial ones in the felting tutorials I looked at, so it was difficult for me to feel like I was doing it right. I sent the dryer balls (in tied-up pantyhose) through 2 wash cycles on hot with a pair of jeans, and then dried them alone in the dryer on hot for 60 minutes.

They had felted really well at that point, but I decided to do a hand-felting in my sink after, just in case. You can see how beautifully they felted here:


Isn't my robe a pretty color? I was afraid the M-140 wouldn't felt, being a natural color, but it was a champ and I would definitely repurchase that yarn/color.

They take FOREVER to dry once they're soaking wet. Mine still aren't dry, even the 2 that I sent through the dryer today. That's something to consider.

(Also, these pictures are all pre-shave. I put some in the dryer with my towels pre-shave and everything seemed fine, but I used my fabric shaver on them after I took them out to defuzz them a bit.)

Random Thoughts: So ... how do they work? That's a good question. I made 4, but I intended for each one to be used with one essential oil, so I haven't used all 4 in the dryer yet. I think I'd really need to use 4 at once to see a reduction in drying time.

I put about 5 drops of lavender essential oil on one and 5 drops of eucalyptus on another and tossed them in with some towels. The towels seem un-staticky and amazingly, they actually smell a little like the essential oils, so I'm going to consider this a win.

I definitely, definitely definitely want to make more, both for myself and others. I think these would be great gifts, especially when gifted with a nice essential oil (rose or lavender, perhaps?). I purchase the Oshadhi oils at a local store and find them to be very high quality.

Actually, I can see the most lovely hand-made package, with wooly dryer balls, essential oils, maybe a hand towel knit of linen ... mmm. I know I'd love to get that.

And if the recipient doesn't like them, they make great juggling balls.



De said...

FUN! I'm going to make some for myself and scent them with lavender too. I'll let you know when I actually get to the project, and how it turns out. ;-P

Johanna said...

Adorable! Yes I do love the color of your robe and I think they would make wonderful gifts. I also really want to learn to juggle. Funny how I saw this yesterday and I was just talking a few days ago about wanting to learn to juggle. I think I read about it in a book and that is why I want to take it up. How long do the yarn balls last?