Today We Stopped Using Fabric Softener

Wool Dryer BallsI read a lot of other natural and DIY blogs, and one day I stumbled upon someone making wool dryer balls.  I had already stopped using fabric softener on my towels since I figured out that the fabric stops absorbing water when covered in that stuff, but I hadn’t found a solution for the rest of my clothes.  This was it.  And it wouldn’t include that weird rubber smell from those plastic dryer balls.

Truly the hardest part of this project was finding 100% wool yarn that was good for felting. Almost everything at the local craft stores was a wool/acrylic blend.  Online, it was hard to determine if the wool was “super-washed” meaning it wouldn’t felt.  After a tiring search, I decided on this funky colored 100% wool yarn that promised it was good for felting projects.  The other problem I ran into was not having any old pantyhose as recommended by every post I found on these things.  As a general rule, I do not wear hose or stockings, nor did I want to spend any money going to buy a pair just for this project.  I wanted to keep the cost to the yarn.  So how was I going to keep the balls from unravelling in the washer?  Martha Stewart to the rescue!    On her website, she has a tutorial on wool felting balls that felts just by soaking in warm soapy water and tossing the balls from hand to hand to create enough friction to felt the wool.  That I could use!  So it was finally time to get down to the ball-creating business.

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If you’ve ever made a rubber band ball, you know the first band, you basically just wad up and wrap around itself.  Same here, just make a wad and wrap it around.  I used my fingers like this and just wrapped until it was more ball shaped.

I wrapped mine to the size of tennis balls, but they do shrink, so when my next skein of yarn comes it, the new ones will be the size of softballs.

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I didn’t have a crochet hook or yarn needle handy; actually, I no longer own a yarn needle, but it would have made the process of securing the end of the yarn much easier.  I simply wove it under and over several other threads using my fingers.  Now they are ready for their bath.  One pot of warm, soapy water and a sink full of cold water are all I needed.

I literally just soaked the balls and then played hot potato with them for about 10 minutes then threw them across the kitchen into the sink.  I even added ice to my cold water to make sure it was really cold.  It was probably overkill.  I squeezed each one out 3 times to get all the warm water out of the middle and cool them down faster.  The threads are really fuzzy now.

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From here, I just tossed them in the dryer on normal for 5 minutes with my already dry clothes.  I stopped the dryer to make sure they weren’t unravelling.  So far so good, so I took the clothes out and just let the balls bounce around in there for another 20 minutes.  This is what they looked like.

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I played around with them to make sure they weren’t going to unravel and decided that green band on the pink one was not as secure as I liked.  I took some regular thread and wove it in and tied a knot so it couldn’t slip off the side.  Then I put them in the washer with the blankets from the couch.  Washed on hot, dried on hot, and I do believe they are done!

 

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