After I posted about making my own laundry soap it was suggested that I could also make my own wool dryer balls. I looked into it and I loved the idea! You spend a bit of time and money upfront to make these balls that will last for a very long time. They work to fluff up the clothes to reduce drying time, the friction of the wool acts as a fabric softener and no chemicals! These are the instructions that I used: Wool Dryer Ball Instructions.
I was excited to use a 50% off coupon at the fabric store and I scored this large skein of 100% wool.
On a quiet Friday night I spent an evening making 6 wool balls. I guess I can understand how people get into knitting as it was rather meditative although a couple fingers really hurt by the end! I crafted these 6 beautiful, perfectly, tightly wound balls:
The next step was to put them through the washer and dryer to "felt" them. From what I understand felting is where you wash and dry wool that shouldn't ever see the inside of a washer or dryer to fuse the fibers together making the ball completely tightly wound into little felt balls. At least that is what is supposed to happen. This is what came out of my dryer:
Oops! I was determined not to get discouraged. I still had four perfectly fine balls. Although none of those balls appeared felted in any way it was time for round two. I used the extra yarn I now had to salvage my remaining 4 balls. I reinforced them tightly and bought a new, cheap pair of nylons to wrap them in. They took another trip through the washer and two rounds in the dryer. They came out mostly intact...yay! But still didn't appear felted. I wondered if maybe my expectations were too high. And then I spotted these perfectly crafted masterpieces at Whole Foods:
My little wool balls are not at all the appearance of these guys. I really believe that if I toss mine in the dryer with clothes they will completely unwind. It's also worth mentioning that for $19.99 I could buy a whole lot of unscented dryer sheets. So, this project was unfortunately a fail. I tried really hard to make it work but it seems wool and I are not friends.