Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Felted Dryer Balls ~ Do It Yourself

I just have to say... up here in Vermont, where I live, we have lots of sheep.  I don't have any of my own, though I'd be happy to, but they are in every other field I pass.   It goes sheep, cows, sheep, cows, sheep, cows, goats... sheep, cows, sheep, cows, sheep, cows, goats.  Just like that.

It delights me.

I visited these darlings, recently.

Hiya, handsome.  Don't let me bother you... go ahead and eat.

And these beauties.  Hi, girls!

My purpose in stopping at their home was to pick up their britch roving.  (Thank you, sweets.) Reason being... I wanted to make some felted dryer balls.  They're awesome... I'll tell you more about that later.

I talked to their keeper... the sheep mama... for a long time.  She obliged in telling me all about their flock, the joys and the perils (they recently added a couple of llamas as flock guardians - needed to, unfortunately - and explained why they chose llamas over dogs and donkeys... very interesting).

Here's their website where you can learn more about them:  Contented Butterfly Farm

This is what my one pound of roving looked like when I brought it home.  I had four 4-ounce balls.

I unwound each four-ounce ball and divided it into fourths to create one-ounce portions.

Then rewound the fourths to create one ounce balls.

Sixteen of them...

Then, if you are doing this to make felted dryer balls (why else would you do precisely this?), it's time to place them in nylon stockings.  Though, I haven't worn those in eons and didn't have any; so instead I used old knee-highs that I don't wear any more.  Place each ball in its own section, separated by yarn ties.

To felt properly, they need hot water, soap and agitation.  I ran them through two wash and dry cycles; a hot water wash with a cold water rinse, dry, and repeat.

They'll come out looking like this.  The fibers poke out of the nylons making removal a bit of a challenge.

I had to really tug to get those nylons off my felted balls.  Fear not, though, the balls won't come apart (I learned first-hand).

Voila - the finished product.  Lovely, aren't they?

I threw a tennis ball into the mix so you can gauge their size.  They're all roughly an ounce, but the black ones seemed to draw up tighter than the other colors. I don't know why.  It won't make them less effective... it's just an interesting fact.

So, if you're wondering what in the world you're supposed to do with these things, anyway - let me tell you...

Use at least 2 balls in your dryer to soften clothes and reduce static cling, eliminating the need for chemical (toxic) dryer sheets; and use up to 6 balls to reduce your drying time (up to 40%) and promote energy efficiency, saving you money. (I love that part.)

These felted dryer balls are made from 100% natural, undyed sheep’s wool (combination of Shetland and Finn Vermont sheep – local to me) and, since they're 100% sheep’s wool, they will not leave lint on your clothes, unlike other natural fibers (llama, for instance).

Being all-natural and free of chemicals and dyes, they are safe for even the youngest members of your family, they’re reusable (will last for years), and are ecofriendly and biodegradable.

There you have it!  If you don't have access to sheep's wool, or aren't inclined to make your own, I have them available for sale on Etsy. 

Here's the link:  Thankful Expressions Etsy Shop.

Linking with Wildcrafting Wednesday, Encourage One Another, Frugal Days/Sustainable Ways, Rosevine Cottage


Rosevine Cottege said...

What a great post!! We have been wanting to make these. Just bought some but wanted to know how they were made and now we know. I have pinned it to keep it for later. Thank you so much.
We are here from Deep Roots At Home link up party and really enjoy your blog. I will be following.

We would love to have you over our place. and We are doing a give away and a link up on the Rosevine site right now too. Hope to see you again and keep in touch. Blessings!

Nancy W said...

I've got to try this, I won some wool dryer balls a while ago and just love them. Now to try making them myself!

Pam O'Brien said...

Well... I happen to know you have ample access to sheep, Nancy. 😉

Magnolia Tea said...

Love those sheep and those gorgeous dryer balls. I need to make some for myself. Thanks for sharing your photos.

Tessa Zundel said...

We love our dryer balls! I have wool envy; you're sheep look so fun!! We shared your post with our FB readers at

Anonymous said...

Having trouble with mine leaving lint on clothing...

Pam O'Brien said...

Hmmm... are they 100% sheep's wool?