Wondering Wednesday #8 Dryer Balls?

Have you ever wondered “what are dryer balls?” “why/how are they used?”  “how are they made?”

Dryer balls are simply felted wool balls, that you place in your dryer. They help fluff your clothes and absorb moisture to shorten drying time. A natural product with no added scent, they are great for people with fragrance sensitivities. However if you practice aromatherapy, you can easily add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil.

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finished dryer balls

The other day, when I was playing with fiber, I weighed some extra top to make into dryer balls.

Once they are shaped, they are wet felted by agitating them in hot soapy water. When finished the soft fibers have joined together to form a firm ball.

I use two or three to a dryer load, but have used the same ones repeatedly for over a year now. (In spite of their attempted escapes, by stowing away in shirt sleeves, they are always returned.)

Before having heard of “dryer balls” a friend had suggested that I make “cat balls” to sell and described how she does it. After some experimenting, I’ve changed her methods a little, adding colored wool to solid colors and making a variety of sizes. After selling some of the regular sized cat balls for use as dryer balls, I added larger natural colored ones to my line.

Currently I make mini cat balls, regular cat balls, jingle balls, and dryer balls for my craft shows. I’m considering making enough to offer them on-line too. What do you think?

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craft show display

 

Disclaimer; No cats or sheep are harmed in the making of these balls 🙂 However these balls should not be used by small children or chewing dogs.

A Fiber Day!

Yesterday I felt like playing with color!  I started with my big bump of soft white merino top for the kettle dying.

wool fiber

white Merino top

Actually it’s about half a bump, as you can see from the missing center.

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center view of bump of merino top

 

(click these pictures for captions)

 

I decided to experiment, to see if I could capture a golden tone. The first pound looks more like a tiger, yellow,orange and brown tones.

The second is shaded, using the same combination of dyes, but I think it came closer to what I’d envisioned. After seeing them dried, I think I will spin a sample (ounce or two) of each and ply them together. (I’ll try to remember to post a follow-up picture)

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experiment #2 gold?

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some of my dyes

Since I had my dyes out was playing mad chemist, I also rainbow dyed four batches. Two of them utilized the same colors (I’d actually written them down!) that I’d used on some that sold at the fall fiber festival. (I had hoped that it would be left for me to spin this winter.)  These came out a little busier than I remember and then my husband commented that it looked pretty, like a tropical snake—eek!

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rainbow dyed and experiment # 2 gold

For the second two batches, I chose to over-dye  a soft drab olive wool with autumn shades. (I know it’s the wrong season, but I don’t enjoy spinning snow!) And yes I was a little heavy handed with the color application, so even this came out brighter than expected.  This is the last of this fiber, which I’ve been hoarding for a while. (Did I mention it’s a very soft wool, but of an unknown sheep breed, so hard to find more of it) I may decide to spin it for my own use.

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drab olive top before dyeing

 

In conclusion, four pounds of fiber gave me some to spin, some to sell, and dyes left for another day. This equals work accomplished toward one of my sub-goals and more future fun.