Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wool Dryer balls

I'm making wool dryer balls to use in place of bounce dryer sheets. Not only is it more green and economical but I'm also trying natural things to see if I can get rid of this rash on my cheeks which is slowly spreading to all over my face. The rash isn't anything gross! It doesn't itch or anything. It is just a light red and makes my face look flushed. I've had it for several months and after the dermatologist did a million tests and came up with nothing I'm taking things into my own hands to see what might help. Let me forewarn you I am not a health freak... far from it! We have started using  dye free laundry detergent and are switching back to Downy fabric softener instead of generic. My next step is to get rid of the bounce sheets. This is something I've been thinking about doing for a while but hadn't gotten around to yet. I figure if the dryer sheets leave a film on the lint trap it must on the clothes as well. I'm trying to slowly eliminate things to figure out what is causing the rash and it never hurts to be greener!

What you'll need to make your own:

-100% wool 1-2 skeins (you will need 3-4 dryer balls about the size of a tennis ball)
-Crochet hook
-pantyhose or a laundry bag

I chose cream colored wool for fear that a dark color would bleed onto the clothes.

First, on one end the the skein dig into the middle and find the bunch of yarn.

Pull the bunch of yarn and pull it out. Untangle the yarn from the center out.
Then wrap it around the skein to keep things neat.

Make a slip knot. It also works to make a regular knot,
which is what I did for my first ball (Pictured above).
I found it easier on my second ball to make the slip knot
and have the tail longer to give you something to hold onto.

Put the crochet hook into the slip knot and tighten it so it's not too loose. If you are right handed you are going to hold the crochet hook in your right hand with the new yarn and what you've already crocheted in your left hand. If you are left handed it will be opposite.  Loop the crochet hook from the back of the yarn to the front so that it looks like the picture above. Keeping a firm hold of the tail with your ring and pinky finger rotate the crochet hook and pull it through the slip knot. The picture below gives a clearer view of what the rotation of the hook and pulling it through the loop looks like.

This picture shows my work further along and how I hold everything.
I keep the tail/work between my ring and pinky finger and the new yarn around the thumb.
I only lightly hold the new yarn so that it can flow smoothly as I work.

Keep crocheting until is somewhere between 12-24 inches.

Begin tying the end into a knot several times.
This will help you start the ball winding process.

After knotting the end start winding the yarn around the knot.
Moving in various directions to keep the ball even. Wind the ball into the size of a tennis ball roughly.
Cut the yarn from the skein, leaving some to secure the yarn into the ball.

When you are all done winding the ball stick the crochet hook into the ball.
Sticking it in end first.

Next wrap the yarn around the hook a few times and pull the hook through.
Do this until the ball is secure and the yarn in done.

My finished product... almost (there is still one final step). The balls are not all the same exact size but since they are just going in the dryer it doesn't really matter. The final step is to place the wool balls into either old pantyhose or a laundry bag.  My inspiration used old pantyhose, tying each ball into the pantyhose so the balls won't come apart. I'm still in my twenties and don't currently own pantyhose. I have small laundry bags that I use for my bras so I just put all four balls into one of my laundry bags. The bag will go through both the washer and the dryer for a few loads so that the wool can felt. After one load you will begin to notice the wool strands are becoming one... that's felted. Enjoy being a little greener! :)

This is what they look like after going through the washer and dryer in the laundry bag.

Happy Crafting!