Friday, May 30, 2014

Homemade hooray!

    When I shop I tend to stock up. With three kids and a Hubs that travels for work - I stock up. I never want to have to drag my kids out to the store because I need something for a meal or chore if I can avoid it. I haven't had to buy laundry soap and dryer sheets in over a year. We are now down to our last few boxes of dryer sheets - and let me just tell you we do at least one load of laundry a day so that's pretty darn good. For a while now I have been interested in dryer balls and how they work without the fragrances and chemicals to soften your laundry. I've had dryer balls in my shopping carts on several online sites and even once at the store but I never have been able to decide if that was what I wanted to "invest" in. 
    The other day I had a set of dryer balls in my virtual cart and I even got as far as "click to confirm your order" screen but I chickened out. My crafty, diy side was screaming "Why cant you make your own? It's gotta be easy peasey!" So I did a web search and found several tutorials on making your own with anything from wool yarn to scrap felt pieces. I even saw a few people suggest using aluminum foil balls - that I just couldn't bring myself to try out. It just sounds wrong but there has been worse things tumbling around in my washer and dryer (thanks to my son and his cargo pockets). 
    So I priced out what it cost to try my hand at making my own. Luckily the wool yarn was on sale AND I used an in-store coupon for another 25% off so scored a few skeins for $2.20 each. 
    I knew from a few tutorials that I could use some of the thousands skeins of acrylic yarn I have sitting around as the core to the balls so that cut down on the amount of wool yarn I would be using. I also read that generally one skein will make about 2 balls - that is assuming that you're making the ball all out of wool yarn. 
    I sat and rolled some acrylic yarn cores and once those were about the size of a golf ball I wrapped the rest with wool yarn to the size of a baseball. I knotted it a ton of times - I lost track because I just kept knotting and knotting after I pulled the yarn through the ball with a crochet hook. I chained them in the leg of some panty hose. By the way I was able to get three ball out of each skein doing the core in acrylic yarn.

(Yes, I worked on these while the kiddos were in bed - hence the pajama pants - haha)

    For the felting process I wanted to shock the dryer balls so I brought a pot to a boil and left them in there for about 20 minutes or so - I might have lost track of the overall time because I did this part while the two younger kiddos were home. I then tossed them in the dryer with a load of towels to start drying them off. That part took the longest but I will admit I tested the whole non-dryer sheets in a few loads while those were drying and they seemed to bounce around enough to prevent static cling. Awesome!!

    Overall I'm pretty happy with being able to get away from dryer sheets and that I was able to make them myself. (Guess what some family members will be getting for Christmas! lol)
    Do you use dryer balls? Have you made them or did you purchase them? Which brand? I think eventually I'd like to pick up a few dryer balls to have on the side - I'm sort of expecting mine to eventually unravel but we shall see. 

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