You can’t live in the UK without a tumble dryer – unless, of course, moist clothes are your thing, and mould is your favourite fragrance. Since neither happen to tickle my fancy, I had to do a little happy dance when Better Half decided we should get said appliance, to stop making me walk ten minutes each way with bags of clothes to the nearest launderette, and sit for half an hour for them to dry (on very uncomfortable wooden benches).
Not long after, I discovered there were things one could add to the inside of the dryer to make one’s items dry faster. Ooh, accessories! Then I found out some of them were riddled with potentially nasty chemicals, and my proverbial bubble was bursted. Being a stubborn woman, however, I decided there had to be eco-friendly alternatives out there, and fancy that, I was right.
I present… wool dryer balls.
These babies dry your clothes faster (up to 30% faster), help with static electricity and may even get rid of the need for fabric conditioner. I loved the idea, especially because they’re made with my favourite type of fibre, which I just happen to have plenty of to make my own.
My first ones were made with “scrap” wool, meaning the bits and bobs I had left from custom orders, little wisps of wool that weren’t going back to my stash and that I just needle felted to each other in a ball. The first ball grew bit by bit, and before long I was getting wool to make balls on purpose. Before long, too, I was playing with colours and having fun with patterns. Below is a photo of my current set of fun dryer balls.
You’ll notice they come in different sizes, which has to do with the amount of patience I had at the time to get one finished. I could lie and say it was a scientific experiment, but hey.
My favourite was the grey one, which was made using a white core and then some leftover yarn I had from a scarf that I wrapped around the sphere, needle felting as I went. The one in the far right was also wrapped with scrap scarf yarn. The rest are wool roving and top.
Notice the pilling? That happens after a while, but I read somewhere that it might help with the drying time for some reason (it has something to do with friction, I think). I happen to like the pilling because they look like well-used household items.
Finally, here’s a set of six dryer balls I made as a custom order, with a twist: I was asked to add a sort-of Day Of The Dead skull on one of the balls, as this will be a Christmas present for a tattoo-afficcionado couple. I had lots of fun with this, and particularly since this was my project immediately after my eye scare.