Thursday, March 14, 2013

Great balls of dryer.

I had a totally different post planned for today on two castles in Cornwall, but it just ain't happenin'. I'm sorry. I feel terrible. I promise from the bottom of my bad-blogger heart that it'll be up Tuesday, and I'll update my picture-a-day post as well.  Then I have travel adventures in London, Paris, and Amsterdam, plus a surprise that goes along with 'oh, oh, ohh, oh, oh, oh, oh-oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!' - maybe that's not going to translate. 

My hands were idle for too long, so I needed a project. Being that I'm in England, I needed a simple project that would either be functional for Dad after I'm gone, because he doesn't understand the merit in home decor, or a project small enough that I could take it home with me. I'm saying this as if I started this project while I was here, but truth be told, I started it the night before I flew out. My hands were idle for too long while watching The Bachelor. Two hours of that show was stressful this season - I'm was sure someone was going to be seriously injured and the rose ceremony would be in the hospital. And PS don't spoil it for me yet - I'm many episodes behind.

Enter Pinterest.

My friend, Kay, had actually pinned this project, but as she doesn't have a blog, that I know of, or an iPhone, so I can't iMessage her for free while I'm here, I don't know if she's tried this yet.

Originally from here.

It caught my eye for a few reasons. It involved wool, and after my friend knitted me the most fantastic wool circle scarf, I've been wanting to learn how to knit. I've tried teaching myself to no success, so I'm waiting for Alex to teach me. In the meantime, I figured something that involved wool would be a good introductory step. That might be a stretch. Secondly, it claimed to cut the drying time of laundry. My apartment dryer leaves much to be desired and takes about an hour and half to dry clothes. Normal clothes. Small loads. Hour and a half. Anything with a claim to cut down on that time is welcomed with open arms and seal claps. Those alternate, obviously, because you can't seal clap and keep your arms open.

Finding a skein of 100% wool yarn at JoAnn's turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected. I found it without asking for help, though, so it was a win. Win! A diet coke for your success!

I started by wrapping the yarn 20 times about three fingers positioned a bit like a shadow-puppet alligator.

I carefully removed the loop from my fingers and then wrapped the yarn 20 times around the middle to form a bow. I really think the bow is quite charming.

Then I lost all form and pretty shapes and smashed the yarn about in the formation of a yarn ball. To start, I wrapped any which way that I could to gather the pieces. As the yarn ball grew, I followed more of a patten and overlapped sections.

Henry grew more and more interested in my project as the skein of yarn rolled along the floor and her sister and cousin refused to play with her. What a creepy little lurker.

Once I had a yarn ball about two-inches in diameter, I cut the string and shoved the end under a few layers to hold it tight. It's not safe, but I used the scissors to jam it in there.

I made six yarns balls total; I sacrificed one to the cats, and kept five of various sizes, from two- to four-inches in diameter. I then stuffed them into a leg of my nylons, separating them with a piece of embroidery floss tied tight between them. It's so tight that you can't really see it below. I would recommend using old nylons for this. I was careful, but when cutting the embroidery floss after the washing and drying process, I nicked the nylons and we all know how well nylons hold up with holes.

 I threw the nylon-yarn-ball contraption into the washer with a load of towels. The original tutorial suggests washing these at the highest heat possible and drying at the highest heat possible. Unfortunately on Dad's English washer and dryer, there aren't many options. I did the best I could to heat up the water and heat, and I think it worked well enough. They came out the dryer felted, which I take to mean that the fibers morphed together a bit.

Then for the true test. I ran two similiar-sized loads on laundry - the first as a control load, the second with two dryer balls. Drum roll, please. Nothing happened. Womp womp wooomppp. The first load took 80 minutes to dry, and the second took maybe 75 minutes. I'm not giving up yet though - I'll follow up with a second test once I'm back in the states, and then, well, I guess I'll have Christmas presents for the cats ready to go.


  1. I did indeed make mine. I had the slight problem of one ball unrolling and causing an ungodly mess in my laundry after my first felting attempt. As soon as I re-roll it, I'm going to try again. I didn't notice a huge difference in drying time on the initial run through, but my clothing did smell pretty good (I put some grapefruit essential oil on my dryer balls). I'll let you know if they end up working better next time!

    1. I didn't have any oil, so nothing on that front. I'm really hoping these will work once I'm back in the states. I really want to like them.


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