Dryer Balls

I have been making dryer balls, which are an environmentally friendly alternative to dryer sheets. Dryer balls reduce static and absorb moisture resulting in less total drying time, without any harmful chemicals.

Felted wool dryer balls in one of my mom’s ceramic fish platters

I have seen dryer balls in plastic and wool. The plastic version has little spikes, resembling a covid-19 virus. Usually people use three or more in one dryer load.

Dryer balls in plastic and felted wool

There are various methods for making a dryer ball with wool fiber or wool yarn. You can wrap wool fiber into a ball with or without a core of a different non felting material, put it inside a nylon stocking, and felt it by rubbing it with soap and water, or in the washing machine. Another method is winding wool yarn into a ball and felting that. I experimented with knitting a ball, stuffing it with wool, and then felting it in the washing machine.

After many attempts and versions of a pattern that turned out too big, too small, too lumpy, or too floppy, I came up with a successful pattern that I could document and get consistent results.

Last fall I made some dryer balls and sold them at Tangles to Treasures in Fergus Falls. They were popular and sold as fast as I could make them in sets of three for $15.00, a price consistent with other wool dryer balls available for sale. Even though I have not spent any money on materials, one dryer ball takes a couple of hours to make which is not the best use of my time for the amount of money I make on it. Also I generally don’t like making the same thing over and over again. As it got closer to the holidays, I had other priorities, so I did not try to sell any more.

More wool dryer balls

I started to think that maybe I could sell the pattern instead of selling completed dryer balls. Over the winter I spent more time documenting what I was doing, tweaking the pattern, and researching how to sell a pattern on Ravelry.

Ravelry is an online community and database of projects, patterns and yarn (www.ravelry.com). Knitters and other yarn crafters use it to document their projects, search for patterns, look at examples of patterns made up in various yarns, or figure out what items have been made out of a particular yarn. Many patterns are available for sale on Ravelry. When I have a new knitting project in mind, Ravelry is my go-to place for browsing patterns and checking what they look like knit up. I also use it to keep a record of my projects.

This week I successfully listed my dryer ball pattern for sale on Ravelry for $1.00. I started out thinking I would sell it for $3.00, but found there were several other dryer ball patterns offered free of charge. I decided that listing it for $1.00 was a compromise. If no one wanted to pay that, then I was not any worse off than offering it for free. I had a sale about five minutes after it was listed. By the end of the day there were a total of four sales, but nothing since then. After the PayPal fee I net 67 cents per pattern sold…woo hoo. It will be my Caribou Coffee fun money. If you have a Ravelry account you can find my dryer ball pattern easily by searching the patterns for “dryer ball”.

Following are photos showing a dryer ball in progress and completed.

Getting started with the knitted outer layer
Switching to double pointed needles before beginning decreases
Decreasing while knitting in the round
Knitting complete
Wool batt used for stuffing
Wool batt rolled and stuffed into the knitted outer ball
With the slit closed up and ready for felting in the washing machine
After 2 loads in the washing machine and dryer

I may still knit and felt more dryer balls for sale. They are quick and mindless when I am in between other projects. It is satisfying to watch the transformation from yarn to knitted ball to felted ball, resulting in a useful product.

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

5 thoughts on “Dryer Balls

  1. Hi, Meg! Cool project and article! I’m familiar with Ravelry and have even bought a pattern or two there. Just yesterday I got a pattern (crochet a kitty couch!) from another place: e-patternscentral.com – maybe they would offer your pattern as another venue to try?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Meg you have the most analytic mind I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!😁. When I started reading today’s blog I thought…. oh I could do that (making the dryer balls, NOT writing a blog!)… but the more I read, I decided it’s more in my nature to BUY a set of balls; I just don’t have the patience. I currently have one set in use and another set unopened. My question is or rather, questionS ARE: how long does a set last and can they be “reconditioned” or should I toss the first set and open my second package?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I don’t know how long they will last. Are you saying the first set you bought are worn out? Are they wool? Maybe you could wrap some wool yarn around and felt that to had a new outside layer.

      Like

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