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.
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.
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.
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.
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.