I Got Balls

I needed to wash a down jacket that said it should be put in the dryer with a clean tennis ball. Having no tennis balls (clean or dirty) other than the ones hanging from the ceiling of my garage as markers of where to park, I decided on plan B.

Wool dryer balls.

Supposedly they not only help soften the clothes and reduce static, but they also reduce the necessary drying time by absorbing some of the moisture.

Wool Dryer Balls

There were two free patterns on Ravelry, both for making a knitted cover to go over a separate core of yarn, but neither one gave a lot of information about them (like finished size), and each had only one project (one with no photos). Both used worsted weight wool – one on US 7 needles, and one on US 10. I decided, of course, to make one of each.

After making them, I discovered a tutorial for just felting a ball of wool yarn to use as a dryer ball (no knitted cover). So of course, I made one of those, too.

I ended up with a small, medium and large, ranging from 2.5″ to 3″ in diameter. Papa ball, mama ball, and baby ball. ;-D

The biggest one is probably bigger than necessary (yes, I hear you laughing), unless being used to fluff down jackets or pillows, but it worked great for fluffing my down jacket. I’m sure that if I’d made the core a little smaller, the jacket would have felted down more, so the pattern is probably fine for anything from 2.5″ to 3″ cores. The smallest one stretched pretty thinly around the core as it felted, so it’s probably best for a core that is a little less than 2.5″.

The one that is just a ball of wool, without a cover, is perfectly fine – a cover isn’t really needed unless you prefer the look. I guess it would be good for using various scraps of yarn, but making matching covers so they all looked the same. The cover would also reduce any chance of one of the strands of yarn from getting snagged and coming loose.

Wool Dryer Balls

Large Gray Dryer Ball (with jacket): Dryer Ball pattern by Ashley King
Small Gray Dryer Ball (with jacket): Dryer Balls pattern by Meredith McFarland
Gold Dryer Ball (just a ball of yarn): Wool Dryer Balls tutorial by Jillee

For best absorbency, you should probably use 100% wool for the core. But both of the patterns for the knitted jackets call for using all or part acrylic for the core. I think if you want to use acrylic, it would be best to use it as only part of the core, as indicated in Ashley King’s pattern. For example, use acrylic to make the core about half the desired size, then use wool to get to the size you want.

After making these, I think that when I make more, I’ll try to have the finished size be between 2.5 and 2.75 inches (about 8 to 9 inches in circumference). About 2 ounces of worsted-weight wool wrapped tightly into a ball was just about right. If I make jackets, I’ll probably either make the larger one and let it shrink to fit, or make the smaller one but add 2 rows to the center between the increases and decreases so it will be just a bit bigger (or cast on 8 to start, instead of 6).


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12 Responses to I Got Balls

  1. kitten says:

    I still want someone to try those in AZ in the dry season and tell me whether or not the static in the dryer is bad enough to cause arcs.

  2. Cookie says:

    Dude! You have 3 balls!

  3. Chris says:

    LOL at Cookie’s comment!

  4. Stacey says:

    LOL! Do you have the biggest balls of them all? I should make some for my mom for her feather bed and comforters. Thanks for the idea

  5. margene says:

    Um, erg…awesome!

  6. Caroline aka FiberTribe says:

    Yes, you do! And brass ovaries also, darlin’!

  7. Susan says:

    LOL – Funny comments today!
    Great idea, too. Thanks.

  8. Kym says:

    Cool. Very . . . ballsy. . .

  9. jill says:

    What Kym said.

  10. Pingback: Now with more balls! | CabledSheep

  11. Carrie#K says:

    Oh, is THAT what those balls are for! I saw them on Ravelry.
    Cute kitties! Love the nice cat bed on your fence.

  12. Ashley King says:

    Thanks for sharing my pattern! I think mine turned out so big because I used a full 3oz in the core lol
    I experimented a tiny bit with this and ended up using a little bit less since the casing usually ends up being about .5oz
    Love the honesty, it helps me improve my work!

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