Wool dryer balls are awesome. They are a great natural alternative to liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets. The harmful chemicals in commercial fabric softeners can cause central nervous system damage, among other potential horrors! Wool dryer balls soften your clothes and reduce static cling in your laundry without any harmful side affects (unless of course you’re allergic to wool, then I most definitely wouldn’t use them). Wool dryer balls are a very popular topic people are searching for, and most of the traffic on my blog have come here through search engines looking specifically for knit and crochet patterns to make them. In my wool dryer ball post, I did not include the pattern and I feel bad that I wasn’t helpful to the people coming here looking for them.
The patterns to these dryer balls have been bumping around in my head for years and it’s about time I get them out into to world.
One commenter in the wool dryer ball post suggested going to the big box craft stores with a coupon or during a sale and stocking up on Fisherman’s wool for making the dryer balls.
You’ll need to start your project by making a ball of yarn, wound very tightly. This is a fantastic project to use up leftovers in your yarn stash. Any 100% wool yarn will work, in any weight for the wound up ball that goes inside the knit or crochet pouch.
When the ball is 9 1/4 inches in circumference, thread the yarn tail onto a tapestry needle and secure the ball together. It doesn’t have to be seamed very much, just enough that it won’t be coming apart inside your knit or crochet felted dryer ball pouches.
I’ve done quite a bit of felting and I have found Knit Picks Wool of the Andes to be the best felting yarn ever. It felts up so easily, I swear this is what it was meant to do. I have had success with other brands of 100% wool, just make sure you aren’t using superwash wool.
Now, I’m going to be very direct and honest here. Felting is hard work! Some of the felting instructions I’ve read say something along the lines of, “Oh just throw your project in the washer and it will come out felted!” I have not found this to be true even once. I have a front load washer so felting is more of a challenge and I have no doubt it is easier in a top loading, agitating washer.
Here’s how I felted my dryer balls. First, I boiled them. I let them boil for a few minutes, then with tongs, plunged them into ice cold water. I put them back in the boiling pot of water for a few minutes, then once again, plunged them into ice cold water. I repeated this once more. I squeezed them out, put them in a mesh laundry bag, tied the slack, then put them in the washer on hot/ cold cotton cycle. I repeated this entire process (boiling and washing) 3 times before they were felted to my liking. My balls ended up being 10- 10.5 inches in circumference after all the felting. Both knit and crochet versions came out about the same size.
Another question I get is how many balls to use? I personally like 6-8 balls in my dryer at a time. I’ve heard of people using up to 12 and as few as 2. It’s really up to you!
The crochet pattern is easier and faster to make, but harder to felt. The knit pattern takes longer to make, but easier to felt. I am glad I got to do both. It was a really fun adventure.