Wool Dryer Balls and Printable Sewing Patterns
I finally had a chance to make a set of wool dryer balls. If you aren’t familiar with them, the idea is very similar to “toss a few tennis balls in the dryer”: the balls speed drying time and help fluff up the articles being dried. There’s a company that sells what they call “All Natural Dryer Balls”…made of PVC. And the worst thing you can do to a plastic as unstable and toxic as PVC? That’s right, heat it up! A quick search on the internet brings up several businesses selling wool dryer balls (many of them are WAHM (work-at-home-mom) businesses), as well as a couple of tutorials on making your own. (One example is here.) The idea is really simple: make a ball of wool yarn, “felt” it by washing in hot water to shrink the wool, and voila! Dryer balls! 🙂 Wool has several fantastic properties that make it an excellent choice for real natural dryer balls, the foremost being that wool smolders but does not ignite–no worries about catching everything in the dryer on fire if things get kinda hot 😉
Wool yarn (Paton’s Classic Wool, among other Paton’s brands) is on sale right now at Joann Fabrics for $4.00 a skein. I made my dryer balls a bit smaller than the tutorial I linked above says (mine are approximately 8″ in circumference after felting), and I was able to easily get two balls from one 3.5 oz skein of yarn. I bought two skeins, and I’m starting with a set of three balls, as well as making a felted ball (about 9″ in circumference) for the littles to play with. DangerGirl has declared it to be her ball 😉 So far I’ve done two loads (one diapers, one clothes) with the balls, and they do seem to have shortened the drying time. I’m hoping to have found the perfect, quick wash routine–especially for the diapers–with my homemade detergent and the dryer balls. We’ll see how it goes!
I’ve also been on a bit of a pattern-buying binge. I picked up a couple of patterns to make tops of myself, as well as a pattern for simple A-line dresses for DangerGirl. Last night, after putting in the hem on a wrap skirt I made (weeks and weeks ago!) I found myself wishing I had some “proper” skirt-wearing undies to wear with it (wrap skirts and brief-type undies don’t mix in windy locales!). And I’m not a big fan of “bike shorts” or the like. While looking for a good pattern (there is a serious lack of nice home sewing lingerie patterns) I came across the website Burda Style. The website features a patterns section where you can purchase certain Burda patterns as well as FREE patterns created by members. The patterns are available for download as a PDF to be printed and assembled at home or taken to a print shop to be printed on wide-format paper (or printed at home on wide-format paper, if you’re cool like that…) I ended up buying a “sleepwear” pattern for a cami and shorts that I think will work great. Now I just need the perfect fabric!