Gettin' Made: I've Got Big (Dryer) Balls

Crafty friends, I'm sure I'm not the only one out there that has a yarn stash that is slowly but surely resembling an episode of Hoarders.

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Like many of you, my party bucket of yarn has steadily gained momentum through fiber gifts from family and friends, yarn swaps with my knitting group, and amazing finds at thrift stores. To keep this pile from growing blob-style and taking over the house, I recently put myself on a yarn-buying moratorium until all (okay, most) of this stash is used up. It was a happy coincidence last week that I stumbled across the stash-buster of all stash-busting projects, the wool dryer ball.

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This wool dryer ball project is great on so many levels! It takes a bunch of that wool yarn that's just sitting in your craft area and puts it to use, it's quick and easy to do (and entails zero knitting or crochet know-how), and it's a green, all-natural fabric softener. Make up a few of these balls and keep em by your dryer, and you'll pretty much never need to buy a bottle of Downey or a box of dryer sheets again.

After the jump, check out the steps to making a set of dryer balls of your own! Not into this craft project? Click to read the rest of the article anyways, and have yourself a good snicker over how many times I use the word balls.

Making dryer balls is a three step process. Wind a core ball, wind a wool ball around that, then wash the balls to felt the wool. Each of the steps is crazy-easy, and the time involved to make one ball takes about 20 minutes (wash time excluded).

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For your core yarn, you want something that won't felt, or mat together when you wash it. Acrylic yarn is perfect for this step - I chose this Wool-Ease yarn for the centers of some of my balls. Don't be fooled by the Wool-Ease name! The fiber content of this yarn is about 80% acrylic and 20% yarn, so there's no way this stuff will felt in the wash. Using a synthetic yarn for the core is great because you can use less of your more expensive wool yarn to create a dryer ball, with the same end results.

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A few years ago for Christmas, I knitted a bunch of hats for friends and family members using various colors of Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn. It left me with a bunch of skeins of unused wool - bummer for the humongous pile of yarn, but great for this dryer ball project! You'll want a wool yarn, or other natural fiber that felts well, for the outer layer. When you get to the washing stage, the yarn fibers will mat together so the ball doesn't unravel. These fibers will also act as the natural fabric softener when you use the balls in the dryer - they'll rub up against your clothes all sexy-like and leave em fluffy and soft!

On the next page, let's get this ball started.

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