Wool dryer balls are my new fun thing. They reduce the drying time for clothes and help soften them–a nice natural, cheaper alternative to dryer sheets. I’ve seen these sell for $10-$12 a piece in little touristy shops on the coast, but you can make them yourself for so much cheaper.
I found cheap, non-spinning grade wool at a farmer’s market for about a dollar per pound and managed to get about 12 balls out of the pound. I used the yard sale roving I dyed for the outside color, but you could also use 100% wool yarn (as long as it’s not superwash).
For the core, wash the wool, brush out the vegetable matter, and form a dense ball about the size of your fist. Wrap it in the roving or yarn. Try to completely cover the core as the roving or yarn will give the ball a firmer structure. If you like, loosely needle felt shapes and designs on the outside of the ball.
Place the ball carefully into the toe of a nylon stocking and tie it shut (with a loop knot that’s easy to undo or using waste yarn you don’t mind cutting). If you’re using a long stocking, you can place the balls in the same sock, tying off between them.
Wash the balls in the hottest water your machine can offer with detergent. Use the longest soak and spin cycles for good measure. If your water doesn’t get that hot, you can add kettles of boiling water during the soak cycle. Dry in the dryer on high heat. Check for bare spots after the first cycle. I loosely used needle felting to fill in the gaps and then repeated the washing/drying process to firm the felting up.
Coming next: sacks for your woolly balls!