Eco-Craft update, dryer balls

Homemade Dryer Ball Update

I originally posted about my homemade dryer balls in March and I’ve been using them ever since.  At first I wasn’t sure if they worked but now I am sold on them.  Almost always my items are dry when the dryer beeps.  I rarely need to add time and run a standard load in the dryer longer.  This wasn’t the case before I started using them.  I’ve also used less dryer sheets.  I still use them, but I’m definitely using less.  Static is not bad either but that is hard to gauge because I’ve been using them during the warmer months where the heat hasn’t been on much.  The true static test will be in December and January.  But, less time in the dryer results in less static so I’m anticipating less static this winter.

A couple months ago I made two more dryer balls out of t-shirt scraps wrapped in wool.  And I lost one of the original balls somewhere in the house.  I’m sure it will turn up eventually.

Because we do a ton of laundry, my dryer balls have taken a beating.  One in particular unraveled a good bit today so it is time to fix them.  As you can see, they have been well used.dryer balls

Four of the six balls needed fixing.  I wrapped the unraveling one up with some wool scraps and finished it and the others with 100% wool yarn wrapped really tight.  I tried to work the ends in a little better as a few came loose with the initial batch.  Then I washed them with a couple of loads of towels set to hot.  This time I did not place them in a lingerie bag.  They seemed to felt better and we are ready to do some more laundry!

homemade dryer balls with wool and yarn scraps

 

Hello-Fall-crochet-by-Darleen-Hopkins

Eco-Craft, Yarn Balls aka. Dryer Balls

How to make dryer balls for zero dollars!

I’ve been intrigued by dryer balls for awhile now.  Every once in awhile I’ll see a post about them and think to myself-I wonder if they work? I have no interest in purchasing plastic or rubber ones or using tennis balls in my dryer.  I can’t help but wonder if those types of dryer balls release toxins of some sort when exposed to heat.  My interest is to improve my laundry, naturally.  I would like to use less dryer sheets, not replace sheets with potentially more or different chemicals.  So I finally decided to give dryer balls a try when I came across some wool yarn and felted wool scraps in my stash.  I’m on a quest to reduce my stash. I thought this would be a good way to use up some of it and finally find out if 100% wool dryer balls actually work.  The yarn and felted sweater scraps are leftover from previous projects.  Therefore, my cost is $0.

Step 1: Gather up 100% wool scraps and 100% wool yarn.

yarnballs1

Felted wool scraps from various projects, felted wool “yarn” cut from a damaged wool sweater, and some random 100% yarn wool.

Step 2: Smush the scraps into a ball and then wrap with yarn.  Add more scraps and wrap with more yarn.  Repeat until the ball is the size you want.

yarnballs2

Step 3: Secure yarn.

yarnballs3

Step 4: Repeat until you have as many as you want or you run out of scraps.  I didn’t time myself but I think it took me about an hour to make all of these.

yarnballs4

Step 5: Felt them.  I placed them in a lingerie bag and washed them with my regular laundry for a couple of  loads.  Once they were felted enough where I didn’t think they would unravel, I took them out of the lingerie bag and washed them with the regular laundry for a couple more loads.  Last, I trimmed the few ends that came undone.

So DO THEY WORK?

I’ve heard claims that they save energy, reduce static, reduce dryer time, reduce wrinkles and make clothes softer.   If they did all of these, I would be ecstatic.  If they did one or two, I’d be happy.  I’ve been using them for over a month now and I’m pretty happy.  My clothes seem to be dry when the cycle is complete.  Before dryer balls, I often had to add time to the dryer because the clothes were still damp.  More time in the dryer will result in more static.  And, while I still have to use dryer sheets, I’m using one per load rather than two.  Yup, I’ve had to use two for awhile now.  My boys wear a lot of athletic, moisture wicking type clothing made out of synthetic materials.  These items tend to pick up static when in the dryer.  However, less time in the dryer = less static.  So, overall, I’m happy with the results.

I have a few more scraps so I may make one or two more.   If you have the materials, give it a try and let me know what you think.

PatchworkKitty-001

 

Eco-Craft, an up-cycled tea cozy.

I love herbal teas and I love to drink tea while at work.  It helps to keep me warm as my office building is really cold.  Add to that I’m usually cold when others are not and that my job is sedentary and you get a very cold me.  I have a space heater, an extra sweater and a throw blanket in my office.   I just recently purchased an electric tea kettle and I love it.   However, I found that I had to keep reheating the water for my second and third cups of tea.  So the crafty in me kicked in and I decided it was time to make a tea cozy.

I got up early Saturday morning and while having a cup of coffee with my husband, we heard a bang and the power went out.  Great.  No power = no water = no shower. Thankfully he was already ready for work so he left.  Without power I had nothing to do.  There was enough daylight coming in so I decided I’d start working on the tea cozy. Rummaging through a box of pre-felted wool sweaters saved for a throw rug I hope to eventually make, I found this really cute striped sweater.  cozy-sweater-1

I pinned the sweater together and cut around the arms and neck.  I forgot to take a photo of this step so I drew on the cut lines, below.   If you are making one, you would want to make sure you have everything pinned together first and make sure your cuts are as even as possible.

cozy-sweater-3.jpg

The cozy was looking like it was going to be too tall so I trimmed off the bottom ribbing.  The sweater was originally a cardigan so I opened it and traced the shape onto eco-fi felt to use as a liner.  This felt is very cool as it is made out of 100% recycled bottles!cozy-sweater-2

At this point the electric company showed up and determined the cause of our problem was a poor squirrel.  The little guy got on the transformer thingy and was electrocuted.  😦 They trimmed back the tree limbs that were too close to the pole and replaced the damaged part and our electric was back on in a jiffy.  Thanks guys!!!  FYI-save the squirrels and keep your tree limbs well trimmed near power poles.  I know I will from now on.

With the power back I was able to steam the sweater and the felt so they were nice and smooth.  I trimmed the edges of the both the sweater and the eco-fi felt so they were even then trimmed the liner so it was just a little bit smaller than the sweater.  The next step was to sew the two end pieces together and across the top.

Next I turned the sweater inside out and sewed the opening closed and across the top.  Then turned it right side out.  This step probably would have been a lot quicker if I used a sewing machine.  My sewing machine and I don’t always get along so I decided to hand sew it.

cozy-sweater-4Next, the liner was inserted into the sweater and sewn together along the bottom seam.  I decided to sew the ribbing over bottom edge of the cozy to add some stability.  Last, some random buttons where sewn where the cardigan button holes were and a little tab was added to the top.  Success! An adorable tea cozy made of recycled and re-purposed materials!  If I had thought ahead, I would have added the trim, tab and buttons before sewing together and before adding the liner.  This may have saved some time.  But I was making it up as I went along and it worked out fine.  The end result would have been the same.  It was a fun project for a lazy Saturday.  I tested it out with my stove top kettle and it works great! I can’t wait to use it at work.

cozy-sweater-5Happy crafting!!

#familyfun tic-tac-toe game board crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern Testing for Hope

Thank You Amazing Pattern Testers!

Whenever I’m ready to release a new pattern, I always tech edit and pattern test it.  There’s a great group on Ravelry where individuals volunteer to test patterns, for free.  They work through it and let me know if anything is confusing and could be worded better.  Or if stitch counts are wrong, if I missed a “ch 1 and turn” or even typos.  I usually ask my testers to list final yarn usage so I know if my amounts listed are accurate.  It’s a great group and everyone wins.  The testers get a lot of free patterns and the designers get a lot of free help from the very people who use the patterns.

When I was ready to test my Kissy! Kissy! Fish Face Hat, I tried something different.  With the help and blessing of the group’s moderator, Chris, I made an unusual request of the test that the tested hat be crocheted in chemo friendly yarn and then mailed to me to be donated to Halos of Hope for their Under the Sea Campaign for Atlanta area hospitals.  I wasn’t sure what to expect-postage is expensive and a lot of people don’t have the extra $$ for postage, but boy did this great group of ladies step up to the challenge.  I had 16 volunteers in a short period of time.  From the 16, I received 26 hats for donation!   What a great, giving group!

Kissy Fish Crochet Pattern by Darleen HopkinsCrochet Pattern Kissy Fish by Darleen HopkinsKissy Kissy Fish Face Crochet Pattern by Darleen HopkinsFish Hat crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsHats for Halos of Hope

Check out these amazing fish!  I included the 3 that I’ve made so far.  I’ve got a couple more fishy hats I plan to finish up this week (Stash Busting for Hope!).  Once they are done, I’ll be packing up all 31 hats to send to those brave young fighters.

Find out more about Halo’s Under the Sea Campaign.  It’s not too late to make a hat and get it in the mail to them.  I’m offering a 50% off coupon on my Ravelry site for the Kissy! Kissy! Fish Face Hat pattern.  Use coupon code “HOHFishFace” to save $2.25 on the pattern, then, apply the savings to your postage.  You’ll be so glad you did. : )

Coupon code expires 3/15/2013 midnight EST

Enjoy!

Buy 2 Get 1 Free on Ravelry, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins