I’ve put those little fabric bags I made to good use. Here’s what I’m doing with them. I start out with 2 batts of raw alpaca fiber.
Each batt is one ounce of fiber, carded, but not washed. They are puffed up and sitting on a chair so you can visualize their size. I tear the first batt into a dozen or so strips, as if I were to spin it.
I start rolling the fiber into a ball, adding hot soapy water as I go. Wrapped as tightly as I can, the one ounce of fiber becomes about the size of a very squishy tennis ball. Each strip gets wrapped around the ball in a different direction than the previous strip so they will felt together.
I repeat the process with the second batt of fiber. Rolling it on the bubble wrap for a little agitation, it is about the size of grapefruit now. When both batts are completely wrapped onto the ball, I squish it a bunch and roll it around on the bubble wrap and rub it in my hands to get the outside layer felted to the point of it not coming apart when I pinch and pull on the fiber. Then the ball goes into its very own little bag.
When all 10 bags are filled with a ball, I close each tightly with a twist tie.
Then the bags all go into hot water in my washing machine. There is plenty of dish soap in the balls, so I don’t need to add soap. I start on the gentle cycle and let them agitate, then switch it over to the heavy duty cycle for more agitation. I stop and check that the twist ties have not come off, but I don’t need to worry about over-felting these. After they have finished the rinse cycle, I take the balls out of the bags. Sometimes there are some little fiber tails that did not get felted down, so I trim those off. The balls then go to the dryer.
The ball shrinks down a little more in the dryer and comes out about the size of a tennis ball again – a very heavy compact tennis ball.
There they are! All ready for a life-time of tumbling in your dryer. These are my dryer balls! Made of 100% alpaca fiber, no dyes, no scents, no chemicals to clog your lint trap, no need to use dryer sheets that end up in the landfill! Your clothes will dry faster (saving you money) and you won’t need fabric softener or dryer sheets (more savings) and you will even help save the environment! These will last forever.
I’ve been using 3 balls in a regular sized dryer load and it seems like my clothes are drying faster. I’ve got a few testers using them, too, so will have more results to report soon. The balls are even being tested with essential oil injected into the center to scent your clothes. They are $5 each and will soon be in my online store, but feel free to contact me if you want a set!