The Weston A. Price Way

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Friendly Little Orb Revolution

"Love me tender, love me sweet...Never let me go..."
 This week, I learned about these fascinating things called dryer balls. I liked them so much, I wondered if I might make my own. I found out I could. So, I did. An entire wooden bowl full. They are beautiful and made of 100% wool. I love my little wooly balls and what they do so much that I thought I might try and sell them on Etsy. Then, I found out that Etsy already has about 20 people, or more, selling them. Some of them look like Michaelangelo got hold of them.

Okay, so I'm a little behind.

So, I probably won't be selling my beauties on Etsy, but if and when I do sell them...EVEN if I give them away, I'm going to come up with a different name than the one I hear used most frequently, "Wooly Balls". I know that gets the giggles, but these things are so marvelous, I would prefer a more marvelous name. (I'm a little Anne of Green Gables-y when it comes to naming things.) I have already thought of a name, in fact, but since I haven't yet decided whether or not I'm going to sell them, I can't tell you. Sorry. I know you're dying to know.

For those of you who may not have heard of them, these are amazing balls usually a bit larger than a tennis ball used in the dryer instead of dryer sheets. Here are their benefits:

They last a very, very long time. The shortest time I've read is 5 years. The longest is forever - as in a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.

Made of chemically NON-TREATED WOOL, they are hypo-allergenic and unless infused (some are), they are perfume-free, too.

They serve triple duty:
~Baby/Child's toy.
~Coffee table, or anywhere else, artwork. Because they are round and beautiful and textured and soft.

In fact, they'd make great conversation pieces. Put them on the coffee table in a basket or bowl with nothing else. Ask your friends to try to resist picking one up and holding it. As your time together goes on, watch. They will not be able to resist.


Because everyone loves things that are round and beautiful and textured and soft.

They might serve in yet another way if used as a tension reliever/forearm muscle builder. (Squish, release, squish, release.) My six-year old granddaughter loves them and had one in her hand every time I looked at her today. She loved it's squishiness and plush softness. If I hadn't been holding another grandchild, (teething, I think), who is delightfully squishy all by herself, I may have wanted to hold and squish them through the day myself...I can see them as being somewhat addictive that way.

But getting back to their main purpose...

Using at least 3 in the dryer, they shorten drying time. Claims I've found have been from 10-25 percent. I tried them today and it's absolutely true.

They can be infused interiorly with scents from herbs like lavender. (The scent will, however, eventually go away).  Another method I read of was to inject their centers with scented oil. I don't know how, but would be willing to experiment with my own and tell others how to do it to their own if they opted for scented. Part of the reason they're so popular, however, is that they are unscented and chemical-free for the allergy-prone. For myself, I would love to try pipe tobacco essence. If I liked it and sold it, I'd call it, "Grandpa O's Coat". I think it would go over well with the guys...and wouldn't it be divine on winter blankets? Well, for me, it would.

But I ramble yet again...

They soften laundry.

They reduce static. (BTW, did you know that most dryer static can be eliminated by not overdrying?)

If not made from freshly bought yarn, they are up-cycled from wool products...again, untreated. (They won't felt properly if not untreated wool.)

They do cost a little upfront. I recommend going to Etsy because at other sites online, I've seen them for $9./each, while they can be found at Etsy for less and generally, in sets of at least two. Remember, three are recommended for best results, (more are even better). The 'Michaelangelo' type I spoke of earlier are usually a bit more. I'd say they're worth it if you're going to let them double as deco.

Regardless, they are worth the cost because according to some sellers, you'll never need to buy dryer sheets again. According to others, not for at least five years. Either way, that's a money-saving situation. Couple that with the decreased cost of running the dryer due to shortened drying time, and now we're looking at a thoroughly thrifty, health- and eco-conscious brainiac kind of idea.

Yes, eco-conscious because if for any reason, and there are none I can currently think of, they should someday not be useful...they are biodegradable.

They are so sweet, they won't even hurt your baby's behind, so use them in the diaper load, too.

In fact, the only caution I could find about them at all was from a dryer repairman. He said to be sure to check the lint filter after every load, and every now and then, use a damp cloth to wipe out the dryer's interior. Apparently natural fibers tend to 'shed' a little more than synthetic. Still, his advice is for something we should be doing anyway.

And the only negative I read about was something I would think any of us who've ever worn a favorite wool sweater over and over again would find a norm...pilling. What do we do to those favorite pilling wool sweaters? We shave them.  What do we do when/if our felted wool dryer balls pill? Shave them.

They are so cozy and homey. Can you see a world where dryer sheets are replaced with these friendly little orbs? I think I can.

It's a dryer ball revolution, y'all. ;)

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