A few years ago I picked up some spiky plastic dryer balls because my slightly ageing dryer was taking longer to dry my clothes (winter in Oregon is usually very wet, making it impossible to line-dry clothing), and I had read that they would shorten the dry time while also reducing static. I used them until they broke apart, but never truly felt that they had helped in any way. At some point during that time, I began to see home-made dryer balls fashioned from wool yarn or felted wool on etsy and other places around the www.
Being the DIY girl that I am, I added wool dryer balls to my list of things to make. But it seemed that they were always made with wool yarn, of which I had none on hand, and I certainly didn't want to drive all the way to the city and spend lots of money on wool yarn just to throw it in the dryer. I really wanted an alternative way that would allow me to use materials on hand. Enter the Resweater blog and method of making dryer balls from old felted wool sweaters. The perfect solution for using up the stack of moth-eaten wool sweaters that I just couldn't bear to part with because I knew they would be good for SOMETHING! I had already made a pair of mittens, a winter hat for Little Miss, and a pair of slippers from them, but still had more wooly goodness leftover.
So, on Saturday, I set to work and used up most of three pre-felted wool sweaters to make these:
They turned out really, really big, but the kids loved playing with them for the brief time before this mean Mama made them throw them in the dryer, but I think they will work really well because of their larger size. I'll let you know... today is laundry day!
In the meantime, Father and Son had disappeared out to the shop. It was a rainy Saturday morning, perfect for doing little indoor projects. About the time I put my finishing stitches in dryer ball number 3, they came to the house with this:
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you will know that my Boy, now 4 years old, has been Thomas obsessed since he was 18 months old. That very first set that I bought for him was with much hesitation on my part, not sure that the money investment for a bit of plastic was worth it, but that set might as well have been gold, for he has been playing with it almost non-stop ever since. And of course, his set has continued to grow with each passing Birthday and Christmas celebration. And our wonderfully consumer-driven society continues to produce and market more, more, more. Check out the pages of Take Along Thomas items available on amazon. This Coal Loader Playset has been the most recent object of desire and the inspiration for his new home-made version.
If you do it just right, you can drop a barrel down through the funnel and...
it lands right in the coal car!
Something tells me he likes the made-with-love-by-Daddy-with-my-help-from-scrap-wood version better than if we had just paid money for colorful plastic.