Tiny Project #5: Felt Balls
We have an assortment of blocks, puzzles, cars, musical instruments and other toys for Amos, but most often he plays with household items. A spray bottle filled with water for squirting and misting outside, a potato masher and kitchen tongs for carrying random things around the living room, and a bicycle pump which he uses to “pump” wheels, tires, and pillows. He raids our kitchen drawers and cupboards for his favorite pots, bowls, and utensils and it is fun to see the creative ways he turns things into toys.
I’ve made Amos a few things to play with over the last couple of years, mostly soft and throw-able. Stuffed cloth blocks, bean bags, and now felt balls. Soft things that can be rolled, tossed, gathered, and occasionally thrown are nice to have available for all kinds of play, but especially when you can say if you want to throw something, you can throw this.
Instead of seeking out wool roving, I realized that I could make balls from the scrap wool that had been hibernating in my knitting basket for years. Most of the yarn wasn’t a color or weight that I really liked so I gave it new life with this project. I love being able to transform unwanted materials into something that is actually enjoyable. As long as it is wool, you can use scraps, tangles, or any kind of yarn.
These felt balls don’t take a long time or any excess water and soap. Wrap or scrunch your yarn into balls and use an old stocking or pair of tights to hold them in balls shapes. Toss them in with your load of laundry and you will soon have a new, soft, throw-able toy. Soft, colorful and cozy, they can also be used for cat toys, dryer balls, juggling, or playing catch indoors making them completely not essential, but still quite fun.
100% wool yarn
A jingle bell if you want your ball to rattle
A pair of stockings or nylon tights
Cut the legs off the tights so you two have long tubes.
Roll the yarn into a tight ball using a single color or many colors together (if you are using a bell, start rolling the yarn around it so it is hidden in the middle of the ball). If you have a very tangled ball of yarn, like I did, you can scrunch it into a ball shape and wrap some more yarn around it to keep it that way. Once your ball has reached the desired size (it will shrink a bit when felted) stuff it into one of the legs of the tights. Tie both ends to keep the yarn in a tight ball.
Continue making yarn balls until you have as many balls as you wish or you have filled both stocking legs. The next time you do a load of laundry with HOT water, put the yarn filled stockings in with your dirty clothes. Transfer them, along with your clothes, into the dryer to dry.
Once they have been washed and dried, remove them from the stockings. Depending on the type of yarn you use it may just look like a very tightly rolled ball of yarn or it make be hard to tell that it started out as a long strand. Some yarn doesn’t felt together easily so you may need to repeat the process to get all of the strands to stick together in a ball.