This is from Handknit Holidays, by Melanie Falick – which if you don’t have it, is an excellent book. They’re really easy to do, actually. Easy practice for circular knitting.

Figure 1: This was the first one I made. I stuffed it with yarn bits. I need to buy some batting! (Because I can’t finish the rest of the balls I’ve made, but don’t tell anyone…) This is made with some cool overdyed yarn that we had for a community project last year (2007), with some navy acryllic that I had gotten at a garage sale (it’s really awful and scratchy, but you can’t tell on the ball).

Figure 2: This is another ball using the same yarn but a different pattern. I call it Windowpane, but I don’t know if it has another name. It’s a slip stitch pattern using two colors, a MC (navy) and CC (the overdye). Knitting in stockinette, 2 rows MC, 2 rows CC – but with the CC, knit 1, then slip 1, etc. (If you’re knitting flat, then on the row back you’d purl and slip.) Carry the color not in use up the side of the knitting. If knitting in the round, it helps to have a stitch marker to show the beginning of the round.

Figure 3: This is done with some of the acryllic I got at that garage sale. It’s really awful stuff, perfect for ornaments. It’s got a stitch pattern that didn’t work out very well, I tried to do some striping and such. The loops are crocheted chain stitch; but you could just as easily to a 2 stitch i-cord.

Figure 4: And the piece de resistance: do NOT use ugly goldenrod acryllic on the large ball. You can’t really tell it very well here, but I tried to use my hand to show perspective – this is the 5 inch ball. It’s horribly ugly. I did more patterning with it, using garter rows on the bottom and seed stitch in the center.

It was cute, though. When I finished it, I was on the train. I looked up at one point and realized I had an audience. (The train was packed for evening commute.) So I set it on my lap and stuffed it. The looks on the faces around me when they realized what it was made me laugh. Never underestimate the power of handicrafts to break the ice. NOBODY on the train in Chicago talks to each other, it’s just “not done.” But I had five or six people all interacting with me over this horrible, ugly, scratchy ball. It’s kind of growing on me; my ugly duckling ball of doom.

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