I’ve been getting into watching videos by Arne & Carlos, two knitting mavens who live in Norway. They are famous for their balls –Christmas balls, that is. You can download free patterns for 24 miniballs from their blog here, which I did. I’ve been wanting to get into stranded color work, and this is a way to get my feet wet without diving in.
In order to do stranded color work, you follow a chart (that’s one above), which is a lot like a needlepoint pattern, which tells you which color to knit which stitch with. I’ve done needle point so there’s no learning curve there. The tricky bit is carrying two strands of yarn. The bit where you carry the yarn from one stitch of that color to the next stitch of that color is called a “float.” A basic rule of thumb is that you don’t want to carry a float for longer than 5-6 stitches. If you’ve got to carry it longer than that, you have to secure it, which is an art in itself. I’m lousy at floats, but then I’m just starting out.
I’m using a set of sock needles (five 6-inch long double pointed needles) from my ChiaoGoo sock set, which are really nice and come in a lovely zippered case. If you’re really heavy into sock knitting, I can recommend them. You get six sets of stainless steel needles (US sizes 0-3, or 2.0-3.25 mm) together with the carrying case.
I’ve made three balls so far and there’s one on the needles that I’m nearly finished with. These haven’t been stuffed yet. They do look more ball-like once they’ve been stuffed. You leave a tail at each end to sew them shut, and the tail at the top you use to crochet a chain loop to hang them with. I think I’ll make a couple more. They’ll be nice to give as tokens of appreciation to friends.
Yup. They’re addictive.
4 thoughts on “Having a Ball Making Balls”
These are lovely. Thanks for including the pattern link, I hope I have time to make some before Christmas!
Those really are cute. I suspect they take more concentration than tv knitting, though. That ‘backside’ image made me smile. It reminded me of what some of my early needlepoint looked like, until my mother took me in hand and made me start being more careful.
I’m a great fan of Arne and Carlos, I even have one of their books! They give some good advice on colourwork and how to control the tension, which is sometimes against what I can typically find elsewhere (for instance, they say that it doesn’t matter whether you keep one of the strands above the other, no colour should dominate, and if it does, it really is a tension problem which I tend to agree with) but I really trust their knowledge.
The balls look great!
They look like Chinese paper lanterns that have had a run in with Rudolph the Reindeer. 😉 They’re very pretty!
I love your needle case, too.