I've been hooking up some Little Balls this week, and enjoying myself immensely. It's just the sort of quick, fun type of creativity that I love, especially at this time of year when there is added festive excitement to my makes.
The Little Balls are destined to become part of my crazy festive wreath, and I've become rather ridiculously over-excited by them. They are just so cute! I'm planning on stitching them in clusters of three, a bit like oversized berries, and the mere thought of it keeps making me smile like a loon.
I've had plenty of help with my Little Ball production here in the Attic. My trusty Chief Assistant has been on hand to perform his usual quality control checks on my yarns, as well as doing a bit of sampling himself. Oh, and photography too, yes, he is very keen on Product Photography. Actually, he has been a joy, and we've spent some wonderful, companionable afternoons sitting at the table being creative together. Me exclaiming over the impossible cuteness of my Little Balls, him chattering about his pen colours and what he is drawing (A beautiful piece entitled "Footprints in the Snow, with Orange, Green and Blue")
I love using these bowls to store my little itty bits of crochet, buttons and beads in. They are old Cath Kidston, bought for pence when a local shop had a clear out sale a few years ago, and I have four of them.
So. Little Balls.....I did start trying to make a photographic tutorial for them, but the light disappeared before I had chance to finish. They are very easy and straightforward though, so I thought I might just write out the pattern in case you feel compelled to fill your life with them (they would make a terrific garland don't you think?).
They are worked in Double Crochet (that's Single Crochet if you're in the US) in amigurumi style, ie the rounds are worked in a spiral as opposed to distinct start/stop rounds. Usually it's necessary to use a row marker when you work in this way, but as these balls are so little, I found I can do it just by counting. And shhhhhhhhhhhh-ing anyone who tries to talk to me while I'm counting.
To begin, chain 2. The first round is worked out of the first chain.
Round 1 :: work 6 dc into the first chain (count 6!)
Round 2 :: work 2dc into each dc of the first round (count 12!)
Rounds 3, 4 & 5 :: work 1 dc into each dc of the previous round, ie three rounds of 12 stitches (count 36! Keep counting! Shhhh anyone who tries to interrupt!)
At this point, your Little Ball should resemble a miniature beanie hat that sits on the end of your finger. This is where the Cute sets in.
Now STUFF!! Get a small bobble of toy stuffing or a blob of cotton wool and stuff it into your Little Ball. It will misbehave, it will try to escape. Use the end of your hook (the non hooky end) to push it into place. Be firm.
Round 6 :: (skip 1 stitch, dc into next stitch) 6 times. In other words, work 1 dc into every alternate stitch around. Watch your tension, keep your stitches nice and tight and you should find that the crochet gathers in nicely around the stuffing to leave a very small hole. Make a couple of slip stitches to close the hole completely, and finish off.
I finally finished the wreath last night (by that I mean the stripy cover is in place) so I can now begin to decorate it with all manor of woolly, sparkly goodness.
I am pretty darn excited about this whole wreath making thing, can you tell?
Edit to add :: for all these decs I'm using a 3.5mm hook with a fine dk weight merino wool. Most of the yarn is Rico Essentials Merino, but there is also some Lang Superfine Merino (the turquoise) and some snippets of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (the bright green and the red) x