Magic Yarn Balls

Today I’m making magic yarn balls.  Magic yarn balls are skeins of yarn with little gifts wrapped inside.  As you knit the yarn, treasures reveal themselves within.  They make wonderful gifts for knitters and crocheters but you don’t have to be a fiber artist to make one!  Here’s some examples of what they look like:

hoffmalayarnball floweryarnball

Yarn balls can be made from either one color yarn or comprised of mini skeins of various colors.  If you haven’t joined the mini skein revolution, I highly recommend you check out the Beekeeper’s Quilt or tinyowlknits charms.  Warning:  these patterns are extremely addictive!

If you’re making magic yarn balls for hexipuffs, you’ll want to measure out mini skeins in increments of 15 yards per puff for fingering weight yarn.  This can quickly be done by weight of the yarn or measuring length.  Personally, I don’t own a fiber or kitchen scale, so I grabbed a cereal box with which to measure.  If you have a yarn bowl or similar substitute, grab that too!  My box is 33 inches around (so a little short of 36 inches needed for yard) so (rounding up) I wrapped my yarn around it 17 times to make a slightly longer than 15 yards hexipuff mini skein.  Next I decided to make my skeins double length for two hexipuffs of each color, so I kept wrapping until I reached 34 wraps per skein.  Then using the instructions in this youtube video, I twisted the yarn into a mini hank for safe keeping.

cerealminiskeins2

After I measured out all my mini skeins, I collected some treats to include in my magic ball.  Treats can be all shapes and sizes.  Consider including tea bags, candy, notions, small amigurumi, magnets, keychains, fat quarters of fabric, knitting needles, crochet hooks, washi tape, etc.  I intentionally did not choose potentially melting treats that aren’t completely sealed such as foil wrapped chocolates or unpackaged lip balms because they could melt inside the ball and ruin the yarn.  (I live in Texas so shipped items are often exposed to extreme heat.)  I wrapped some of the treats in gift paper so they remain mysterious until my giftee finds them in the yarn.  Some treats I left unwrapped and poking outside the ball to tease my giftee with what’s to come.

Here are some examples of prizes I selected.

gifties

Also, did you know that a mini M&Ms candy container makes a wonderful nostepinne?  I don’t know who discovered this idea but it’s brilliant.  They’re great for the core of a magic yarn ball and also for making mini hanks into balls later.  Check out this youtube video.

mmnostpinne
Next, consider labeling the yarns you’re using to create your ball.  If you’re using a lot of different colors and brands, you may want to tie tags into the ball saying what each type of yarn is.  This is a nice touch especially if your giftee falls in love with a yarn and wants to shop for more of it later.  Or you could create a separate color key using a index card and a hole punch.  Tie yarn samples onto the card and label the types of yarn.

balllabelindexlabel

Now you’re ready to make a yarn ball!  I chose a treat and started wrapping the yarn around it.  I tried to wrap the yarn gently, not tightly, so I wouldn’t stretch it out.  As I wrapped, I added more treats wherever they seemed to fit.  You’ll be surprised how many gifts you can hide in one yarn ball.  Of course, the more yardage you include, the more gifts you can hide.  I think I fit about 20 small gifts in 300 yards of fingering weight yarn and could have easily included more.

wrapping

Once you’re done wrapping, consider decorating the outside of your magic yarn ball.  Adding flowers, ribbons, buttons, bows, decorative clips, furoshiki wrap, crochet Ditty Bag , etc. will create a finishing touch and also help hold your ball together.  Holding everything together is especially important if you’re shipping.  Speaking of shipping, do you know what makes an awesome packing material?  Polyfill!  Your crafty giftee can use it for hexipuffs or other projects.

yarnballs

Tah-Dah!  Now you’ve finished your magic yarn ball, you have a wonderful gift for the fiber geek in your life!

I’d like to thank my ravelry.com friends, Hoffmala and DollyFaceKnits, for their inspiration in making magic yarn balls. Hoffmala created the wonderful pink yarn ball pictured in the examples.

Got some other ideas on how to make magic yarn balls?  Please add your ideas in the comments!

March 2, 2014. Tags: , , , . Projects. 5 comments.

Ravellenic Games Finish Line

This was my first year to participate in the Ravellenic Games on ravelry.com. If you aren’t a raveler, these games are like NANOWRIMO and the Olympics combined. The goal is to challenge oneself and complete projects within the same time limit as the Olympics. I had some successes and some failures. I didn’t complete my most ambitious knit for the games, a BFF Cowl. I did however finish a couple of smaller projects including an adorable bunny from The Green Dragonfly and some sweet Travel Owls by Morning Cup of Jo. I was really surprised and honored to find my Rav Games bunny was featured on the Ravelry home page on February 24!

bunnyhomepage

RavGamesBunny

March 1, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Projects. 1 comment.

New Baby Yub Nub Free Crochet Pattern!

It’s finally here!  My new Baby Yub Nub free crochet pattern is available for download on Ravelry.com!!!

babystamp

January 27, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Crochet Pattern. 2 comments.

Coming Soon!

Okay, so this new Baby Yub Nub Scoodie crochet pattern is looooooong overdue, but coming soon, I promise!  And knitters, please don’t fret.  I haven’t forgotten you, so expect something coming (less) soon, but still in the works.

BabyEwok

January 17, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.

Thank you, Lion Brand!

Wow!  I am super flattered that Lion Brand Yarn featured my Yub Nub Scoodie pattern on their facebook page!

YubNubOnFBcut

January 16, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Stories. 3 comments.

Cookie Needle Book

Inspired by a notions swap, I baked up a cute little chocolate chip cookie needle book!  You could easily change the pattern to suit whatever flavor cookies you like:  chocolate sandwich cookies, sugar cookies, etc.

image

Supplies:
Worsted Weight Yarn, Small amounts of Tan and Brown
3.5 / E crochet hook
Felt
Glue
Sewing machine or hand sewing supplies

Pattern note:  2scinc means do 2 sc in the same stitch to increase by 1

Cookies (make 2):
Working in a spiral without joining, starting with tan:
Magic Loop
6 sc in loop (6 sc)
2scinc around (12 sc)
[sc, 2scinc] repeat around (18 sc)
[sc, sc, 2scinc] repeat around (24 sc)
[sc, sc, sc, 2scinc] repeat around (30 sc)
[sc, sc, sc, sc, 2scinc] repeat around (36 sc)
Finish Off.  Sew in ends.
Embroider chocolate chips using brown yarn.

image

Filling:
Using template, cut two pieces of felt.
Hand or machine sew two felts together along the center line.
Glue or sew outside felt pages to wrong side of cookie pieces.

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Voila!  Now you have a cookie needle book!

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August 10, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , . Crochet Pattern, Sewing. 3 comments.

Learning the lucet!

As a lover of fiber arts, I want to try it all!   Knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, dying, just to name a few!  This includes developing even more obscure talents, like making lucet cords.  What the heck is a lucet you might ask?  (I did!)  A lucet is a type of braiding fork that dates as far back as the viking era and produces a square cord, not completely dissimilar to its rounder cousin, the i-cord.  I started off with a lovely little lucet from StichDiva.com and this youtube video.

One interesting thing about lucet making is the tension isn’t controlled by the size of one’s lucet fork.  This is a lot different from a knitting or crocheting perspective, where the size of your needles or hook helps control the size of the stitches.  On a lucet, it’s how hard you pull the yarn during the braiding process that makes your cord tighter or looser.

Always keeping the cord centered between the two fork prongs, you have to pull to tension after each wrap of the yarn:

lucetpull

And depending how hard you pull, you end up with different results:

lucettension

So once you’ve made a lovely lucet cord, what do you do with it?  Well, it can be all kinds of things:  drawstrings, bracelets, necklaces, scarves, embroidery for costumes, a jump rope, a noose…. okay, maybe not those last two.  But basically, anywhere you might use an i-cord, you can use a lucet cord as well!

August 2, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Projects. 2 comments.

Catnip Squids

Check out my latest free ravelry pattern !  It’s a fun little toy for all the furry friends in your life.  These catnip squids are super easy and quick to make.  Plus, this is a great stash buster project for leftover bits of yarn.  My cats go crazy for their squirmy legs!

squid5

July 28, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , . Crochet Pattern. Leave a comment.

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot!

I’ve been running amok the last few months and have totally neglected my blog!  The good news is I’m bursting with loads of new crafty projects to share!

Uncertainly, I have entered the dark realm from whence I may never return, by which I mean sewing.  My yarn stash could already warrant its own zip code, so fabric is a very dangerous line to cross.  My Grandmother Mary tried unsuccessfully to teach me sewing as a child.  My dad encouraged me with the gift of a vintage sewing machine.  Still, the skill never truly stuck.  I can’t even sew a straight line.  But I have resolved to learn this year!

I needed a simple project to get me started and I found a wonderful tea wallet tutorial on Christy’s Creations blog.  It is certainly a beginner-proofed project and the instructions were so easy to follow!  Three fat quarters will make six of these pretty pocket-sized gifts.  Plus, they don’t just have to be for tea.  They also hold business cards, credit cards and even mini Moleskine notebooks.  Check out the lovely results:

teawallet

Any suggestions for other beginner sewing projects?  Perhaps pillow cases?

July 25, 2013. Sewing. 2 comments.

Cheshire Cat!

If you are as amigurumi obsessed as I am, you may have noticed the voyages of djonesgirl’s pirate cat around the internet on Craftster, Flickr, Pinterest and more.  Inspired by her adaptation, I decided to make one of my favorite characters of all time:  Wonderland’s Cheshire cat.  Here he is:

cheshirecatt

This pattern is from a Japanese book dubbed by English readers as “Japanese Amigurumi Collection Volume 2″.  It’s available via etsy.com or ebay.com.  The charts are fairly easy to follow if you have some previous ami making experience.  I love that it is a great “blank canvas” pattern that you can adapt to make into any kind of cat you want.

japaneseamibook

April 21, 2013. Tags: , , , . Projects. 1 comment.

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