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. 6 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. 2 comments.