Wednesday, February 6, 2008

oh balls! - knit balls pattern

balls, balls, balls

Many years ago I saw the movie Impromptu, about the affair between George Sand and Frederic Chopin. With a cast of well known actors, beautiful locations and costuming, and an interesting story, I am a bit embarrassed to say that what I remember most is that "Oh Balls!" was the stand-out line of the movie for me.

A sphere is such a versatile shape to have in one's knitting repertoire. I use this ball pattern to make fruits, toys or something soft enough to throw at the television (oh like you haven't wanted to throw something at the tv before).

Oh Balls!

Do not reproduce this pattern elsewhere. This pattern is for personal use only. In other words, don't try to make money off of it.

Set of US size 7 double pointed needles
Worsted weight yarn
Stitch marker
Material for stuffing (yarn scraps, batting, plastic grocery bags, etc.)
Yarn needle, for weaving in ends

Cast on 6 sts and knit one row as for I-cord.
Divide sts equally among 3 dpns. Place stitch marker and begin to knit in the round.

Round 1: kfb all sts (12 sts)
Round 2: knit
Round 3: *k1, kfb; repeat from * (18 sts)
Round 4: knit
Round 5: *k2, kfb; repeat from * (24 sts)
Round 6: knit
Round 7: *k3, kfb; repeat from * (30 sts)
Round 8: knit
Round 9: *k4, kfb; repeat from * (36 sts)
Round 10: knit
Round 11: *k8, kfb; repeat from * (40 sts)
Rounds 12-14: knit
Round 15: *k8, k2tog; repeat from * (36 sts)
Round 16: knit
Round 17: *k4, k2tog; repeat from * (30 sts)
Round 18: knit
Round 19: *k3, k2tog; repeat from * (24 sts)
Round 20: knit
Round 21: *k2, k2tog; repeat from * (18 sts)
Round 22: knit

Stuff ball with yarn scraps, batting, etc.

Round 23: *k1, k2tog; repeat from * (12 sts)
Round 24: knit
Round 25: *k2tog; repeat from * (6 sts)

Cut yarn leaving a 6-inch tail. Thread needle with yarn tail, pull through remaining stitches and knot discreetly. Run needle down the center of ball and through to other side. Snip excess tail close to ball’s surface. Makes about a 2.5-inch diameter ball.


The size of the balls can be adjusted by using larger needles and chunkier yarn. You can also change the size by adding more increase, and corresponding decrease, rounds.

The striped ball is easily made by casting on and knitting rounds 1-10 with color 1, switching to color 2 for rounds 11-15 and changing to color 3 for rounds 16-25.

Pattern now available for download as a pdf file.

This pattern is now available in German (translated by Kalinumba, with my permission).

striped ball

More pictures at Flickr


Haley said...

thanks for a simple, but nice basic pattern.

Em-En said...

You're welcome! When I first wanted to knit a simple ball, I couldn't find any easy, free patterns, so I decided to make one up.

J Mac said...

Thanks for posting the pattern! Any stuffing hints? I can't seem to get the balls to come out looking like balls. :)

Em-En said...

You're most welcome J! Hmmm, stuffing hints? I prefer to stuff with yarn over batting and I like to almost overstuff. It might feel like you are knitting around a watermelon when you're closing up the ball, but it's the only way I've been able to get the nice roundness.

Dr. Hectic said...

THANKS! This is perfect! I was looking for something like this in order to make this.

Em-En said...

You're welcome doc! That is the best dressed owl I've ever seen. :)

busickhall said...

I am new to knitting and I've suddenly become obsessed with creating a toy that I can see in my mind but I needed a ball pattern to see if I could make it happen. Thank you so much!

Em-En said...

You're very welcome busickhall. I think it's great if the ball pattern can act as a springboard to making other creations. :)

ambertides said...

Thanks so much -- this pattern was exactly what I was looking for! Very well written and easy to understand.

Em-En said...

You're welcome ambertides. I'm glad the pattern was useful. :)

s. debra said...
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Em-En said...

Hi S. Debra.

I looked at the link that you provided. While that pattern and my pattern are both for knit balls, our patterns are different from one another.

I came up with my pattern independently. I'm sure there are other patterns available for knit balls by other people that were developed independently too.

I believe having the option of different patterns for similar objects can only benefit knitters, as it allows each person to use a pattern that best suits their particular style and tastes.

s. debra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Em-En said...

I'm glad you like the olives S. Debra. :)

Seeing the jar is a daily reminder for me to "think positive". As for selling them, I don't think I could. I learned a while ago that it is best for me to keep my hobbies as hobbies.

Kendra said...

what's the math for making it a little larger? i thought it was just increasing six stitches around, but on the last round it;s only four. i want to give it to a one-month-old, and they just seem too small to give to someone that little. - kendra

madhat87 said...

Thank you ^.^
I will try.

Casie said...

thanks for the pattern! do you know how i could make it a little larger? i feel like making a little pon and zi doll, and using this for the head, but i'm not sure 2.5 inches in diameter will be big enough

Jen said...

I love your pattern! I recently made these for a friend's son.

Louisa said...

Thanks for the pattern. My daughter had given my Mini poodle puppy a knitted cupcake that the puppy loves, and I wanted to be able to replace it when it gets chewed up. Perfect!

Jenny said...

I am so happy to have a ball pattern knit in the round with no seaming!

I made some for my 1 year old niece and she loved squeezing them and putting them in her mouth. Now I'm going to make some as Christmas ornaments. I love a quick, versatile pattern!

Britta said...

I haven't learned to knit in the round yet, and until I do I am doing this as a flat pattern and stitching it up, it works wonderfully, I've made a couple really cute things, I did a "Little Pea" and an owl in a sweater like the other poster.

The only change I made, since I'm doing it flat, is I purled all of the even "knit" rows so the stitch would still be stocking stitch.

Emz said...

I've been looking for a good starting point, for toys and so on. Making this ball has been educational, simple and fun; as soon as I had woven in the end I lobbed the ball at the TV. I need to make more... to throw at the TV. I think you've started something wonderful here. Thank you so very much.

thenibandquill said...

Thanks for the pattern! This will be a fun weekend project for me~

Talli-Anni said...
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Talli-Anni said...

Thanks a lot for the pattern! May I translate it into Estonian? I did it for myself, but may I post it in my blog ?

Marjorie Montague said...
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Marjorie Montague said...

what does kfb mean?

Heather said...

Thank you so much for this pattern!! I've used it over and over. I altered it today and used it to make an eyeball shaped kitty toy. It's a gift for a friend. It turned out awesome! Again, thanks so much!!

donotstaple said...

Thanks for the pattern. I made my own little "hot potato" based on it.

Chad Turner said...
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Hodgepodge Arty said...
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Hodgepodge Arty said...

thank you! enjoyed making lots of them:


katrinamlupin said...

Ah, much obliged! I craft with knit and crochet, and am presently designing a mother's prayer wreath like from Game of Thrones, but I'm making my dolls from knit. I can make amigurumi balls from crochet no problem, but realised I had no knitting pattern, heheh. Appreciate it!