A dear friend wanted to do an ornament exchange at a Christmas party and this got the balls rolling, so to speak. The idea didn't actually pan out for that party, but it did get me inspired to make a few ornaments from a Vogue Knitting pattern I had seen...somewhere...hmmm... Yes, I found the pattern in the Holiday 2007 issue.
The balls are pretty quick knits, but still about 2 hours each. And that's plain and simple; no beading, special patterns or striping. I had some 3" styrofoam balls sitting around so I adapted the number of stitches and went to town. Ok, I did make a few changes. If you follow the link to the pattern, you'll notice that the knitting is not very smooth; it's all bunched up where it gathers at the top and bottom: this will never do! So 1. I used a crochet cast on so I could have live stitches and gather each stitch up (instead of every 4 stitches like the pattern called for); and 2. I ribbed for the first and last 5 rows so it would more naturally pull together. It makes the balls slightly bulkier there, but much smoother. A worthwhile trade off in my mind.
The first ball was done straight and simple with a red sparkly yarn I had left over from an aunt's "Red Hat Society" Hat I made her a few years ago. Observant readers will notice it's the same yarn I used for the Joy Pompom Hairband. Whatever you might say about its rather hideous appearance as a yarn, it performs beautifully as a Christmas ball.
With that success under my belt, I went a little fancier on the next one. You see, my friend had been rapsodizing about some chocolate brown Christmas balls she had seen in the store, and I happen to have some chocolate brown yarn interwoven with gold sparkles. (Left over from a beautiful Vogue pattern for a sleeveless sweater which turned out to flatter me not in the least.) And I also happen to have some leftover gold lame (yes the said same from the Christmas postcard). So I knit the pattern up but added a few rows of YOs [yarn overs] to make some peak-a-boo holes. Then I covered the styrofoam ball with strips of the lame pinned into place before covering the whole thing with the knitting. It all worked out great:
Next up was an attempt with some beads for sparkle. I needed some sock yarn which was all the excuse I needed to visit my favourite Red Purl. Amy had some sock yarn on sale so I chose 2 colours: the closest to red (really a taupe) and a variegated green. So far I got the beads strung on the taupe and a ball knitted up. The bead stripes aren't quite centered but I can pretend that was a design feature.
And this still leaves the green yarn to play with. Haven't quite gotten to it yet though. Too many Christmas parties and other activities!
Have fun decorating your place for the holidays!