For those of you who don’t know what a ‘magic ball’ is in relation to freeform knitting and/or crochet, it’s a ball made up of varying (or pre-determined) lengths of yarn which not only makes your project more portable for travel but can also create surprises in your finished fabric.
Just for fun I googled ‘magic ball’ and the first result on the list was this one where you get to ask questions of a….uh….ball! Yeah I know it’s weird…However since the sun was out I asked if it was going to rain and the answer was “you can rely on it”. And guess what? It started raining just minutes later! Then I googled ‘magic yarn ball’ and got completely different results….Most of the results describe a swap where the swappers hide little gifts inside the balls of yarn as they wind them. Never heard of that version before! But I digress…..
The reason I’m talking about ‘magic balls’ as they relate to freeform knitting and/or crochet is because members of my Ravelry and Yahoo Freeformation groups are participating in a Magic Ball Challenge.
I’m just experimenting at present because I quite often have “what if?” moments and the best way to answer myself is to play and experiment. Apart from wrist warmers I’m not sure if any of my explorations will result in an actual item but nonetheless it’s so far been an interesting experiment!
I’ve chosen to use the same colours for all the experiments as an experiment in itself, just to see how much the different techniques I’m using change the overall look of the fabrics.
Image #1 – Firstly, for the wrist warmers ( my #1 experiment) I used shortish lengths of yarns – anywhere between 30-40cms – and knotted them together leaving ends of approx 5cm(2.5″). I cast on 38 sts and continued knitting until they were the length I wanted. I left all the ends alone to be worn on the inside of the warmers as they create extra warmth without too much unnecessary bulk.
Magic Ball Experiment #1
Image #3 – Next I knitted a diagonal square. This time I didn’t want the ends hanging out so I used them to embroider French Knots over the surface.
Magic Ball Experiment #2
Image #3 – My next experiment is a sample of my “any which way knitting” technique – I’ve included the image of a one colour sample to illustrate directional changes as well as the simplicity of the stitches I use.
Single colour 'Any Which Way Knitting' technique
Image #4 is a sample using both knitting and crochet (in the ‘any which way” method). These last two pieces were not made using a magic ball.
Sample of normal "any which way knitting' with some crochet
Image #5 – The final image is my magic ball version of ‘any which way knitting’, again with the ends used to embroider french knots on the surface.
Sample with ends used to embroider French Knots
As you can see the difference between the last two images is quite striking. I expected there to be a difference of course since in the first piece I had total control as to when I changed colour whereas the colour changes in the 2nd piece were determined by the lengths of yarn in the magic ball. In this case the lengths varied from between 30cm(12″) and 40cm(17″)
I’m rather keen on the embroidered ‘any which way’ fabric and I expect this may grow to become a yoke for a vest or a jacket.
In the meantime there are more experiments to do!