Lace Balls

"Now, how on Earth did she do that?"

Free-standing knitted lace ball

"...and why?"

It started with the knitlist, as so many weird knitting ideas do. Knitters there were talking about making starched lace snowflakes to use as Christmas decorations. I had earlier fooled around with making the Yarnball, a simple garter stitch short-rowed stuffed ball, and I wondered if it would be possible to develop a knitted lace ball that would support itself. [And I wasn't the only one! For a different take on the stuffed yarnball, see what British lacemaker Deborah Robinson did with it for a book she's developing for the Young Lacemakers branch of the Lace Guild. I give you the Moon!]

Turns out it was! Here are the Lace Ball instructions for the basic version shown above. This prototype was knitted on size 2 (US) needles, in fingering (baby) weight cotton. The ball was done entirely in "k2, yo, k2tog" plus turns. My idea had been simply to knit the easiest lace pattern I could think of, to test the method for stiffening the ball. But as it turned out, this simple faggotting stitch lent itself perfectly to the short rowing process that I used.

Generic lace ball Mexican Insertion lace ball
Go to the Fancy Balls

But one thing led to another, and I had see how far I could take this idea. Above are some fancier patterns, shown in variegated thread. The one with the stockinette stitch band around the center demonstrates the "generic" pattern executed with 7 knit stitches in the center. This is the space where you can substitute your choice of lace insertion patterns from about 5 to 12 stitches wide. The other photo shows a version with the Mexican Lace insertion around the equator.

And one experiment that failed was the Glittery Balloon Cover. I still think decorating a balloon is a wonderful idea, but it needs some work!

Go to my Home Page
Or back to String and Air

Judy Gibson
Descanso, California
Email to jgibson (at) cts (dot) com
This page posted 9 June, 1997.