You can crochet a Christmas ball ornament two different ways. The first is to crochet lace pieces with crochet thread and attach them to a satin craft ball designed for ornament making. The second is to crochet a three-dimensional filigree ball, then harden it with fabric stiffener into a sphere shape. Both methods can incorporate beads, sequins or other embellishments into the design.
Using a Craft Ball
Satin balls for making your own ornaments are available at craft stores. They come in a variety of sizes, but the 3-inch size is commonly used for crochet projects because of the large surface area. You will need cotton crochet thread in bedspread weight (size 10) or smaller, and a no. 7 or smaller steel crochet hook that corresponds to the size of thread you choose. Satin balls are decorated in crochet by creating lace "caps" that sit on the tops of the ball. Start with a chain 2 row, then add 6 single crochet stitches into the second chain from the hook to create a circle, and work the cap in joined rounds. Increase the cap by 6 stitches each round, and place it on the ball to check the size. Use shell stitches or filet crochet by combining double crochet and chain stitches to extend the lace cap down the sides of the ball. Pins with round heads in silver, gold or pearl attach the crochet piece to the ball and add a decorative touch at the same time. If you have a pattern for crocheted snowflakes, those can also be used to decorate the satin ball. Drape the completed snowflake over the top of the ball, then pin the points of the snowflake to the ball's surface.
Crochet Filigree Ball
Begin the crocheted filigree ball the same as for decorating a craft ball by creating a small cap, but instead of fastening off when the top is a couple inches long, continue increasing and crocheting to make a circle that is the same width as the widest part of the Christmas ornament. Crochet in even rows without increasing to form a "cup" shape for the first half of the ornament. Try to work open stitches such as chain loops or shells so that when the ornament is finished, you can see through it. When you reach the middle of the ball (the equator) begin to work the pattern you've established backward, decreasing the stitches in the same manner as you increased them on the way down. When you reach the opposite end, you should be back down to 6 stitches. Fasten off and sew the circle on the opposite end closed.
To give the ornament a circular shape, insert a small balloon, such as the type used for making water balloons, into the center of the crochet design. Inflate it until it is large enough that the crochet stitches are pulled tightly across the balloon's surface to form a 3-D sphere. To keep this shape, submerge the balloon and the crochet in commercial or homemade fabric stiffener and saturate the thread. Homemade fabric stiffener is made by watering down white glue in a 1:1 ratio or by mixing and heating sugar and water in a 2:1 ratio. The sugar formula works better for filigree ornaments because there is less "webbing" when it dries. The ornament must dry for approximately one to three days after dipping. It is ready when the thread feels hard and dry to the touch. Pop the balloon and gently pull it out between the stitches.
Beads, sequins, ribbons, bows and glitter can be used to embellish a crochet Christmas ball. String beads or sequins on the thread before you crochet, then work them into the stitches as you crochet the Christmas ball to incorporate them into the work. Try not to add beads or sequins at any points where the pins will go if you will be attaching the crochet piece to a craft ball. Bows and ribbons, as well as a thread for hanging the ornament, can be attached to the top of the ornament. Use hot glue for this step. It has a stronger bond with crochet cotton and satin than white glue does and dries quickly. To add glitter, apply fabric stiffener to the crochet, and dust with glitter while the crochet is still wet.
- Satin Ball Splendor; Carol Allen; 1994
- CraftBits.com: Homemade White Glue Fabric Stiffener
- Stiffener Recipe (last page)
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