Christmas DIY: Sweater Ball Ornaments

Sweater Ball Ornaments
I think a good cable knit sweater just might be one of the most beautiful things two hands can make. I don’t really find them incredibly flattering, at least on my figure, but the intricacies of the patterns are something that I could stare at forever. Cable knit is also really time consuming, and if you want to make it look like a traditional ball ornament, it’s even more so as you try and coax a flat textile into the shape of a sphere. Which is where my trusty thrift store came in. For a few dollars I could rescue a cable knit sweater from the rack of used clothes and in a few minutes – instead of a couple of days – I can have my ball ornament swathed in beautiful texture.

Sweater Ball Ornament Tutorial Step 1
I just used the sleeves for this project, I was saving the body of the sweater for an upcoming ornament, but it made it really easy to get the size right. I just shoved a styrofoam ball inside the sleeve, pinned one end to the top, and cut the other end long enough for it to be pinned to the bottom. The part of the sleeve right above the cuff was the perfect size and I didn’t even have to make adjustments, but further up the shoulder it got wider so I pinned the sides in where they met on the ball and cut off the extra where the sleeves seam was.

Sweater Ball Ornament Tutorial Step 2
To make this fit your ball, you’ll need to cut off the corners of the square sleeve and finesse it to fit around the round ball. I found the neatest way to do this was to make three lines, one out of the side seam, and two more dividing the ball into thirds. Pinch the extra sweater material and cut it right off, pinning as you go to keep the sweater from unraveling or shifting around.

Sweater Ball Ornament Tutorial Step 3
Keep cutting off the corners and pinning in place until you have the whole ball covered. To make sure that I was leaving myself enough room to cover any raw edges, I pinned one side over the top of the other. This set me up so that my handstitching could be extra neat.

Sweater Ball Ornament Tutorial Step 4
Use a needle and thread to handstitch the edges down. To keep those raw edges in check I did a little needleturning – where I used the point of my needle to tuck the ends under as I sewed them in place. The needle can make a much cleaner fold than you could with your fingers, and catch any little thread that wants to go rogue.

Sweater Ball Ornament Tutorial Step 5
When your seams are all sewed down, sew on a loop of coordinating yarn to hang your ornament from.

Sweater Ball Ornament Tutorial
My first ball was a little messy for my liking, but that’s the nice thing about using thrift store sweaters. If you screw up you’re not out much. I just cut that piece of sweater off and went back for more. And then the next time I tried I figured out a better way to stitch things in place and I was much much happier. Now I get to enjoy all the beautiful texture these ornaments will bring to my tree, and I get to feel righteous about taking a shortcut. I saved a sweater.

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