Fun with M***c Balls

pink magic yarn ballOK, so you know I don't like to use the "m" word when it comes to knitting, because KNITTING is not actually MAGIC.

But a few weeks ago, in my "what-I-want-to-knit-this-year" list, I mentioned a yarn-usage technique that is often known as the "magic ball".  Because this isn't actually a knitting technique so much as it is a clever way to use yarn, I decided I can more-or-less live with the "m" word in this case.

So last night, DH went to a Winterhawks game with a buddy, and I sat down with a basket o' yarn and got started on my very own mmmph ball.  And OOOOOH, lookit!  pink and sparkly and MOHAIR!  That's about 500 yards of fun right there.

Talk about a stash-busting technique!  I used something like 14 or 15 different yarns — including 4 different pink MOHAIRs — in all kinds of gauges and all shades of pink and coral — from a hair-thin carry-along in shiny raspberry, to a pale pink Deco ribbon.  (With the thinner yarns, I chose anywhere from 2 to 4 held together.)  Tie a simple overhand knot, pull out about 5 yards' worth of yarn, snip with the scissors and choose another yarn.  It doesn't take long to end up with a rather large loose pile on the floor!

I skeined mine on a niddy-noddy just to take the picture, but that was extra work — if you do this right next to your ball winder, you could just wind it straight from the pile.

magic yarn ball wound and knitted

My MB is monochromatic, which is usually a fail-safe way to go with something like this.  Since most of us have a favorite color, and probably have a lot of leftovers in and around that favorite color, that's a painless and low-cost way to try this out.  Another option would be to choose a variegated yarn as a starting point, and then choose yarns to go with it.

One important thing seemed to be to include a lot of texture — imagine this in mostly smooth wools, and it just won't have the same kind of impact.  Of course, I was basically trying to emulate Prism Yarn's "Wild Stuff" (and I think I succeeded!) — but if you're less of a floofy person, you could try to emulate their "Neat Stuff" instead.


But what to do with a magic ball once you have one?  Well, the pattern section of the Prism website has a lot of inspiration to look at.  A simple bias-knit garter st scarf, or something in feather and fan would also look fabulous.

You could also make your MB to a lighter gauge than I did, and use it held together with a single companion yarn throughout to tone it down a bit, if that's the effect you're going for.

I'm going to try making a little directionally-knitted shrug with it, from this article by Iris Schreir, via the Vogue Knitting website.  Between these pictures and the schematic in the article, I already have an inkling that it's going to turn out to have "sleeves" that are far more batwing than these photos appear (notice how the model's arms are pressed down in both pics? I'm pretty sure there's extra fabric stuffed in under there) but what the hey.  It looks like it will be interesting to knit, and I think it will show off my pink floofy handiwork pretty well!

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