Yeah, well, they're not snowflakes, but if you frequent the holiday section of the pattern display, you've probably been tempted by patterns for these cool hollow crocheted Christmas balls. Most patterns for crocheted coverings for satin or glass ball ornaments also work as hollow crocheted ornaments. Choose ones that surround the ornament, not the kind that are like little hats that need to be pinned or glued to the ornament. Crochet them up and just connect the parts together without putting the ball inside. Also, many snowflakes can be transformed into hollow round ornaments. Crochet 2 snowflakes, and connect them together at the snowflake's 6 points. I think the easiest way to do that is to make the first snowflake, then as you crochet the outer points of the second snowflake, sl st or sc each of its 6 points to the corresponding point on the first snowflake. Make sure that the right side of each snowflake is pointing outward!
Stiffening Ball Ornaments
For 3-D items like hollow ball-shaped crocheted ornaments, I've found that thick starch (as opposed to commercial stiffeners or glue) works best. I use twice as much starch to water as I would for snowflakes, which would turn out to be about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch cooked into 1/2 cup of water. That's enough starch that it never gets quite transparent when you cook it., and it's so thick that you have to kind of massage it into the crocheting, But it makes my balls so sturdy I can bounce them off the walls. Literally. And repeatedly. Quite impressive, actually. Read about cooking starch on my stiffeners page.
If you use white glue, dilute it half as much as you would for snowflakes (which is not very dilute at all). The problem with this is that if you let the glue be strong enough for the ornaments to be good and hard, the concentration of glue makes them yellow faster than I like. I've noticed the same problem (perhaps even worse) with commercial stiffener, with the added problem that it never makes them stiff enough. I recommend starch over the other options.
Blocking Ball Ornaments
After your ball ornaments are full of stiffener, you can inflate them using balloons, the little kind they call water-bombs. Inconveniently for us crocheters, these can be more readily available in summer than during Christmas season (stock up next year!). Poke the non-open end of the balloon into the ornament through one of the holes, leaving the part where you blow it up sticking out. Hopefully the part where you're going to blow is not now covered with starch or stiffener, but probably it is... When you blow up the balloon, you'll notice that most balloons want to be kind of pear shaped when inflated . To make them more round, it helps to push the knot as far forward as possible when you tie them off (easier said than done). It also helps to make the pear shape less noticeable if you position the end you blow into strategically, sometimes a the top, sometimes in the middle of a fancy motif (strategy varies, but you learn...). When the crocheting is completely completely completely (!!!) dry, just pop the balloon and pull out its remains. Voila, a round ornament. I think these are really cool!
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© Copyright 1997, 2000 Noël V. Nevins