As a follow up to our really big crocheted ball, I made one out of plarn for the kids to play with outside.
If your new to plarn, it stands for plastic yarn, and is made from used grocery bags. Click here, to go back a few posts, and see how we make it.
Like our first ball, this one is about five feet in circumference. It weighs around eight pounds. And, although I didn't count each and every one of them, it took somewhere around 500 bags to make - 200 for the crocheting, and around 300 for stuffing. I probably could have stuffed in another 100, or so bags, just to make it really firm, but I ran out of bags, and decided to stop at good enough.
For a pattern, I expanded on a generic (meaning one I've seen several different places, so I don't think I'm breaking any copyrights to share it with you), ball pattern.
Using a 9mm, or N sized crochet hook, chain 2. Make 6 single crochets into the second chain from the hook, then start the rounds by crocheting 2 single crochets into each of the 6 single crochets, for a total of twelve stitches. Do not join the rounds.
Round two - crochet a single crochet into the first single crochet of round 1, then two single crochets in the next single crochet (sc). Repeat this around the round (six times total), for a total of 18 stitches.
Round three - crochet a sc in the first two sc's of round 2, and then two sc's in the next sc, repeating around the round, for a total of 24 stitches.
Round four - crochet a sc in the first three sc's of round 3, and then two sc's in the next sc, repeating around the round, for a total of 30 stitches.
Continue in this manner, increasing 6 stitches per round, until you reach the round where you crochet 22 sc's, and then the two sc's. The total stitches should be 138 around. Continue for three rounds of 138 sc's, without any increasing. Then, start decreasing by skipping over six stitches in each round where you doubled while inceasing (so in the first decreasing round make a sc in every sc, but skip stitches 22, 45, 68, 91, 114, and 137).
Continue decreasing six stitches per round, until you reach 12 stitches. Then, stuff the ball.
Finish decreasing by skipping every other stitch, until you are down to a single stitch, and tie off.
Decreasing this way, makes for a looser mesh on one side of the ball, than the other. This could be avoided by crocheting the two sides of the ball separately, and then sewing them together, but I didn't worry too much about it, because I stuffed the ball with whole bags, which stay put inside a looser mesh anyway.
Tips: When crocheting with plarn, it's best to keep things loose, it's not the most giving of materials. Also, I found that wearing thin gloves (a pair of the kid's winter ones), saved my hands a few callouses. If your bags are dirty, you might consider washing them before turning them into plarn, or stuffing. And, since plarn is plastic, take care to supervise young children, when they are playing with whatever you make out of it.
The kids kicked the ball around the yard for while, and since it wasn't stuffed completely full, it squished down into a nice bean bag type cushion, when they were done playing, and ready for a rest - one them had a seat anyway.
It's great to be a homeschooler.