Let’s Knit a Ball Pit!

ANOTHER UPDATE! We have a printable flyer now available—you can download it via the Ravelry pattern page. This is an easy offline way to spread the word to your crafting communities. And we do thank you for helping spread the word!

UPDATE! Check out a chat with me and Tanya Weaver of AFCAids with the ladies of Cheers to Ewe on their Facebook Live show!

UPDATE! I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve arranged to donate all of the balls to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS after Vogue Knitting LIVE. And we have a new sponsor to thank for helping make this project possible: the lovely yarn shop Cheers To Ewe! located in Huntersville, NC!

I said in my last post that it would be fun to do a big crazy group project, so…

Mochimochi Land is going to Vogue Knitting LIVE in NYC this January, and we want to make a splash with a whole ball pit full of knitted mochimochi balls!

After Vogue Knitting LIVE, the balls will be donated to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, who will send them to kids in Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. (More on that here!)

To make this squishy cuddly fun possible, we need YOUR help: Please join us in knitting hundreds of colorful character balls! Follow the pattern below (there’s a circular and a flat version) to make as many balls as you can contribute, and mail them to this address by January 3rd, 2019:

Mochimochi Land
4044 N Lincoln Ave
Ste 407
Chicago, IL 60618-3038

If your package comes from somewhere outside the US, we want to thank you for your extra effort, so please include your email address for a discount code to the Mochimochi Shop!

(If you’re coming to Vogue Knitting LIVE NYC in person, you can also just bring your character balls with you!)

A big thank-you to our sponsor, Cheers To Ewe!

Things you’ll need

Yarn: Use any weight of colorful yarn! It can be variegated or have a funky texture or whatever, but we do want to keep it bright and happy. You’ll need less than 10 yards of yarn for one ball. (This is a great project for using up yarn scraps!) You’ll also need a small amount of contrasting-color yarn for eyes.

Needles: Use a needle that is small enough so that stuffing won’t show through the gaps between the stitches. (We recommend using size 5 US (3.75mm) needles with worsted-weight yarn, for example.)

Stuffing: We recommend polyester fiberfill, but stuffing can be anything lightweight, including yarn scraps.

You’ll also need a tapestry needle and scissors.

Please read!

• We want characters! Please make your ball into a character by embroidering eyes onto it! Don’t worry about doing it perfectly—wonky stitching just adds to your ball’s uniqueness and specialness.
• You can add details like arms, legs, hair, ears, etc by adding embellishments like I-cords. Make sure this is all attached—characters should have no loose parts, and nothing so big or dangly that it would tangle up our ball-pit fun.
• We want the ball pit to be totally soft, so no hard components, please. (No plastic eyes.)
• Crocheters are welcome to participate! There are several free ball patterns on Ravelry, like this one.
• We’re unable to return submissions once they’re incorporated into the ball pit, so your characters will be taking up permanent residence in Mochimochi Land. Make sure you say a proper goodbye before sending them off!
Please tag your character balls with #knitballpit —I’ll also be sharing submissions and updates and other fun stuff using that hashtag.

You can DOWNLOAD the pattern here: download now

Mochimochi Ball (circular version)

Cast on 6 stitches and distribute them onto a circular needle or 3 double-pointed needles to work in a round.
Rnd 1: [Kfb] 6 times (12 sts).
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: [Kfb] 12 times (24 sts).
Rnd 4: Knit.
Rnd 5: [Kfb, k3] 6 times (30 sts).
Rnds 6-16: Knit (11 rnds).
Rnd 17: [K2tog, k3] 6 times (24 sts).
Rnd 18: Knit.
Rnd 19: [K2tog] 12 times (12 sts).
Rnd 20: Knit.
Stuff the piece.
Rnd 21: [K2tog] 6 times (6 sts).
Break the yarn and draw it tightly through the stitches with a tapestry needle.
Weave in the loose ends.

With a contrasting color yarn, embroider eyes and any other features you like (a nose! a smile! some hair!).

Mochimochi Ball (flat version)

Cast on 8 stitches onto one needle using the backward loop method.
Row 1: k1, [kfb] 6 times, k1 (14 sts).
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: K1, [kfb] 12 times, k1 (26 sts).
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: K1, [kfb, k3] 6 times, k1 (32 sts).
Rows 6-16: Beginning with a purl stitch, work 11 rows of stockinette stitch.
Row 17: K1, [k2tog, k3] 6 times, k1 (26 sts).
Row 18: Purl.
Row 19: K1, [k2tog] 12 times, k1 (14 sts).
Row 20: Purl.
Row 21: [K2tog] 7 times (7 sts).
Break the yarn, leaving a tail of about 6 inches (15cm). and draw it tightly through the stitches, from right to left on the knit side of the piece, with a tapestry needle.

With the knit side facing out, use the tail you left on the piece to stitch together the seam. Use mattress stitch, making vertical stitches on the outside of the piece. Stuff the piece before finishing the seam. Then pull the yarn tightly to make the seam disappear.

Weave in the loose ends.

With a contrasting color yarn, embroider eyes and any other features you like (a nose! a smile! some hair!).

We can’t wait to receive all your squishy happy mochimochi balls!

16 thoughts on “Let’s Knit a Ball Pit!

  1. Yay, I’ve been looking for a project and this is it! Question: You say “no loose parts” so does this mean any limbs should be sewn on rather than I-cords that are just threaded through the bodies as in many of your patterns? Thanks and looking forward to making lots of these.

  2. This is sooo fabulous, Anna! I cannot wait to get knitting on these! I’m thinking some of them may need to go on “tour” of NYC, don’t you?!

  3. Suzette, good question! I just mean nothing that isn’t well attached to the ball, like a hat that isn’t stitched on or something. I-cord limbs going through the body should be pretty secure if the ends have been woven in a few times.

  4. This is so exciting! And the perfect project for fun variegated yarns which don’t translate into cute patterns… not that I have an entire stash of those or anything…..

  5. Knitting some this late night from Texas! Havent used these 2.5m double points in a while! Can they be crochet too? Hope to send along this coming week! Wonderful project! –

  6. Putting a smile on a childs face is what i love to see. Something so simple can make a day for a child thats suffering from an illness or other life situations. Thank you for this opportunity to pass on homemade love around the world.

  7. That’s a great question, Courtney! We are planning to clean the balls, and depending on what method we end up using, it will be best if everything is made of yarn and stuffing, no glue or paint.

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