As if organising the Crochet for Kidney Research UK day isn’t enough, I’ve also been working of a very interesting custom order I received on Etsy. A lady emailed me the photo below mid August and asked whether I would be able to recreate the crocheted balloons hanging from the ceiling*. Say what?! Crocheted balloons for a nursery. No pattern. Only a photo to go by. Challenge accepted!
Once we had both done a bit of thinking, squinting closely at the picture, Googled a lot and did some number crunching, we came up with a plan.
I would use spherical polystyrene balls in three sizes (200 mm, 250 mm and 290 mm) as the top of the balloons. About three-quarters of the way down I will stop following the lines of the sphere and in stead crochet to a point which will form the bottom part of the balloon. In stead of ribbons, I’ll crochet three crochet chains for each balloon. We decided to make each balloon as textured and dense as possible so that the white polystyrene won’t show through. I was given creative licence with the design for each balloon.
I had a plan. Now all I needed was the pattern. There isn’t a pattern for “crochet balloons to hang from a ceiling in a nursery”. Imagine that. What I did find was Crochet Spot’s tutorial for how to crochet a sphere. This turned out to be all I needed. It was perfect. I obviously had to make adjustments and modify my balloons as I went.
If you hover over the photos in the above gallery, you will see more text that explains the designs. I used a mix of (US) SC, HDC, bobbles, shells and a fun stitch called Crunchy Stitch. I found Crunchy stitch in the Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopaedia (there’s a link to the book on the right of the blog). Crunchy stitch is just alternating HDC and slip stitches. It gives a lovely texture.
You can see a short video of me crocheting the white balloon around the polystyrene ball here.
The white balloon was definitely the most difficult to make. I started off by using a DK yarn and spent a whole weekend trying to shape the top part, only to realise that I needed chunky yarn (to make it grow quicker, and to give me the texture I needed). As soon as I switched to the chunky yarn (which by the way has a lovely sheen that adds to the texture and looks great when the light falls on it) it was much easier. Getting the shaping right for the two smaller balloons also became easier. By the time I had reached the beige balloon I had this crochet balloon thing down!
The nitty-gritty of the crocheted balloons:
- Yarn: 4 balls of White, 3.5 balls of Cream and 2.25 balls of Beige Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton Chunky purchased at Loveknitting.com (If you shop at Loveknitting.com, just type in my name (Natasja King) in the space on the link asking if you’ve been “Referred by a friend?” in the checkout. If you do, you will receive a 15% discount on your first order!)
- Hook: 6 mm
- Finished sizes top to bottom: White: 41 cm, Cream: 39 cm, Beige: 36 cm
- Polystyrene spheres: 290 mm, 250 mm and 200 mm purchased at Poly Craft Supplies
Up up and away!
*The photo is from the Pottery Barn website. They couldn’t tell my client where to buy the crocheted balloons used in their catalogue photo, because it belongs to the person whose home the photo was taken in.