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How to Create and Knit with Magic Ball Yarn

Create a Magic Ball and make magic with your yarn leftovers

Magic Ball yarn

Got yarn? Got a little too much yarn – especially partial balls and skeins?

Few knitters want to throw out perfectly good yarn, but sometimes we can really struggle to figure out what to do with those leftovers.

I don’t know about you, but it always seems to me like I never have enough yarn left over from one project to use it for another project. So frustrating!

So what can we do?

Well, if we want to be creative and try something unique and fun… maybe we can try making a Magic Ball of yarn!

The Magic Ball concept is pretty simple. In a nutshell, you’ll take multiple lengths of leftover yarn and join them together, one at a time. When you’re finished, you’ll have one big ball of yarn that you can use for a project.

When I first heard of this, I wondered how it could work. Does a Magic Ball project look like you threw everything including the kitchen sink into it?

It doesn’t have to! As it turns out, there is a method to the madness of making a Magic Ball. I’ve done copious research to find tips and tutorials for Magic Ball knitting. Read on!

Making a Magic Ball

Of course, to try Magic Ball knitting, you have to make a Magic Ball first. Below are several tutorials and tips for creating a Magic Ball.

How to Turn Yarn Scraps into a Magic Ball: This article provides a fantastic step-by-step method for converting scrap yarn into a Magic Ball. Click here for page 1, and here for page 2.

The Magic Ball Tutorial: This article is also quite detailed. Although it doesn’t provide step-by-step instructions like the first article, it does offer joining tips that are really helpful. Since joining is a significant part of Magic Ball creation, you’ll find this quite useful.

The Russian join tutorial is no longer available in the above post, but you can find an excellent video tutorial below.

For a video tutorial of the Magic Ball creation method, you can take a look at the Jimmy Beans Wool video below.

What to Make with Your Magic Ball

Once you have your Magic Ball, you’ll need to carefully consider what to make from it.

The first thing you’ll need to know is how much yardage you have. Now, before you think “oh NO, how am I going to figure THAT out??” — never fear, this handy tutorial is here to your rescue. This article will show you how to calculate the yardage (or meterage) of your yarn by weight. Hurray!

Please note that the following is an affiliate link – if you make a purchase after clicking, I may receive a commission. You, however, will pay nothing more. Thanks!

(Need a digital scale? Here’s a good one at a great price).

Ravelry actually has 28 free knitting patterns that are especially suited to Magic Ball knitting. You can find that collection here, if you like a lot of possible choices.

But if your head would spin from looking through 28 patterns, you can keep reading, as I’ve chosen the two most popular patterns each of hats, scarves, cowls, and shawls, and listed them below.

Magic Ball Hat
Magic Ball Hat
Photo: ImagiKnit

Magic Ball Yarn Knitting Patterns

1. Magic Scraps: Here’s an adorable beanie that comes in a variety of size options.

2. Magic Ball Hat: Though this hat was designed for an actual yarn called Magic Ball, the yarn is designed much the way Magic Balls are constructed, so this pattern should work nicely for your own Magic Ball.

Magic Ball Scarf Recipe
Magic Ball Scarf Recipe
Photo: Susan Mills

3. Magic Ball Scarf Recipe: This Classic Elite Yarns pattern allows you to create a diagonally-knit scarf from your own Magic Ball.

Feather & Fan Magic Ball Scarf
Feather & Fan Magic Ball Scarf
Photo: Susan Mills

4. Feather & Fan Magic Ball Scarf: Another Classic Elite Yarns pattern, this one offers the option of using a feather-and-fan stitch pattern to give even more interest to your Magic Ball knitting.

5. Magic Cowl: This pattern creates a large, cushy cowl that can be worn either long or wrapped around the neck a couple times.

Northern Lights shawl
Northern Lights
Photo: Liz H- 1968Dragon on Ravelry

6. Northern Lights: Yes, believe it or not, you can create this breathtaking shawl with Magic Ball yarn.

7. Magic Mohair Shawl: This rectangular shawl pattern is available in both English and Dutch. While the pattern calls for a particular yarn called “Magic Mohair,” you’ll find it works quite well with any fiber of Magic Ball yarn.

So if you’re looking for a fun way to use scrap yarn and create something unique, why not give Magic Ball Knitting a try?

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  1. You read my mind this morning. I’m planning a stash overhaul today, so this is perfect timing. Thank you for all your wonderful patterns and hints that you share.
    I have another pattern to share that is perfect when incorporating small amounts of multiple colors, but is probably best with yarns that are very similar in weight. It’s the old “Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf” pattern by Churchmouse. It’s not free, however there are lots of videos on YouTube that demo the linen stitch. And it’s possible to knit it in the round as well as flat. So hats can be made as well.

  2. Thanks for this great idea! I cannot wait to try it. I have so much ‘left over’ yarn!

  3. Hi! One of the “shoulds” I am tackling is my closet. It is filled with my deceased mother ‘s things, clothes that no longer fit me (lost 100 lbs.) And boxes, bags, backpacks, and drawers fill of yarn and knitting books and magazines. This method of taking care of the several large jars of leftovers is just the answer I needed. My main knitting project for this quarter is Socksforsoldiersinc.com. But to break up knitting on the small needles I knit squares for Linus and other charities. The magic balls will be perfect for those. Thanks again for your terrific newsletter. I appreciate all you do.

    1. You’re very welcome, Patricia! I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, but congratulations on losing the weight! And again, so glad you found this helpful. 🙂

  4. I’ve done a magic ball by using up anything and everything in a container of scraps, then I use that as my main yarn. Then using a solid color, whatever I have enough of (white, black or brown worked well), I knit a fair-aisle pattern. Instant variegated pattern work. I usually do it on a knitting machine, but it can be done by hand. I wish I had some pictures to show how nice it looked.

  5. Oh wow, your email today spoke right to my very soul. The point about decluttering staring you in the face and all the “shoulds.” I’ve been meaning to do magic ball for a while (just haven’t gotten around to it — see a theme?) so this was a good reminder, but mainly your comments about the tug-of-war just felt like such a release to me… how our crafting can make us happy AND guilty all at the same time in so many ways… Aghhh. Thank you for saying it and helping my own mind to get it out in the open.

    1. You’re very welcome, Carol! This email definitely felt like a “release” of sorts to me as well, so I’m glad it connected with you. 🙂

  6. Why didn’t I know about this before??!! I had done multi fibre scarves years ago but didn’t have the patience to continue sorting and matching all the yarn. This looks very intriguing, thank you