Friday, May 13, 2011

Puzzle Balls

Our grandson, Austin, just turned one year old. As a present, I decided to make a couple Patchwork Puzzle Balls according to Jenny Beyer's book that I purchased in 2005. (The book is autographed, so I know the year is certain.) A set of templates are available to go with the book, but I just traced the pattern in the back of the book and cut my own from template plastic.

Since the pieces are small, it's easy to come up with fabrics to make any of the balls. The biggest obstacle  I encountered is finding cotton stuffing. Jenny's instructions insist on cotton stuffing (instead of poly) because the cotton holds the circular shape better. I phoned four local big-box fabric and craft stores without success, so online ordering was needed.

Since I have three grandsons between the ages of 6 and 19 months, I thought I might as well make several of these puzzle balls. Nanas musn't show favorites, right?

The first two, 2-3/4" diameter balls, were sewn on the sewing machine. I wasn't entirely pleased with the inaccurate intersections, so I hand pieced the next two balls that were 5-3/4" and 6" in diameter. They have more precise Y intersections. Once again, I found hand piecing very satisfying. Making these seemed to take no time at all, and listening to a great audiobook - "Juliet" by Anne Fortier - made it even better.
These look pretty pitiful before the stuffing is added.

Stuffing a small, 2-3/4" diameter ball
larger balls - 6" and 5-3/4"
Six month-old Aesa liked the small ball which fit nicely in his little hand.

Birthday boy Austin, liked his too! He can easily throw the 2-3/4" diameter ball.

Of course, it fits nicely in the mouth too.

One of these puzzle balls, pieced from any of a variety of shapes, would make a nice newborn gift. Just print pertinent birth information onto Printed Treasures (paper-backed fabric) then cut one of the puzzle shapes, and sew into the ball.

In any case, making these has been a fun diversion from the usual quiltmaking. Linda


  1. Oh, how cute! And the quilted balls are cute as well (very big grin). I love the quilt that Aesa is enjoying. Nice job, Nana.

  2. The balls and the boys are really cute. When I once should get a Nana, I hope to remember these balls, a really perfect gift.

  3. Our focus certainly changes once we have grandchildren doesn't it!! The puzzle balls look fantastic, especially so when being held by a dear little hand!

  4. I love your puzzle balls- they are so special- My son received a knitted ball from a school friend when he was born (he is now 23) but we kept it because she knit it for him. Unfortunately she passed away not very long after that so it made the ball doubly special.
    Thanks for sharing,

  5. What beautiful babies, and what a great project. You make me want to make some for my grandchildren. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great gifts for little ones Linda in all those bright colours.
    Those little balls would be good for jugglers as well.



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