Last week, I was looking up some lacy ornament decorations on Ravelry, and came across the prettiest idea I’d seen in a really long time (sure, lots of things are pretty–gorgeous, even–but this one was quite innovative and really hit the creative juice button in my head). When I can, I will link to this particular entry, since I don’t remember the gal’s name who had put it together. Basically, she just needed a new lampshade for a pendant light that hangs over her bed, and couldn’t find any that she liked. She found the idea from a famous designer’s site (all of this info is in her post, btw) and linked to her inspirations.

I thought, “hmmm…why can’t I do that, too?” So, I began and I’m really loving the progress I’ve made! It’s going to end up being a Christmas gift for a cousin, but I can still post how I’m doing it, yet not post pics until after tomorrow night! ^_^

Here is what I did:

I picked a motif that can tessellate (yes, I know, it’s a big geometry word and I’m sure you’re thinking, “wow! That word sounds familiar, but what on earth does it mean? I sure wish I’d paid more attention in math class!” I assure you, dear readers, it’s simply a big word for something really simple), which means that a type of shape can repeat itself over and over again, all sides touching, without having to add other shapes to fill whatever shape is needed–much like a checkerboard; 3- and 4-sided shapes tend to tessellate the best, and others as well. Anyway, let’s get a bit away from the technical aspect of the geometry part of this. So, I found a 6-sided crochet motif (aka, a hexagon) which was in the shape of a star. Turns out, this shape works very well for spherical tessellation (I know, I know, I can hear you groaning already! Please bear with me though!), except in a couple spots, where I found a small square shaped pattern that fit quite nicely in the space. I followed the join-as-you-go method, carefully joining the motifs so that they would curve into a sphere (a lightly-inflated round balloon works nicely as a model. If you don’t have one, perhaps a child’s small playground ball or a bowl). Once I had half of the sphere completed, I placed it on my mold (the balloon) and spread Elmer’s Fabric Stiffener on it with a foam dauber-brush-thingy (you know, the kind generally used in stenciling). Tip: if using a balloon, you may want to cover it with plastic wrap or waxed paper. The balloon really sticks to the stiffener and it can get rather difficult to reshape your creation. Trust me; ask me how I know. 😉 Wipe off any excess stiffener and allow your project to dry for several hours. Once dry, pop the balloon and very carefully pull it away, as well as the plastic wrap/waxed paper.

Begin the second half much as you did the first, leaving off one motif. Once dry, join the two halves together where they would be joined otherwise, and add the stiffening agent just over the joining threads. Allow these to dry.

Now, here’s where you can get creative. With my completed project, I’m trying to locate a mini string of lights, like one would use on a miniature 18″ tabletop Christmas tree. Since my sphere is white, I need to look for the strand with white wires, if at all possible. I’m going to fasten the lights to the centers of the motifs, so that when it’s plugged in, my cousin has a cute ball of pretty lights she can hang in her room. You can also, like the original poster on Ravelry, use it for a shade on a pendant light, or for a table lamp. My original thought was to use it for a tree topper, but dh found an LED star he really liked instead.

If you don’t enjoy making the same motif over and over again, these lacy balls can be made using doilies, as the Ravelry poster did. You don’t even have to complete the doily, but on a round that consists of mostly chains you can join it to another doily or two. Be creative. I want to see what you come up with!

(Pics to follow…I promise! They just have to wait until after the holidays…)