Saturday, February 4, 2012

Stash Busting- Nesting Balls Tutorial

In my attempt to make the King Quilt, I have been producing a ton of tiny little scraps of fabric and bits of thread. I knew they could be useful for something, so I have been piling them on the kitchen table as I cut and sew. You can see the beginning of the pile in the first picture on this post

When I finally went to clean the table off today, a small child could have hidden in the scrap pile.

I also cleaned underneath the kitchen sink today and discovered an old mesh potato bag. Yup, there was a light bulb moment. I remembered seeing somewhere that someone had stuffed a bunch of scraps and what not into a mesh bag and hung it up for the birds to use as nesting material. I don't really know if there is a proper name for these things, but I have been calling them nesting balls.

So, here is how I made them.

Crochet hook, safety pin, or large eyed needle
Yarn, ribbon, twine, rope, etc.
Potato or similar bag
Lots of fabric, yarn, and thread scraps

Step 1.  Cut the potato bag open so it makes a rectangle of "fabric." (Taking pictures was kinda an after thought, so I don't have the full bag). Cut the bag down to rectangles or squares . Mine were about 6" x 4", but play around till you find a size that works for you. 
*Quick tip: Squares will make circle balls, while rectangles will make more of a heart shape.*

Step 2. Weave a length of yarn through the holes all the way around one square of fabric. I used a crochet hook, but a safety pin or needle will work also. Really, if you are patient enough, you could probably do the weaving with just your hands. I am not. The crochet hook makes it go quickly. 

Step 3. Once you are all the way around, cut the yarn leaving a really long tail. Next, make a loop (I used a slip knot) leaving a bit of a tail. Next, slide the long tail through your loop. I suck at taking pictures of the steps. 

 Step 4. Pull the long tail so that the bag starts to tighten up a bit. 

Step 5. Start Stuffing! Keep going until you feel that you have an adequate amount of scraps in the ball. 

Step 6. Pull the long tail of yarn until the ball is all scrunched up tight. Tie a knot using the little tail from the loop. Now, wait anxiously for Spring so that you can hang these up for the birdies! 

I ran out of potato bag long before I ran out of scarps. So, out came my vinyl record bowl of leftover yarn bowls and my gigantic crochet hook (I think it's a Q), and I whipped up a few rectangles. Yeah, I probably could have just crocheted a ball...

but really, a rectangle is way quicker and I love that they look like hearts.

I hope winter is treating you well! 

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions at all, just let me know.


  1. I've tossed my scraps in the backyard and in the compost heap before, but I like the idea of making it a more intentional gift to the birds and a bit of yard art at the same time. I just made one (rectangle made of double crochets with a L hook), filled it up and will hang it in the morning.

  2. Cool! I hope the birds like it!


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