Free Knitting Pattern for an Easy Yarn Ball Bookmark
April is National Public Library month in the United States. Every April, I like to celebrate by making a bookmark to use with my favorite books. (You can see my other bookmarks here.) This year, I combined two of my favorite activities, knitting and reading, into the design of this knitted yarn ball bookmark. This little bookmark would make a great gift for any knitter or crocheter. This design can also be used as a brooch or pin!
This yarn ball bookmark starts with a knitted i-cord but requires a few other craft supplies. There is some basic sewing involved in assembling this bookmark, but it's quite easy. I'm not much of a sewer, so if I can do it, anyone can make and put together this bookmark.
Materials for Making a Knitted Yarn Ball Bookmark
- a small ball of worsted or aran weight yarn - you can actually use any weight of yarn you choose, you would just need to adjust the number of cast on stitches to make an i-cord that is about 1/2 of an inch wide.
- the correct double pointed needles to knit your yarn into an i-cord. I used size 8 for my yarn.
- a piece of felt for the back of your bookmark
- a strip of elastic, like you would use to replace a waistband in your underwear or a slip
- (optional) contrasting embroidery floss or thin yarn to add detail stitches to your yarn ball
- coordinating thread for your yarn and a sewing needle
- (optional) a small bit of fiber fill or a couple of cotton balls to stuff in your bookmark
- (optional) toothpicks, a wooden skewer, or a a small double pointed needle and two beads to make small knitting needles for the yarn ball
- tapestry needle to weave in your yarn ends
- marking pen, ruler, and scissors
Knitting Directions for Making a Yarn Ball Bookmark
Using the proper sized dpns for your yarn, cast on 4 stitches and begin knitting an i-cord. You want your i-cord to be a little less than 1/2 an inch wide. As you knit, if your i-cord is too thin or too wide, you can just start again by casting on with more or less stitches.
How to Knit an I-Cord
Continue knitting your i-cord until it is about 16 inches long. This length will make a yarn ball bookmark that is about 3 inches in diameter. If you want your yarn ball to be larger, you should knit your i-cord to be longer.
Once your i-cord is the proper length, bind off your stitches and weave in your yarn ends.
Next, starting at the cast on edge of your i-cord, use your coordinating thread and sewing needle to sew your i-cord into a spiral shape. Sew your i-cord together loosely by tacking it together at the bottom edge. Work carefully so that your spiral is even and your sewing stitches do not show.
This step is optional, but will add more color and definition to your yarn ball. Use some embroidery floss or thin yarn in a contrasting color to add stitches between the wraps of your i-cord. Working from the center of the spiral, sew even stitches in the well created between your i-cord wraps. Be careful not to pull your stitches too tight because you want them to be seen on the surface of your yarn ball.
I used embroidery floss and my tapestry needle for this step. I used all six strands that came in my embroidery floss and held it doubled while sewing. You can also use thin contrasting yarn for these stitches.
The next step is to cut your elastic for your bookmark. This bookmark design uses elastic to hold your bookmark around your book. This sewing elastic is quite flexible and should fit around many books of different sizes.
To measure the length of elastic you need, take your elastic and wrap it around the front cover of a book. Your elastic should be at rest and not stretched at all while measuring. Put your i-cord yarn ball in the center of your book cover and cut your elastic so that the two ends just touch the edge of your yarn ball.
Assembling Your Yarn Ball Bookmark
Next, cut a circle out of your felt that is just slightly smaller than your i-cord yarn ball. Then pin your piece of elastic at the top and bottom (at the twelve and six o'clock positions on a clock) with about 3/4 of an inch of elastic sitting on top of your felt circle. When pinning it in place, make sure your elastic forms a large loop and is not twisted. See photo above for correct positioning. Then put your yarn ball on top of your felt circle with your elastic pinned in place.
Using your coordinating thread and a sewing needle, begin to sew around your felt circle, tacking it to the underside of your i-cord yarn ball and sandwiching your elastic in between. Make some extra stitches when sewing through your elastic to make sure it is held tight.
(Optional), before sewing completely around your circle, you can stuff in just a small bit of fiber fill or a couple of cotton balls to give a little roundness to the top of your yarn ball. Then continue to sew around your circle completely.
Making Knitting Needles to Complete Your Yarn Ball Bookmark
Adding little knitting needles to your yarn ball bookmark is optional, but makes a fun detail. There are a few materials you can use to make your knitting needles:
- use toothpicks and add beads to the ends, but make sure your toothpicks are long enough to fit through your yarn ball
- cut a a wooden skewer in half and add beads
- cut a small dpn in half and add beads
- I've also had friends who have found small knitting needles for sale on ebay
I made my needles out of a size 4 wooden dpn. I happened to have an extra needle that I cut in half. Each half was the perfect length to fit through my i-cord yarn ball. To finish my needles, I superglued a wooden bead to each end.
A small crochet hook is harder to make, but you may be able to buy one of ebay or etsy.
To place your knitting needles in your yarn ball, slide each needle into the side of your i-cord and through your yarn ball to the other side. Do not push it between your felt backing and your yarn ball. Once you like the position of your needles in your yarn ball, put a dot of clear drying glue at each of the connecting points to hold them in place.
Other Ideas and Uses for Your Knitted Yarn Ball Bookmark
Here's a few more ideas for your knitted yarn ball bookmark:
- You can sew some buttons along the length of the elastic to add more decoration to your bookmark.
- Instead of making a circle for your backing piece, you can cut a larger felt rectangle and add additional stitching or decoration around your yarn ball.
- Omit the elastic and sew on a pin back instead to use your i-cord yarn ball as a pin or brooch.
- Make your i-cord yarn ball into a Christmas decoration!
How to Make a Knitted Yarn Ball Christmas Ornament
1. Knit two i-cords, using the same yarn and following the instructions above. You may want to knit your i-cords to be 20 to 22 inches each to make a bigger ball.
2. On your second i-cord, bind off on the wrong side of your work.
3. Wind each of your i-cords into a spiral as described above. However, wind one going clockwise and one going counter-clockwise so that the spirals mirror each other (see photo above).
4. Add the contrasting stitching in the color of your choice.
5. Place your i-cord yarn balls back to back and begin stitching around the edge.
6. As you get to the top of your ornament, sew in a loop of ribbon or string to use as a hanger for your ornament. I used a piece of old measuring tape on my ornament.
7. (Optional) Before closing up your ornament seam, stuff your yarn ball with fiber fill or cotton balls. I stuffed mine until it was almost completely round.
8. Add you little knitting needles by pushing them in place through the side seam on your ornament.
Copyright © 2016 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved. No part of this pattern may be copied or reproduced in any way without permission from the author/designer. For personal use only. This pattern and materials made from this pattern are not meant for commercial sale.