I'd wager most of my readers have never heard of Arne & Carlos, a pair of Norwegian knitters with a passion for knits and an obsession with Christmas. But you'll want to get to know these two guys if you enjoy knitting Christmas decorations, particularly balls.
Their book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit: Colorful Festive Ornaments was a huge sensation in Norway and has been translated and printed in English so that the rest of us can make these fun, festive Christmas balls.
About the Book
- Pages: 140
- Format: Hardcover
- Number of patterns: 55
- Skill level: none given, but suitable for advanced beginners who are comfortable with increasing, decreasing and stranded colorwork
- Illustrations: full-color photographs, charts are in black and white
- Knitting instructions: color drawings illustrate the basics of casting on, increasing, decreasing and making a crocheted chain to use as a hanging loop
- Publication date: July 2011
This charming book is somewhat like a stroll through the studio/home of Arne & Carlos, located in an old train station in the mountains of Norway, where it's winter for a very long time and Christmas is a big deal. The guys have a hobby of collecting Christmas things from around the world, which they use as inspiration for their knitwear designs and for the balls found in 55 Christmas Balls to Knit.
The book is arranged by theme, such as Children's Mittens, Religious Motifs and Lights, which tell readers something about the inspiration for or content of the designs. Each section opens with a collage including a page of one of their voluminous and beautful inspiration books along with some of the balls, yarn, or other inspiring items like a ceramic angel or a Christmas tree holder.
The patterns are presented with a picture of the finished ball and a hand-drawn chart, as well as a little bit of information about where the pattern came from. Knitters will need to refer to the basic pattern for the ball at the beginning of the book and use the chart for the colorwork.
Some patterns also include quotes or little stories that illuminate what Christmas is like in Norway or offer suggestions for other ways to use the ornaments, such as on a wreath or to decorate a present.
The patterns have a clear Scandinavian influence, with classic star and heart motifs you're likely to recognize. There are other designs that Arne & Carlos came up with themselves, such as a Christmas tree and reindeer.
The samples are mostly knit in red and white, though there are some variations and you can of course use whatever yarn suits your decor or use these projects as stash busters.
55 Christmas Balls to Knit is a fun book full of inspiration for people who love Christmas. Knit up a bunch of these balls to decorate a special tree, use on your packages or to give as a favor for people who come to your holiday dinner.
You could also use the motifs on different projects, such as a table runner or holiday-themed scarf.
And beyond the motifs presented there are plenty of options for these balls. Take the basic pattern and work it in a novelty yarn instead of plain wool, or use lighter or heavier yarn for smaller or bigger balls. There's also a chart in the back so you can come up with your own motifs (monograms would be super cute) for perfectly personal balls.