NYE Project - Amish Puzzle Ball

To celebrate the new year I thought that I would clear out one of my UFOs.  It was going to be my photograph for the WIP for next Saturday's Scatterday but it didn't really qualify as a WIP as there has been almost no progress on it for a few year. I have included here step by step photos for anyone wanting to make their own.   It is a lovely take anywhere hand project.

The first picture shows you how to make your own templates.
1. Draw two circles the desired size. For a pincushion I would suggest 4in circles , 2in radius, as a starting point and for a child's playball 6in or 8in if you wish to put a bell inside.
2. Draw two lines cutting each circle into four equal sections. 
3. Overlap the two circles so that the quarter marking points meet and draw in the arcs along the edge of the circle.
4. These are your templates - the circle is your base, while the little arc is the leaves.

You will need six circles and twelve leaves.
Trace around the templates and then add seam
allowance before cutting out the fabric.

You will need to make six of the following sets.

1. Fold the circles into quarters and mark the quarter points on the circle edge.
2. Match the end points of the leaves to the points as shown and stitch in place, reinforcing at all of the corners.
Take care - do not start at the end points as this will make it a weak point.  Start a short way from the corner, stitch out to the corner, turn around stitch to next corner, reverse for short distance and then finish with a double stitch.

Now this part looks easy and it is easy by the time you get to your third or fourth set so hang in there when you first start.
If you look back at the photo above you will see that each leaf has one 'free' side and also that half of the circle is unattached...so guess what.  For this step all you need to do is sew those sides together.  When you work out how to lie it flat like I have done here you will find it's not too bad.  So go for it. After you have finished sewing it together clip a small hole along the middle edge. This hole is used to first turn the whole thing inside out and secondly to stuff the section. After stuffing sew the hole closed.

I forgot to take a photo of the next stage but the missing photo simply shows you what one section looks like.
Once you have turned it inside out , stuffed it and closed the hole you then need to stitch alone the centre seam to define the two quarter sections.

In the photos beside there are two sections which I have sewn together along the adjoining seam.  If you look at the lower photo you  see the front on view of this part of the ball.  Make one of these by sewing together two leaf/circle sections, this seam is the horizontal one which is slightly more defined.

You will need to make two of these sections.
Take two of the circle/leaf sections and sew them together along that central seam which you stitched earlier to separate the original piece into two parts. You need a longer needle for this as the puffy leaf sections keep getting in the way.

In this photo you can see all three parts which need to be made. The top circle is what you made in the step above. The two bottom sections show the top and bottom view of the same thing.
Note you need strong seams to hold all of the pieces together, quilting or furniture thread would be perfect for this. If you don't mind the colour dental floss is also a good alternative.
Now comes the real fun, you will definitely need a strong needle, thread and thimble for the following sections. Using the top ring section and one of the four leaf clover sections line them up as shown opposite. You now need to sew together the two parts at the four matching end points.  Make sure this is done securely as these stitches will be the only thing holding the two parts together. Although the average quilter/sewer isn't going to be rough with her new toy if you have made a child's ball then it will probably take quite a pounding.

You have the choice here.  When I first started to make these balls I would sew two sections together firstly and then add the third section.  Later though I started to sew all three sections together at the one time.  The choice is your own.

Viola here is your finished pin cushion. Don't forget to send me a picture as I love to see various colour choices. Also if you work out how to add a bell let me know how.  Is it easy to secure the centre hole so that it doesn't escape into the hands of littlies.                    Happy New Year.

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