Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Amish Puzzle Ball

This weekend I finished up my Amish Puzzle Ball.

I love the idea of this project, but didn't totally love the final result. I did learn a lot however, so I figure I can share my new knowledge with you

  • Keep it simple, choose 2 fabrics. I recommend one solid fabric and one patterned fabric. You will need 24 solid piece and 12 patterned pieces. When you are sewing each piece together, use one patterned and two solids.
I chose 2 patterned pieces and 2 solid colours. The inside solid piece isn't even visible. I don't like the way the 2 patterned pieces work together because they form a triangle, which means each section has 2 of the first pattern and one of the second pattern. I like things to be symmetrical.
  • Smaller is better!
I printed the pattern as recommended for the pattern. Each piece is about 6 inches long. I found that the pieces are quite wide and a 6 inch piece makes a huge puzzle ball. It's close to the size of a soccer ball. I have since seen patterns that recommend using pieces measuring 2 inches by 1 inch. I think that would make a much more reasonably sized puzzle ball!

It's a fun size, just not as baby-appropriate as I thought it would be. I think it will be fun to roll around with a toddler though.
  • Buy a lot of stuffing.
This thing is packed full of a lot of stuffing. It's not heavy I find it's heft quite satisfying, however, I had to buy more stuffing before I could finish it up, so be prepared.
  • Plan ahead and pick up some upholstry thread that matches your fabric.
I usually double up thread when sewing by hand and thought that it would be strong enough. Nope! You need really strong thread when sewing the pieces together into the ball. I ended up using dental floss, but it would have looked nicer if I had matching upholstry thread.

I popped a few round cat toys with bells inside my pieces. Putting the whole toy in there (rather than just the bell) means it will actually still make noise. The stuffing would dampen the noise of a bell if it is popped in there by itself. I will have to find a better alternative if I make a smaller puzzle ball though. You might be able to hide a cat toy in the middle of the puzzle ball but it wouldn't be enclosed in anything, you would have to sew it in.

  • Sew each piece on the machine so the spot to stuff the piece is hidden in the inside. I'm not good at invisibly handsewing and if you make sure the spot is hidden, you don't have to be!
In case you don't have a good sense of scale by looking at the photo above, here is one I photographed with a normal sized lemon:

I worked from the free pattern available at the Daily Skein. Patterns are available elsewhere as well, just look for an Amish Puzzle Ball.


  1. I just wanted to tell you I LOVE your puzzle ball!!! We had one growing up and all of us played with it. As we got older, and no longer needed it, it was put away. Then when we got a puppy, it became her toy. She loved it as well. Then, when I had my son, he found it in the dog toy basket and would carry it around with him - no matter how often we tried to keep it away from him. This is a great project and I'll definately have to check out the pattern myself. Great job - I think it looks fantastic!

  2. Thanks for your comment. I think our puppy would probably love one of these as well!

    I think we are all a little critical of ourselves, sometimes we need to give ourselves a break! I did really enjoy making this and will likely make more.

    I think it would make a great baby shower gift since it looks complicated but isn't really!

  3. Oh my gosh, I totally wish I would have found your tips BEFORE I sewed my puzzle ball! My handstitching is visible and is driving me nuts!! It makes total sense to put the stuff-spots underneath. Duh.

    Thanks for sharing!