10 Stripe Baby Ball – Free Pattern

[Edited May 2013: The link to this pattern is on the sidebar of the blog, to the right of this post. You may need to scroll the sidebar to the bottom to see it. Click the photo in the sidebar for the full pattern or follow this link .]

This pattern is old, even older than me. I’ve heard it described as a 19th century American pattern and if you google “knitted baby ball”, this is basically what you’ll find.

There are some substantial differences between the original pattern and the one now available as a free download from this blog. The traditional pattern was intended to be knitted in a pure wool yarn and felted, the felting gave plenty of opportunity to hide the seam, the holes made by the short row shaping and to make the ball rounder by reshaping it when wet. My version is best knitted in a modern machine washable yarn. If you follow the simple instructions below, you can close the holes and the seam is hidden.

Here’s some hints and tips to help you get a nice round ball:


When knitting toys I always use needles that are at least a mm size smaller than that recommended for the yarn. This is because garter stitch is quite stretchy and if you knit it too loosely the stuffing will show through the fabric! You don’t have to get the gauge exactly right but at least knit up some garter stitch using smaller than usual needles, until you get a fabric that you can only see pinpricks of light through.

How to Close the Holes

The balls are made using a technique called Short Row Shaping. This involves turning the knitting around before you’ve knitted to the end of the row, so making the knitted fabric 3 dimensional. However, when you turn the knitting, you leave a small hole. There’s a special blog post on how to close the holes and get a smoother finish on your fabric, just here


When sewing through the side loops to close the top and bottom of the ball, go round twice, it will help you to pull the hole closed.

When sewing up the back seam, there is no set way to knit the top and bottom of garter stitch fabric, at least not one I can find. So here’s what I use.  The basic method involves weaving the yarn in and out so that it goes directly over the existing stitches in the knitting. Here’s a diagram:

sewing together
The important thing to remember when using this method is not to pull the yarn tight as this will just make a nasty mess. It’s a delicately balanced operation, but simple with practice.


  1. I would like to download your striped baby ball pattern but can’t find your link to it. Could you make this clear?

      • Hi Debby, I know that WordPress does not work well on an ipad, I assume it doesn’t work well with other hand held devices either. This is why I’ve added a direct link to the downloadable PDF in the first paragraph of the blog entry.

  2. The pattern is in the right hand sidebar, scroll down and you’ll find it at the bottom of the list. Sorry this was so confusing.

    • There is no picture to click to get the pattern. You have several pictures, but none of the ball. Please check and see if this can be fixed. Thanks!

  3. OK ladies I found the pattern. Look at the section under the picture of the ball and there is a link there. Good luck.

  4. I have been making this ball for many years–red,white and blue–primary colors so child can learn colors names. etc. have included them in mission boxes. enjoy ruth kelly

  5. one of the most fun pattern I have found—balls are a universal toy—I am a photographer and make them for my families—they love them—thanks–Karen Klenke

    • Hi Eleanor, I think it’s an extra 1 stitches in the middle for an extra 2 stitches on either side. Although it’s been a few years since I published this pattern. Try experimenting and let us know how you get on.

  6. I am not sure why there is no pattern. I have looked on the sidebar as explained but still no pattern. Please check before you post such a lovely pattern and then not make pattern readily available as promised. I will not continue to visit sites that claim pattern but do not deliver. Sad because this is a great looking ball.

    • Hi Bonnie, thanks for letting me know that the link in the main body of the post no longer works. I’ve taken that link out and will try to get to he bottom of that later. In the meantime, you are correct, the ball pattern is at the bottom of the scrolling right hand sidebar.

  7. When I tried the link you included I got this message:
    Sorry, we couldn’t find that page
    Please check the URL or go to one of the following pages:
    I managed to download the pattern, but you might want to fix it for others.

  8. This brought back memories – it preceded the ‘nerf’ ball by a decade. I had two boys – one in ’69 and one in ’71 — these balls were a god-send and the boys loved them. A dear friend – in heaven for many years now, knitted them by the hundreds for all the young mothers in our church; we kept her busy!

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