I take Christmas very seriously (although obviously not my pattern writing, as it has taken me 5 months to write this. Last December I was stumped by the question; what Christmas gift do you get for a brother in law with a baby on the way, who loves tracking down vintage kettlebells on e-Bay for his home gym?
Why, a handmade kettlebell rattle of course!
Breaking it down, it is very easy to make - the rattle itself is just a matter of combining a sphere with a rectangle. The fun comes in adding your personal touches, such as the felt number on the front which could be the baby’s age, or their initial.
Read on to learn how to create a crochet kettlebell for a little cutie in your life (or let’s be honest, for an adult in your life would also be fine, just leave out the rattle insert).
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- Cotton yarn - I used some lavender milk cotton I bought on Taobao, but anything soft and sturdy would work fine.
- 2mm and 2.5mm crochet hook (or appropriate for your yarn size). The reason why we have two, is that the body sphere needs to be nice and tight so no stuffing can come out, but the handle has a bit more flex for bending into shape if it’s a bit looser in weave.
- Felt and thread to add any decoration, such as a number
- Polyester fibrefill
- Scissors to trim
- Yarn needle
STITCHES YOU’LL NEED TO KNOW:
- Chain - CH
- Single crochet - SC (single crochet in UK/AU terms)
- Increase - INC (2 x sc into the same stitch so that the number of stitches grows)
- Invisible decrease - DEC (Picking up the front loop only from the next two stitches and sc them together - so the number of stitches decreases)
Crocheting the Base:
First of all, let’s make the sphere that is the base of the kettlebell. For this piece, will will be working in a continuous spiral rather than row by row.
Round 1: Create a slip knot and chain 2, 6 sc into the second chain from the hook (6 stitches)
TIP: If you would prefer, you could start off with a magic ring and 6 sc into the ring - this is just my personally preferred method.
Round 2: Inc all around (12)
Round 3: *Inc, sc*, repeat from * six times (18)
Round 4: *Inc, 2 x sc*, repeat from * six times (24)
Round 5: *Inc, 3 x sc*, repeat from * six times (30)
Round 6: *Inc, 4 x sc*, repeat from * six times (36)
Round 7: *Inc, 5 x sc*, repeat from * six times (42)
Round 8: *Inc, 6 x sc*, repeat from * six times (48)
TIP: Before we reach the widest point, I like to do a couple of rounds of single crochets only. This creates a smoother surface at the very middle of the sphere from the slight graduation of the increases.
Rounds 9-10: Sc all around (48)
Round 11: *Inc, 7 x sc*, repeat from * six times (54)
Rounds 12-18: Sc all around (54)
Round 19: *Dec, 7 x sc*, repeat from * six times (48)
Rounds 20-21: Sc all around (48)
Round 22: *Dec, 6 x sc*, repeat from * six times (42)
Round 23: *Dec, 5 x sc*, repeat from * six times (36)
Round 24: *Dec, 4 x sc*, repeat from * six times (30)
Start stuffing, and continue to add more after each row until the end
At this point, we can also add in the rattle container (if you would like to include it). You can experiment with a few different options for what you want to use here, for example bells versus plastic pellets - I’m sure you’ll already have something around the house you can use! When experimenting, make sure you also check what sound it makes when surrounded by stuffing in the base, as I found the stuffing softened the sounds of some of the items I wished to use, such as bells.
Whatever you end up deciding to use, just make sure the little noisemakers you choose are securely sealed inside a plastic container so that there is no way they could get outside of the base and be swallowed. For my rattle I used a small cosmetic container (like those used for taking small amounts of skincare away with you on holiday), filled with plastic pellets meant for a child’s fake gun.
Cover the rattle with stuffing to make sure it stays inside the middle of the base, and then continue crocheting to seal it in.
Round 25: *Dec, 3 x sc*, repeat from * six times (24)
Round 26: *Dec, 2 x sc*, repeat from * six times (18)
TIP: Before the hole gets too small, make sure you have stuffed very tightly. Even when you think you have put in as much fibrefill as you can, keep going and put some more in, as it will settle over time. As you are stuffing, lightly massage the sphere to ensure the stuffing is evenly distributed and there are no lumps.
Round 27: *Dec, sc*, repeat from * six times (12)
Round 28: 6 x Dec (6)
Trim yarn, leaving a medium length end to seal, approx 15cm. Using the yarn needle, sew throw the outer loop of each of the 6 stitches, and pull tightly to close the hole. Weave in the end by sewing it through the hole and bringing out the other side, then trimming so the end is inside the sphere.
Decorating the Base:
I chose to sew on a little felt 5 to represent a 5kg marker on a kettlebell. If you choose to add a felt decoration, just cut it out, and then sew around the outside of the felt to create a neater edge when you do sew it on to the sphere. Then pin, and sew securely in place - remember it must be very secure so no little mouths or fingers can remove and swallow it!
Crocheting the Handle:
Next we will move on the handle. This piece is even easier than the base - as we will be creating a long rectangle then sewing up the side. As opposed to the base where we worked in a continuous round, this time we will be working in rows back and forth, turning the work at the end of each row.
Change to the larger hook for the handle.
Set up Row: Chain 14
Row 1: Sc into the second chain from the hook. Sc all remaining stitches (13 stitches in this row)
Rows 2-52: Sc all (13)
Trim, leaving a very long end because this is what you will use to sew up the long side of the rectangle.
Fold the rectangle lengthwise, making sure you have folded neatly to align all the stitches. Using the yarn needle, sew up the lengthwise seam. As you sew, start stuffing with fibrefill, as otherwise it will be too tricky to get it into the middle of the handle if you leave it until the end.
Bringing it all Together:
Pin the handle to the base. Once you are happy with the positioning, start to sew to attach, sewing each of the 13 stitches to the base. Make sure your stitches are very tight so that the handle can withstand some bashing from small children!
And we’re done! Shake, rattle and roll!