September 5, 2013

Meatball Madness

As I child, I wasn't a fan of meatballs in any form. To me there was nothing worse than getting a mouthful of dry meat with my spaghetti sauce and pasta. Clearly, my mother's Italian roots came out, because her meatballs were enormous. Years later, when I had to get eight teeth extracted before they could straighten the rest, I realized why I had such a difficult time chewing. Apparently I had a small mouth for the size of my teeth. 

Things have definitely changed in the past few decades and now I'm actually a big fan of meatballs. I even crave them every now and again. The next time I make them for the Sailor, I'll be sure to share my yummy (and juicy!) turkey meatball recipe.

In the meantime, you can make your own giant dried out meatballs right here. Remember the Talking Squash? I sent the same friends this crochet cheeseburger, because I knew they needed some meat to go with those veggies. Then they reminded me that they were serving up meatball grinders for the toddler's birthday party... and could I maybe make up a few meatballs as party favors? 

Last year, they had a blueberry theme... and even though we trolled through craft stores central, we couldn't find suitable blueberries for party favors. 

I made these instead. 

This year, I used the same basic orb pattern and just added eyes. I've had this brown yarn in my stash for so long that I can't even remember why I bought it in the first place -- but it definitely worked for the meatballs!  

The best part about homemade meatballs, is that they don't have to be perfect. In fact, imperfections are welcome.

I'm not sure what I'll be crafting for the third birthday party next year, but I'm guessing it'll be something round and squishy! I think I have some green yarn that needs to be used up. Peas perhaps? 

Recipe for Crocheted Meatballs

Yarn scraps in brown, white and black(I used worsted weight #4) 
Crochet hook to get a tight enough gauge so that the stuffing doesn't poke through (I used a 4 mm hook)
Yarn needle

sc: single crochet
sc2tog: single crochet 2 stitches together. Insert hook in next stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop, 2 times. Then yarn over and draw through all three loops on the hook.

Work the ball in a spiral, which means don't join at the end of the round. You can use a marker, safety pin, or a piece of contrasting yarn to keep your place. Or, if you can concentrate and crochet, just count. Even if you lose concentration, there's nothing wrong with a lumpy meatball every now and again. 
Round 1: Make a magic loop (tutorial here) and chain two. SC 6 times into the loop and pull tight. (You can always just chain two and then work 6 sc into the 2nd chain from the hook, but I think the magic loop makes it tighter.

Round 2: Work 2 sc in each sc around (12 sc) 

Round 3: (sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc) 6 times (18 sc)  

Round 4: (sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc) 6 times (24 sc) 

Round 5: (sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc) 6 times (30 sc) 

Round 6: (sc in next 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc) 6 times (36 sc)  

(If you want fatter meatballs, increase another round or two after Round 6, before continuing on.)

Rounds 7-11: (sc in each sc around) 

(If you increased more than Round 6, remember to start the next round of decreases appropriately -- ie, if you added one extra round, sc in next 5 sc, sc2tog 6 times before starting Round 12.) 
Round 12: (sc in next 4 sc, sc2tog)6 times (30 sc)

Round 13: (sc in next 3 sc, sc2tog) 6 times (24 sc) 

Round 14: (sc in next 2 sc, sc2tog) 6 times (18 sc) 

Stuff the meatball with fiberfill.

Round 15: (sc in next sc, sc2tog) 6 times (12 sc)

Stuff a little more fiberfill in there if necessary.

Round 16: (sc2tog) 6 times (6 sc) 

Pull the yarn tight and cut, leaving a long enough tail to weave in with your yarn needle. 

EYES for meatballs: 

With white yarn make a magic loop and chain 1. SC 4 times into loop. Pull the loop tight and slip stitch to first sc made. Leave a long enough tail to sew the eye onto the meatball. 

Once the white of the eye is on the meatball, add the pupil by making a secure french knot right in the middle of the eye. 

Weave in all ends securely. 

Serve immediately, in vintage Pyrex, of course. 

No need to refrigerate.

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