If you are fairly new to knitting like I am, you may not have seen or heard of a yarn bowl, let alone see a need for one. I was curious so I decided to investigate!
What is a yarn bowl used for?
It’s a bowl in which to put your yarn while you’re knitting and solves the problem of the ball of yarn rolling and bouncing around the room during said knitting. Happens to me all the time and boy is it annoying.
How does it work?
Yarn bowls have a cutout which is used as a guide for your working yarn. The working yarn is placed through the cutout, and when the yarn is pulled, thanks to the weight of the bowl, the ball will roll in the bowl freely without getting tangled or rolling away.
Why not use a center pull ball instead?
Sometimes, especially with hand wound balls, knitting from the outside of the ball is the only option, BUT more importantly (depending on the project) center pulling a cake or ball of yarn can impart an over-twist in the yarn which can result in a bias knitted fabric or twisted garment. Read about it here.
So if a yarn bowl is sounding like a good idea, here are some tips to choosing a good one.
How to choose a good yarn bowl
- Choose one with a wide base so that it won’t tip over when a heavy ball of yarn is rolling around.
- It needs to have a opening where the yarn can slip thru from the top (as opposed to just a hole), so the project can be taken out of the bowl without any problem. The bowl can also then be used for more than one project at a time.
- The pottery (or wood) needs to be very smooth where the yarn comes out. Even the smallest rough edge will catch and fray the yarn.
- Collared or high-walled are best or the ball will spin right out!
Thanks to a quick search on Etsy, I’ve discovered that yarn bowls come in all shapes and sizes, with designs to suit every knitter. Here are some of my favourites (FYI these are affiliate links).
But if you aren’t quite ready to commit to the purchase of a yarn bowl, here are some DIY alternatives that serve the same function.
- Use a zip lock bag, but don’t zip it all the way up. Thread your working yarn through the opening and it’s a cheap and transportable way to keep your yarn tangle free.
- Use a large teapot and thread the yarn through the spout. The one downside is you can’t remove the ball without breaking off the yarn.
- Pop a large binder clip (bulldog clip) on the edge of a heavy bowl and thread the yarn through the metal loop. You can see it in action here.
Do you use a yarn bowl? I’d love to hear about your yarn bowl experiences.