Saturday, November 22, 2014

Working with Super Bulky Yarn

Malabrigo Rasta in Azules shown with KA US19 circulars.

So super bulky yarn...seems to be a bit of a love/hate thing (though, I guess that is pretty much everything in the fiber arts world)? Personally, I love it! There is nothing like whipping up a lace shawl in a few hours. Plus, the colors of yarns like Malabrigo Rasta and madelinetosh A.S.A.P. are gorgeous. However, I see complaints all the time about working with knitting needles that could double as broom handles. Now, I can't promise to make you love knitting with broom handles, but I do have some tips that might make it marginally more enjoyable!

Choose your needles well. I almost always use circular needles, even with super bulky yarns (SBY from here on out). Of course, circular needles size 19 (15mm) aren't the easiest thing to find. Most big box craft stores will carry plastic Lion Brand circulars, I have a pair but I almost always use my KA Bamboo circulars. Addi makes metal circulars in size 19. Quite a few other brands including Knitter's Pride and Susan Bates make larger circulars. Find a pair you like and it will make knitting SBY easier on you!

Figure out the stitch marker situation. I know not everyone likes or uses stitch markers, but I always include them in my patterns because it gives any easy reference point for me to refer the knitter to. I use these stitch markers that I picked up one of my local craft stores. They are nothing fancy, but they do the trick. The main thing to watch out for is super bulky yarn overs jumping to the wrong side of the marker or the yarn getting caught under the markers. If you find it easier, you can just use loops of waste yarn.

madelinetosh A.S.A.P. in Moonstone shown with Clover jumbo stitch markers.

Gigantic plastic yarn needles! Big ol' ends need to get woven in somehow. I suppose wood or metal work too, but I have only ever seen the super huge plastic ones locally...again at the neighborhood craft store.

Malabrigo Rasta in Arco Iris shown with Susan Bates plastic yarn needle.

Finally, take your time and take breaks. Knitting with SBY is already super fast, so there is no need to try to set a new knitting world record! Big needles, big yarn and big stitch markers are clumsy and to take it slow so you don't have to rip out any work and breaks will help keep your hands (and wrists and arms) happy.

I give you these tips to prepare you for the release of my next SBY pattern, Dictynna, which will be available next week. Dictynna joins my other two SBY patterns: Ovate and Cordate. To date Ovate is my best selling pattern, so maybe not as many people hate SBY as the forums would have you believe...or maybe they just tolerate it for an FO in no time? What do you think of super bulky yarns?


  1. Good stuff! I have an additional tip: for weaving in ends, if you can't find one of those super-large plastic yarn needles, you can use a crochet hook to pull your yarn through wherever you need to in the back of your work! :D

  2. Haha, I think we crafters are particularly good at inventing unique solutions. I usually use a special bodkin or a floss threader to weave in bulky ends, but a wide-eye beading needle would also work.