Yarn bowls

yarn bowl 1

I think that every knitter is at a loss as to what to do with yarn scraps – everything from the tiny pieces we cut off when we’re weaving in ends, to the longer strands that are leftover when we knit almost – but not quite – to the end of a skein.  I keep my in large mason jars, and by now I’ve accumulated a large number of those jars, so I went wandering around Pinterest looking for ideas.

yarn bowl 4

I found several sites with tutorials for making yarn bowls, so my daughters and I gave it a try.  It’s pretty simple in concept – we found simple, nice-shaped bowls (pretty large ones, like mixing bowls) and carefully covered the outside of the bowls with saran wrap, being careful to wrap it around the edge of the bowl and press it on the inside so that nothing would leak onto the bowl.  Next, we mixed up the paste – here’s the recipe we used:

Mix 1/2 cup flour and 2 cups cold water in a bowl
Boil 2 cups water in a sauce pan, then add the flour and cold water mixture
Bring to a boil again
Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons sugar
Let cool (the paste will thicken as it cools)

The next step was the time-consuming part – we dipped each individual yarn scrap in the paste, then wrung it out with our fingertips (you don’t want too much excess paste), and placed it on the bowl.  For the “Koigu scraps” bowl (all generated from my Rainbow Blocks blanket project), we used shorter scraps and tried to place them in curved patterns – swirls, curlicues, loops, etc.  We added in a fair number of white scraps to balance out all of the colors.  For the “Brooklyn Tweed” bowl (scraps from all of my Brooklyn Tweed yarn projects), we used longer strands and tried wrapping them around tightly, so that there was no space between the strands.

yarn bowl 2

yarn bowl 3

The bowls took at least two days to dry – before we started, we placed them on tin foil-covered cookie sheets, so that we could move them around if necessary.  Once dry, we turned them right side up and carefully pried the sides of the yarn bowl away from the “mold” bowl – this is a little delicate, as you need to get enough space in between the two to pull the yarn bowl off the mold, but you don’t want to break the shape of the yarn bowl.  Once we pulled off the yarn bowl, we peeled away the pieces of saran wrap, and it was done!

yarn bowl 5

The results:  we liked the Koigu bowl better, even though it has spaces between the yarn and couldn’t be used for anything other than, for instance, holding embroidery thread or yarn balls (anything that isn’t small and won’t fall between the cracks).  We weren’t as crazy about the Brooklyn Tweed bowl, but I think that’s because the wool in Brooklyn Tweed yarn looks a little matted and unattractive once it’s been “pasted.”  Also, even being very careful to push the strands together, we still ended up with some spaces – it might have worked better with a different, thicker yarn (much of what we were working with was fingering weight).

yarn bowl 6

This was a fun project, but I’m not sure I like it so much that I’ll want to do it again and again with all of my yarn scraps.  Back to the drawing board (or the Pinterest boards) . . . does anyone out there have something fun they do with their yarn scraps?

yarn bowl 7

yarn bowl 8

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15 comments on “Yarn bowls

  1. fabulous! (esp the koigu) (the interior of the brooklyn tweed is more interesting than the outside)

  2. Hi. Have you tried weaving on CDs? You can find a tutorial on my blog. You need a piece about three yards long for the warp threads, but the other ones can vary in length from 12-36 inches. Check it out! We made an installation of 500 CDs that look great with a huge variety of yarn scraps.

    I just tried using yarn scrap with quilt batting scraps. We weren’t thrilled with the results, so I’m on the lookout for a project to use the tiny bits of yarn left from our weaving. Good luck in your search too! 😀

  3. I LOVE the squiggly bowl! Now I’m sorry I haven’t been saving my scraps! I’ve been putting mine in a suet feeder and hanging it in my backyard trees for the birds in hopes they use it for nesting material. I cut the scraps into small pieces so they won’t get hung up and trapped.

  4. LOVE this idea. I like the squiggly bowl best, but I think the other one is a nice idea, maybe with other colors. I will have to try this with my yarn scraps.

  5. I have made similar bowls and baskets using diluted PVA glue over a balloon, blowing to the size required. Once dry you simply pop the balloon and you don’t have the problem of separating the wool from the dish.

  6. I have used my leftovers with WASH AWAY STABILIZER to make a scarf. Just stitched the yarn onto the stabilizer with an allover quilting stitch, on the machine. Then washed it as directed on the package. Away went the stabilizer, leaving the soft, bright colored scarf. Hope others will try this. I will certainly try the bowl.

    Bobbie Williams

    May the angles watch over each of you.

  7. I purchased some of those clear christmas ornaments.
    Cut up the scrap yarn.
    Stuffed the clippings into the ornament.
    You can hang it on the tree
    I stuffed mine with white yarn and filled old jars with yarn
    Put the ornament on top
    Decorated it to make it look like a snow man
    Turned out great.

  8. How do you clean the bowl when it gets dirty?

    • You wouldn’t want to submerge it or get it too wet, but it might possibly work to just use a damp cloth. I wonder if it would be a good idea when the project is newly finished to spray it with some kind of polyurethane, so that it could be cleaned with water later on?

  9. I love this idea! They are both great!
    And the lady that talked about the scarf idea that sounds interesting too!

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