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As long as there has been knitting, there have been tangles. And so it is clear to see why a yarn dispenser is key to a knit-wits artillery.

Dispensers come in many shapes and sizes, from old mason jars, to plastic pouches, and each knitter has their preference. But all designs have two common attributes; A holder for the ball & a dispenser for the yarn to pass through. However when you take a closer look, one dispenser in particular casts a shadows over the competition. The yarn bowl.

It seems to have sprung up in the last few years, as if from nowhere and taken the knitting world by storm. Made from either wood or more commonly ceramic, each yarn bowl is as different as the next. And with endless possibilities for design, you can see why this ancillary tool has become so popular. Whats more the tool seems to be exclusive to the maker and artisan industry with no large companies within the ceramic or knitting industries producing any.

But with such choice, how do you make sure that you make the right purchase? consider the following features:

1. Size

If you regularly knit with large balls of yarn then make sure that the bowl you choose can fit these bigger skeins inside. If you have less room, or you knit with small thin yarn, then a smaller bowl may fit your needs better.

2. Weight

You need to look at the base of the bowl to judge it’s weight. A good yarn bowl will have a heavy base to keep it in place when you pull at your yarn. If the bowl is too light it will slide across your table and likely be more hassle than help.

3. Material

If you are looking for something portable, or you are a little clumsy then maybe consider a wooden or plastic bowl over ceramic.

4. Feed

If you move your project  from place to place then find a bowl with an open slot yarn feed that the yarn can be lifted out of. If you choose a bowl with a loop to you may be committed to leaving your project in the bowl until the yarn runs out.

5. Pets and Children

Hollywood experts say never work with pets and children. I suggest you work around them. If you have a cat or another little terror in the house, then consider a yarn bowl that sits like a lid over the ball (as opposed to a traditional bowl).

6. Design

There are a lot of designers to choose from. Take time to find something beautiful to fit your personality.

I am a fan of ceramic, and have recently had the pleasure to work with the Chickadee Yarn Bowl, from Aaron Harrison AKA aaharrison.

It’s large size, allows for chunky yarns, and bigger balls to be placed inside, which I found to be a great attribute. The high sides keep the yarn inside the bowl even when it is moving at a rapid pace.

The bowl also has a curved “cut out” to place the yarn through, which has been smoothed and glazed to prevent “snagging”. I personally like this style of yarn feeder, due to my tendency to move my knitting project from home to work on a regular basis. The bowl is nicely weighted to keep it’s place on a table allowing all effort to be concentrated on complicated lace work.

The elegant aesthetics are the real draw for this bowl. It is clear at a glance that great care has been taken in shaping the bowl and chickadee that sits on top. The glaze inside is reminiscent of  the inside of a sea shell, and the earthy color of the outside means this tool would not look out of place as an ornament on a shelf.

If this has got you hankering for a yarn bowl, you can find Aaron Harrison’s designs here.

Need more inspiration? Check out my pinterest board.


Have a product you would like to see reviewed? Email knittygrittywhistler@gmail.com