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quick bulky yarn projects

  • Crafters - Make a Yarn Basket from Your Stash!

    I have always used yarn in some sort of craft even before I "learned" the basics of knitting and crocheting as an adult. Two memories encouraged me to crash-the-stash of yarn and get weaving! When I was a Brownie Girl Scout, my troop learned how to craft a God's Eye or Ojo de Dios; a cultural symbol showing a woven motif created by using several colors of yarn wrapped around twigs. That is the first time I recall being amazed how several objects by themselves look and function one way, but used together in a different manner created an entirely new object! It was a magical transformation of sticks and yarn into a beautifully patterned piece of art. When I was an older Girl Scout, I made a woven basket. It took two weeks of soaking and weaving, soaking and weaving, until the basket was completed. It's funny how images from a current book can take you back in time, inviting you to revisit a past passion. Whether you discover the uses of yarn for the first time, or rediscover the transformation of your supplies into new objects, it's time to create a yarn basket project!

    The small project that caught my eye was the woven basket on the outside front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts. Not only was it cute (small, compact, and uncomplicated), I could fit this project in to my schedule of other items on my to-do list. Plus, I had [minimal] weaving experience -- come on, decades' old hands-on knowledge still counts, right? Right - I immediately jumped on to making this project!

    This cute woven basket on the front cover (Leisure Arts' sku 6758 - Yarn Crafts), looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from our yarn stash! This cute woven basket on the front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from my yarn stash!

    Reviewing the directions in the leaflet, I decided to add some coloring to the cardboard base of my basket. After reviewing my various coloring book choices, I chose a page from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    This added step of coloring a page to add to the basket's cardboard base was not the hardest step, but it did take the most time!

    After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page. After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page.

    Of course I wanted both the inside and the outside of the basket's base to have a colorful design, so I colored the whole page. I used markers for this part of project, then sprayed acrylic sealer on the page after it was colored.

    Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket). Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket).

    Once my colored pages were cut into circles the same size as my cardboard base, I glued them to each side of the cardboard using a spray adhesive. Next, I used a sharp needle to puncture holes through the paper (that would be the inside of the basket) into the cardboard. Remember my earlier picture showed the cardboard already had the punctured holes; this was done before I made a final decision to add some coloring to my project. After the colored circle was glued to the cardboard, it was easy to puncture a new "layer" of holes going through just the coloring book page into the prepunched cardboard.

    Following the directions outlined in the Yarn Basket project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I inserted toothpicks into each hole and used hot glue to hold them in place. Some toothpicks would not stand straight up so I amended the directions by placing a pony bead around each toothpick. Then I added a different glue that would remain flexible after drying; I used E6000.

    Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page). Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page).
    Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place. Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place.

    I gathered three different bulky or super bulky weight yarn skeins. All three colors used were from partial skeins of discontinued colors. I began weaving - it was so easy and the pattern developed so quickly I wished I had more 'reeds' as my toothpick frame was quickly becoming a recognizable basket. I decided to quit for the night and had no worries regarding "where to start" in the morning.

    The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame. The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame.

    I changed colors as often as I liked; I didn't have a master plan. TIP: It was very easy to unweave rows when I decided to change colors at a different location. That's a great bonus - especially if you run short on a yarn color since you might be using up your stash of partial skeins! HINT: As you are weaving, gently push the yarn down each toothpick sliding it as close as possible to the woven row below it. This was a technique taught during my Girl Scout basket weaving experience and I started doing this automatically when weaving my current project! Following this technique gives the yarn basket a compact and tightly woven look.

    After the weaving is completed, a finger crocheted chain was added to the top of the basket. I placed the back ridge of each chain around the tip of each toothpick. Use some glue to hold in place as necessary. Here's a close-up showing both the top and base of the basket. The top shows the crocheted chain in place and the cardboard base with some toothpicks and pony beads still visible.

    A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible. A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible.

    I made another finger crocheted chain and glued it to the base's ridge. I wanted to conceal the pony beads as much as possible; these were used as structural support rather than as embellishments. A piece of single strand yarn was used to wrap around the basket near its top. As shown in 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I filled my basket with a variety of whole nuts.

    Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop! Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop!

    What a perfect container for a small space -  but this one little extra container will add definition to any side table, countertop or shelf. I hope to have this basket for years to come. Oh, by the way; I still have that Girl Scout basket I made all those years (decades) ago in summer camp! Fiber art lives on to tell us stories and create memories. Make some art today - enjoy!


  • I Crocheted the Shells Beanie and I Want to Wear it for the Entire Winter!

    It is August and I have crocheted a slouchy hat with bulky weight yarn.

    I don't even mind.  The Shells Beanie from Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps is quick and easy and adorable and perfect for my sister's birthday present.  The chunky yarn made this warm and squishy project fly by like a dream.  I loved working the shells up with a big ol' J hook, and this took up just one skein of Wool-Ease Chunky (153 yards).

    And I have to confess: I skipped one row of shells because I was worried about running out of yarn.  This wound up saving the day, and the hat body is still plenty slouchy.  This is, I have decided, just the right amount of slouch.  You know what I mean.  Some hats barely have more room than a skullcap, and some hats look like they belong on elves!  This little hat has enough slouch to it to look casual and roomy, but not so much that it looks sloppy or that the wearer will have to worry about it being pulled of her head because of its own weight.

    Like I mentioned before, crocheting this hat was a little like making a granny square for a head.  And I love that idea far more than I should.  But it's so pretty and I love crocheting shells so much and this is truly a pretty little design.  The holes between between the shells let this bulky hat breathe a bit, but this crocheted fabric is thick enough to keep someone warm.  But stylishly warm!  This hat pattern feels so perfect, I bet its perfection can be proven by science!  Or math because, you know, of row counts and stuff.  I don't know. I was an English major!   But I'm also a crocheting hat-wearer and I  know that this is a great hat.

    Also, I think it kind of looks like a flower.  It reminds me of giant purple zinnias.  I love zinnias.  Just about any pattern that makes me think of flowers is a good pattern.  It's pretty without being too precious.  It's also going on my sister's head in just a short while and I'm going to miss it!  I really think I'm going to have to make another one for myself.  I don't think I'll use the same colorway, but there are plenty of other yarns out there to make me think of zinnias. 

    I'm just going to wait until it's no longer August to make one for myself.

  • WIP Wednesday: Crocheting a Bright and Bulky Dream Hat

    I'm crocheting the Shells Beanie from Crochet Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps!  It's a bright and bulky dream project.  Even if it does look a little like a hot pad from the 1970s right now.

    Which is a fine way to look, I must say.

    I'm using a J hook and a skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Jiffy that I hopes lasts me to the end of this hat.  It's a nice, squishy project with rows and rows of shells.  I love shells.  This is so close to feeling like I'm crocheting a large circular granny square hat that I smile every time I think about it. 


    I'm halfway through the body now, and I think I can finish this up over the weekend.  I'm not sure if this is going to go straight to my gift stash, or if I'll give this to my sister for her birthday next week.  But someone's going to love it, that's for sure!  It's been a while since I've crocheted a pattern from Crochet Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps, and I'm not sure why.  These patterns are lovely!  Cooler weather is just a couple of months away, and I want to make a few more patterns from this book before fall!  I love a good slouchy hat, and this hat in particular is just too dadgummed cute for me to not make it.  Hats are a great summer project. 


    Even though this summer has been beautifully not-terrible, I still have a hard time focusing on big cold-weather projects.  I bought the yarn for a sweater a month ago and haven't knitted anything other than a gauge swatch.  My plans for blankets?  Just plans.  All my lofty goals of baby booties and hats?  We don't have to talk about it!  It's summertime and the living's easy!  We're riding high on piles of zucchini and squash and flip flops and long, sunshiny days!  Cold weather crafting is the farthest thing from my mind.  But I know I'll need some warm hats and scarves in my gift stash soon enough. 


    This great bulky weight project is going to crochet up quickly and cutely.  I'm so happy my spellcheck didn't flag "cutely."  I like that word.  And I like this hat pattern. I can't wait to see it all worked up!

    Happy crafting!  And good luck with all of your works-in-progress!
  • Crocheting the Quick and Easy Twist Cowl: Now in Color!

    I love crocheting the Quick and Easy Twist pattern from Crochet Cowls.  Actually, I love crocheting every pattern I've tried from Crochet Cowls.  But the Quick and Easy Twist is really, incredibly, super fun and fantastic. 

    I've been trying to clear out some of my stash this summer (after a few frenzied incidents led to me nearly doubling it), and when I laid out my partial skeins of Lion Brand Thick & Quick, I knew these blues would look beautiful together. I love them.

    Cobalt, Navy, and Sky Blue.

    This is an incredibly quick project. The body is two rows worked flat over and over until your work measures the recommended length and then you twist the crocheted fabric and seam your ends together!

    Or, if you like, you can make it little shorter or even a lot longer. Regardless of its length, it probably won't take long to reach whatever length you choose because this is super bulky yarn crocheted with an N hook!  A simple pattern, big yarn, and a big hook?  This is some genuine fluffy crocheting.

    And that's some genuine fluffy knitting I did in that blanket for my youngest sister's wedding present. She's a bright colors kind of person. I like that about her.

    This sort of pattern is the perfect project for me to enjoy before or after tackling a pattern that is for something large, complicated, or just uses really lightweight yarn.  I love bulkier projects, and I love the look of this cowl.  I don't understand a lot about fashion, but this seems like a nice bold accessory to add to an outfit.  I gave my first version of this cowl to my sister last year, and she said it became her favorite accessory throughout the winter to dress up her 'casual new mom' outfits.

    And I made this cowl for our younger sister because she likes blue (and looks great in it!). So now she has a very, very blue cowl.  She always wears my cowls and scarves during the chillier months, and now I hope this cowl turns into one of her favorites.  It's certainly one of my favorite cowls to make!

  • Crocheting A Cowl of Many Colors


    I crocheted the cowl from the Toasty Set in Hats & Scarves.  This cowl is going to be incredibly toasty once cooler weather comes, I can assure you!

    The pattern calls for approximately 370 yards of any bulky weight yarn with an N hook, and the model in the book uses Lion Brand Homespun. I even tried that at first.  Y'all, I want to love Homespun so badly.  I really do.  But I can't crochet with it!  Knitting is okay, but crocheting is just not a good idea.  I can chain my stitches just fine, but once I start trying to find my stitches to crochet into it's all over.  This is how far I made it last time:

    Yup, that's a beginning chain. And nothing else.


    This time, I decided to use up some of the bits of Patons Roving instead.  You and I both know that Patons Roving is super bulky weight yarn, and so does the yarn page on Ravelry.  But!  The label will tell you it's merely bulky weight.  The label is a liar.  I was super surprised when I was halfway through the Garter Ridge Cowl at my knit night a few weeks ago--which calls for super bulky weight yarn and was knitting up just fine with #13 needles--and happened to notice that the yarn was labeled as being bulky weight.  I couldn't believe it, and neither could the other knitters at the table when I demanded they all check the label as well just so I could make sure I could trust my eyeballs.  So weird!

    Anyway!  I bet you could use either a bulky weight yarn or a super bulky weight yarn to crochet this.  As long as you've got a hook you're comfortable using (I had my N hook) and enough yarn, you can really do whatever you want.  This is made of eight rows of double crochet stitches worked in the round.  You can use all one color of yarn, or you can use a different color for every stripe!  It's a cowl!  There's not much that can go wrong as long as you don't run out of yarn! I used the remains of some skeins in Aran, Orchid, Pacific Teal, and whatever colorway the pumpkin-orange yarn is.  I thought they would look fun mixed together, and they do!


    It's also 100% wool, so this is fluffy and warm.  Whatever yarn you use, I would advise you to make sure it's good and fluffy.  This thing is large and you don't want to carry around too much weight!

    I think this is going to be a great accessory in the fall.  I could wear it alone, or layer it over a cardigan or jacket.  The teal keeps this from looking too stereotypically fall-esque.  It's warm and lovely and can be looped around THREE whole times if I want it to, and I'm pretty pleased with this cowl of many colors.  I'm sure it will bring me luck and happiness.*

    *With apologies to Dolly Parton for ripping her off a little bit.  And apologies to you if listening to that song made you cry the way it always makes me cry.  But I do always think of Dolly Parton's sweet and resourceful mama whenever I get the chance to use up every last bit of my resources to make something.

  • Knitting a Sweet Little Stash Buster. I Mean, Blanket.

    I have been knitting the Blue Striped Blanket pattern from Knit in a Day for Baby because I'm a sucker for a quick knit blanket that calls for super bulky yarn.  This is precious!

    A little back story: last week, I went by the Leisure Arts offices to pick up some yarn because sometimes I do that.  It's an awesome perk of the job......and an organizational nightmare.  Like most crafters faced with free supplies, I might have gotten a bit carried away.  Or a lot.  Or maybe you could say I got outright dumb.  I'm not here to argue semantics.  But I will concede that what seemed a only a tiny bit unreasonable as I was picking out skeins felt somewhat excessive as I was carrying the boxes to my car.  By the time I had two full-size boxes of yarn in the middle of my living room floor, I knew I had officially Made An Unwise Decision. 

    But!  Knitting and crocheting are great ways to use up yarn!  Who knew?!  Okay, we all knew.  And since I grabbed several partial skeins of Bernat Baby Blanket, a baby blanket seemed like a perfect (and painfully obvious) project!  This pattern calls for about 650 yards of super bulky weight yarn and #13 needles to create a blanket that is around 25" wide and 30" long. 


    Mine may be a bit shorter, but I think I have enough yardage for at least a square blanket.  I'm just knitting the border in yellow and using just one yarn for the body, instead of striping my border color with a contrast color. 

    You knit the sides in garter stitch and seam them to the body. Garter stitch!

    The Pitter Patter colorway (awwwww!) is a mix of yellow, white, pink, and blue that's so sweet it makes me want to smash a birthday cupcake into some vanilla ice cream.  That's what the yarn reminds me of, by the way.  It's sweet like sugar and happiness.  I think it's going to be a wonderful baby blanket.


    I have six baby blankets that I need to make in the next few months, and I've only finished one.  But since this is a blanket made with super bulky yarn and #13 needles (I keep mentioning this because it's music to my soul), I think I'll be adding this blanket to my gift stash next!  I obviously haven't knit this in a day, but I made it roughly one-third through in just a night.  And after a couple more evenings with this soft and squishy yarn and this straightforward pattern, I'll have five fewer skeins of yarn taking up space in my living room! 

    And a delightfully fluffy and soft baby blanket to give to some little baby who's sweet like sugar and happiness. I love it.

  • Knitting the Garter Ridge Cowl and Loving Everything About It

    I knitted the Garter Ridge cowl pattern from Knit Cowls and I don't know if I have enough space for all the good things I want to say about it!

    Firstly, there is quite a bit of garter stitch. I love garter stitch.

    Look at these stitches!  LOOK!

    Secondly, the pattern calls for super bulky weight yarn and #13 needles.  So fast!  So glorious!

    Also, this is worked flat and seamed together when you're finished.  Sometimes, I'm completely in the mood to work in the round.  But I wasn't when I cast on this project and knitting flat just sounded like the best idea in the world.

    And this is a dang fine stash-buster.  Whoa Nelly.  Stash.  Buster.

    The model in the book is knit with two skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, but I had some partial skeins of Patons Roving in Low Tide and Pacific Teal.  Yarn in colors that make me think about the ocean?!  That's fantastic!  I'm not sure why, but it just was.  Also, those two colors looked beautiful together.  I had some left over from when those two colors looked beautiful in an arm knit cowl and I thought the two colors would be lovely in a simple knit cowl.


    And they are.  This is a simply lovely cowl.  It was fun to work on, knit up quickly, and this is a fantastic addition to my gift stash.  Actually, it's a fantastic beginning to my gift stash.  I've been a little panicky once I had to flip the calendar over to June and started thinking about how close Christmas is and how unprepared I am.  Seriously, there are no scarves!  No cowls!  No hats!  No anything unless you count dishcloths!  And for the purposes of more personal gift-giving I am not!  This cowl is the first step in bulking up my gift stash, and it's an excellent place to start.

    And finally!  Another nice thing I'm going to say about this cowl pattern is that it would be a fantastic knit-in-public project.  It's World Wide Knit in Public Week!  I'm always a fan of knitting or crocheting in public, but it's fun to participate in something official.  If you're joining any local groups, or just initiating your own one-person consciousness-raising yarn event, this would be a fairly simple bit of knitting to work on as you patiently respond to statements like "I could never do that" or "What would it cost for you to make me a sweater?"

    Whether or not you can keep a straight face through that is solely up to you. But you will be able to knit your way through with this pattern.  Good luck and godspeed.

  • Finger Crocheting a Cowl

    I crocheted something from a knitting book!  Again!  This time I made the Finger Crochet cowl pattern from Learn to Arm Knit.  You know what they say: come for the arm knitting; stay for the finger crochet.

    No one says that.  At least, I hope no one actually says that.

    But, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that Learn to Arm Knit has a finger crochet tutorial and tips for making a cowl that looks like several loops of braided rope. 

    I mean that in the nicest way possible.  I used some Lion Brand Homespun with some Patons Classic Wool Roving left over from when I arm knitted a cowl


    I love how the blue and red look together, but I think using two similar colors would have looked better overall.  Oh well.  You live and learn and console yourself in the knowledge that you make another crocheted chain in thirty minutes or less.  By the way, the cowl is made by crocheting a long chain, and then wrapping it around yourself however you see fit.

    But first, you should play with it just because you can.

    Then you make sure your ends meet up and secure them with the extra long tail you leave yourself when you tie off your crocheting. 

    Stopping every so often to wrap yourself up like a Christmas tree can feel a bit silly, but I like this approach because store-bought infinity scarfs can be a bit long for me.  If you're under 5'4" or over 5'9" (or so my taller friends tells me), accessorizing with scarves and cowls can turn into a perilous undertaking in which you struggle with looking either completely buried in your clothing or like a kid who hasn't figured out how to tie a tie yet and you're wearing a small cowl when you wanted something drapey.  I think that's a big reason why I like making my own accessories so much.  Need a really long scarf?  Just keep going!  Want those mittens to be a different color?  Dig out the yarn!
      Interested in trying out finger crochet?  Then get those fingers going!

    That last part didn't make a lot of sense, but whatever.  Just try it.  It's kind of silly, but fun and quick and incredibly pretty!

  • A Few of My Favorite Things: Easter Projects!

    It's Easter Week!  I thought it would be fun to post a quick roundup of my favorite Easter patterns that I made this year.  There's still time left to make a few quick Easter projects and these are the projects I'm recommending!

    First up: crocheted Easter Eggs from the Treasury of Holiday Crochet.  They're quick, they're cute, and they're a fantastic way to use up scrap yarn.  There's also a pattern for an Easter basket!

    My favorite way to make something quickly is to also make it small.  It doesn't get much quicker than a baby hat.  The Bunny hat pattern from Hats & Diaper Covers is just too adorable.

    This is what the pattern is supposed to look like, if you want to get a little extra festive and fancy by putting a cute little bunny face on your hat.  It's so stinking adorable!

    But! You know what's faster to crochet than a baby hat?  A baby hat crocheted in super bulky weight yarn.  The Fluffy Lamb Hat  from Hats & Diaper Covers 2 is just about one of my favorite hats to ever make or see on my little girl's head.  I made this in about an hour with less than a skein of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.

    It's a simple little pattern, and it's a simple-looking hat.  I think the best part is the ears.  These sweet fluffy ears just tickle me to no end.  I don't know why I didn't make a dozen of these.  I could surely find a dozen babies to outfit in these hats and they would be the sweetest-looking babies ever. 

    I still have time.

    I haven't actually made the Easter Egg hat from Knit Hat for Babies, but I wish I had.  Somebody should!  Look at it!  There are little dots and they are adorable!  Look at it again!

    I don't know what the weather will be like next weekend, or if I could even wrestle my daughter or my nephew into this hat long enough to make the frenzied holiday knitting worth it, but I have to repeat myself:

    I still have time.

    I hope you do, too.

  • Learn to Arm Knit: A Video Tutorial

    So.  Arm knitting.  You might have heard of it, but if you haven't I'm telling you about it now and I'm telling you that it's officially a thing because there are books for it now like Learn to Arm Knit.  And!  There are video tutorials!  This one is fantastically comprehensive.


    I watched this video faithfully, with some pausing and rewinding in certain places, when I made pattern #14 from Learn to Arm Knit.  The booklet has very detailed and clear instructions with illustrations, but I'm more of a video-learner and this particular one was a life-saver.

    Big thanks to my husband for taking these pictures of me....without letting me know I look like a slob. The knitting looks good, though!

    Arm knitting is simple and pretty easy once you get the hang of it.  But before you get the hang of it, it can be a little daunting.  As an intermediate-level knitter and lifelong arm-haver, I thought this couldn't possibly be any easier.  But then I realized that both arms have to act like the active needle at different times, and that there's a right side and wrong side for arm knitting.  Enter this handy little video tutorial.  It was so great!

    If you're even a tiny bit interested in arm knitting, I suggest that you try it out because it is the quickest stash-buster I know of.  It's fast even than swapping your yarn, or bagging it up and donating it.  There are over 30 yarn combination suggestions in Learn to Arm Knit (with details on the yarn brand, colorway, and how many strands or skeins you'll need for each project) and they are gloriously quick projects that can use up your bulky and super bulky yarn. 


    I'm already eying some more of the yarns in my stash a little differently.  With some substitutions for brand or color, I could have a fantastic little gift stash of cowls all knitted up in an afternoon or so!

    I might have already started.....

    #29 with Lion Brand Homespun.

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