Big Beautiful Bulky Yarn

In Knitscene Spring 2015, we reviewed some big, beautiful, bulky yarns. Bulky yarns aren't always the obvious choice—the large, unwieldy knitting needles can be intimidating in a "you'll poke your eye out" kind of way, and the yarn can seem tricky to tension. But nothing beats bulky yarn for quick, cozy, and warm projects. Our review gives a basic overview of these yarns, but we thought it would be helpful to see them knit up.

Each swatch consists of 20 stitches worked in stockinette stitch for 20 rows. We used the suggested needle size listed in the magazine, with one exception, to give you an idea of what your projects might look like when worked up in one of these yarns. As always and with every yarn, you should do a gauge swatch to make sure you are achieving your desired gauge.

 

DEBBIE BLISS ROMA distributed by Knitting Fever.

Finished unblocked gauge: 10½ sts and 13½ rows = 4" in St st on size 13 needles

This is our one exception yarn—the website says US size 17 needle, but the ball band says US size 13. We printed the US size 17 in the magazine but for knitting this swatch, I used a size 13. I started knitting it with a US 17 and the fabric was a nice and drapey, if a little looser than what I might have liked, but would make for a lovely shawl. This blend of wool and alpaca is SO SQUISHY. I felt like this while I was knitting my swatch.

 

BLACKER YARNS PURE MANX LOAGHTAN WOOL

Finished unblocked gauge: 12½ sts and 18 rows = 4" in St st on size 10 needles

This yarn has an awesome backstory—the Manx Loaghtan sheep is native to the Isle of Man, a primitive breed that neared extinction in the 1950s but is making a come back thanks to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. If you're interested in the breed, read more on Wikipedia (and here's a video of them being all cute and fluffy too). This is the lightest yarn in our round-up—Laura knit her swatch on US size 10 needles. The fabric reminds me a bit of a Icelandic lopi yarn but without all the guard hairs you'll find in that style. This yarn would give amazing stitch definition in cables!

 

APPLE CREEK CHUNKY YARN distributed by The Bagsmith

Finished unblocked gauge: 8 sts and 11 rows = 4" in St st on size 15 needles

This is an incredible singles yarn that Joni knit on US size 15 (suggested needle size is US 15—19). It's mostly fluffy merino with just a hint of silk shimmer laced throughout. Joni's working on knitting a cowl with this yarn so she'll have more to say about it when she talks abut her cowl. But if you're interested in yarn for quick knitting, especially arm knitting, this is a great contender, as is the Bagsmith's bumps.

 

TAHKI YARNS JUMBO distributed by Tahki-Stacy Charles Inc.

Finished unblocked gauge: 7 sts and 11 rows = 4" in St st on size 15 needles

I'm not going to lie—one of the reasons I wanted to include this yarn is because I love that it comes with a pompom. But not just any old pompom, no, these pompoms are made in animal prints and they just kill me. I totally intend to make this free hat pattern from Tahki with this yarn and pompom combination. This yarn is one of the biggest featured in this review, and thus has the biggest gauge, making for incredibly quick-to-knit projects. I think this swatch took maybe 10 minutes. The trickiest part was making sure all 20 stitches would fit on the straight needles!

 

MISTI ALPACA CHUNKY

Finished unblocked gauge: 14 sts and 18 rows = 4" in St st on US size 10

Lindsay knit up this swatch and was really impressed with the evenness of the yarn. The two-ply structure adds a bit of stability while keeping the drape alpaca is known for, giving this yarn nice, soft stitch definition. Knit on the recommended US size 10 needles, this swatch is kind of like a tiny little cloud of alpaca squishiness. We chose a natural color for our review, but one of the best things about this yarn is the wide range of colors available!

 

ERIKA KNIGHT MAXI WOOL distributed by Bluewater Fibers

Finished unblocked gauge: 7 sts and 9 rows = 4" in St st on US size 17

Joni loved knitting this swatch, though she said when she knits a project out of this yarn, she'd probably use a smaller needle. We listed a suggested needle size of US 15 to US 17, and Joni had 17s handy so that's what she used. The resulting fabric is light, airy, and open, perfect for a cowl or shawl, but for something more substantial you'd want a smaller needle size and a tighter gauge. Joni also couldn't stop talking about how soft this yarn was, and was surprised to find it's 100% wool.

 

LION BRAND LB COLLECTION NATURAL WOOL

Finished unblocked gauge: 7 sts and 10 rows = 4" in St st on US size 17

I was really curious to see how this yarn would knit up, being a singles yarn with a wool thread binder. Hannah worked up this swatch for us, and I really like how it turned out. Sometimes, I've found, binder threads add a little too much texture to a yarn in the finished product but this swatch, while slightly pebbly, is a great fabric. The binder thread adds a bit of dimension to the color, and would probably look slightly tweedy from afar.  

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