One of my favorite things to make and one of my best-sellers in the humble Yarn Bowl. These beautiful bowls are the perfect gift for anyone who works with yarn. They always seem to sell very well at fairs and shows because they are unique and pretty.
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I am sure there are millions of different ways to make these functional Yarn Bowls but today I am going to share with you MY way. Where you go from here is up to you!!
So let’s go make a Yarn Bowl
Are you not sure what a Yarn Bowl is and what its used for? Check out my Yarn Bowl Post. Looking to buy a yarn bowl? I list them on Etsy here.
I use mid-fire clay with some body to it but you want to be sure that your clay doesn’t contain too much grit. The swoop the yarn feeds through should be smooth so that the yarn doesn’t catch. Gritty clay will make it hard to have a lovely smooth surface.
Measure out your clay. For the Yarn Bowls I make I use 2 lb.4 oz. of clay. The walls of my pieces are generally about 1/4″ and I like to make my Yarn Bowls fairly robust so that they don’t tip or move easily when the end user tugs on the yarn.
For the same reason we will be throwing a bowl with a wide, thick bottom. Remember that when these yarn bowls are used the yarn worker will be pulling on the yarn so having a wide, bottom heavy bowl will keep it more stable and less likely to tip over.
Center the Ball on the wheel and flatten it into a tuna can shape that is about 4.5″ wide. Open it about 3.5″ leaving 1/2 inch base for making a foot ring
Pull up the walls into a into a shape that you like. This will be your personal preference but here is a photo of the shape I prefer. The final shape I am going for measures out to 6 1/4″ wide at the rim and 4″ tall. One of my favorite tools (and the one that is usually lost or misplaced) is a chop stick that I marked out in 1″ increments. This simple tool is super handy.
The inside bottom of my bowls ends up being abut 4″. I add the swirl at the very end
Let the Yarn Bowl Stiffen up and become leather hard.
Cutting the swoop
I prefer to cut the swoop when the bowl has stiffened up to a firm leather hard. You want it to be stiff enough to not wiggle or distort when you are cutting it out. At the same time it still has to be soft enough for a craft knife to cleanly cut.
I have found that it is NOT necessary to have a sharp blade on the craft knife. In fact, I prefer my blade to be dull. It cuts through the clay really well and I don’t worry as much about it slipping and cutting me. I use an X-Acto knife but any craft type knife will do.
I always start with the Yarn Bowl hole.
The drill bit I like the most is a weird size. I don’t even know where I found it but it’s 23/64. This size is smaller than the larger of the clay hole maker.
Once I make the hole I use my craft knife to gently draw the lines in the clay where I want my swoop to be. I am very gentle and barely scratch the surface when I am doing this so that I can “erase” the line if I don’t like it.
When I am pleased with my swoop I cut the swoop out. If my clay is the perfect hard Leather dry, I will be able to cut all the way through the clay. If the clay is too soft and the walls move I do suggest waiting some more until the walls of the bowl are no longer soft and pliable but you can still score and cut it. Cutting the clay when its too soft may cause the bowl to deform in the kiln if the swoop moves when you are cutting it.
You can clean up your cut a bit if its not to your liking by gently shaving the swoop with your craft knife. Normally I don’t remove all the bits and pieces, nor do I smooth the edges, until the next day when the bowl is dried even more. I do my best to not handle the swoop too much to avoid kiln distortion.
I hope this article helps you in making Yarn Bowls!! Please feel free to ask questions, leave comments and share this post with anyone who you think would be interested
A few years back I decided to up my online game by taking better photos. At the time Nikon offered the D3400. I never regretted that purchase. Its a lower end Nikon but has some great features. One of my favorite features is that the camera connects via Bluetooth to my phone which I have set up to automatically upload to Google Photos so they are easy to download to my PC or adjust on my phone and upload to Etsy.
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