I was looking to purchase several skeins of yarn when I first encountered yarn bowls.
Initially, I had thought they were used to hold keys, pens, candles, and other small items. But when the store owner saw me curiously looking at them, he explained that these bowls weren’t just standard: they’re actually yarn bowls!
After getting one for myself, I didn’t realize what I was missing. It was as if a whole new world of opportunities opened up for me. The previously daunting task of unknotting my yarn couldn’t be any easier now!
In this post, I’ll be sharing what I believe to be the best yarn bowls available today. You’ll find models ranging from simple wooden pieces to gorgeous stoneware bowls. But before that, allow me to introduce some quick facts about yarn bowls!
Is a Yarn Bowl Useful?
Knitting is among the most relaxing hobbies that anyone can partake in. In fact, research shows that knitting not only brings you joy, but it also comes with a ton of mental and physical benefits. Some of these include reduced depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.
However, nothing breaks a knitting’s relaxation spell more than dropping your skein or having to stop your work just to unravel a tangled knot.
Yarn bowls are useful because they prevent just that. A lot of professional knitters believe they can’t work properly without a knitting bowl anymore, and I must say that I now feel the same.
The Science Behind Tangled Yarn
At first glance, a yarn bowl may not seem necessary. Some of my good friends say they don’t need one because they’re careful enough to prevent knotting before it happens.
But have you ever had to untangle a pair of earphones that you just inserted in your pocket three seconds earlier? Surely you have! So why do earphones (and other stringy objects) get knotted so fast? There’s actually a whole scientific explanation to it.
A study titled “The Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String” explains that, and I quote, “complex knots often form within seconds.” It also proves that the longer the string, the more likely it is to get all knotted up.
This means that yarn is a prime candidate for tangles and knots!
So, no matter how much you believe you can control yarn’s knots, there are times where it just tangles up by itself. It’s just how the world works. It’s physics!
Reasons Why You Should Use a Yarn Bowl
Is a yarn bowl useful? Yes, I sincerely believe it is! Here are some of the most important benefits of a yarn bowl:
- Provides a convenient place to store your skein
- Makes sure the yarn doesn’t tangle and knot
- Prevents yarn from rolling and bouncing while you’re knitting or crocheting
- Protects the yarn from getting damaged or dirty
- Keeps an unfinished project on standby
- Makes for a unique decorative piece
How Does a Yarn Bowl Work?
The design of a yarn bowl is actually quite simple, but nonetheless effective.
Yarn bowls are made with “guides” or cut-outs of curved slots, hooks, or holes. That’s where your yarn passes through.
The strand will smoothly go through the guides as you pull, while your yarn stays safely rolled in the bowl without tangling or bouncing around.
The bowl will also give you enough leverage to pull out the yarn strand using only one hand. And because of its fairly heavy design, you won’t have to worry about it lifting off the table.
By default, yarn bowls come with a single hole. But you can find bowls with multiple holes that allow you to work with several strands of yarn at the same time.
What Size Yarn Bowl Is Best?
Yarn bowls come as small, medium, or large. The average yarn bowl measures about 6-8 inches wide and 3-4 inches tall, which is classified in the “medium” range.
The best yarn bowl size depends upon your preference. I personally like using medium yarn bowls because they can fit 2-3 skeins of yarn at a time, just in case I need to add more color to my project.
Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out the ideal yarn bowl size for you:
- Small: Usually under 5.5 inches wide. These bowls are best used for knitting small projects such as socks, mittens, dollies, and doll clothes.
- Medium: Between 5.5 – 6.5 inches wide. They’re best used for knitting baby clothes, scarves, and small to medium-sized sweaters.
- Large: between 6.5 – 8.5 inches wide. Large bowls are best used for knitting large projects such as dresses, rugs, blankets, and throw-overs.
Another thing to consider is your yarn’s weight. If you work with lace or fingering yarn, you can use just about any bowl, regardless of the size. On the other hand, if you use DK or chunky yarn, it’s best to look for large or extra-large bowls so it can provide sufficient support.
And naturally, you’ll want to pick a bowl that’s slightly larger in diameter than the largest yarn you own. This way, the yarn can freely move around and spin in the bowl.
What Is the Best Quality Yarn?
Speaking of yarn weight, what is the best quality yarn? The answer depends on two things: the project you’re making, and the fiber you want to use.
If you’re making dollies and other intricate lace designs, consider Bergere de France. They have an extensive collection of some of the best lace yarns manufactured in France.
For faux fur projects, Bernat Pipsqueak is my favorite yarn brand to use.
My top pick for the best overall quality yarn, however, is the Bernat’s Softee Yarn. This is primarily because their yarns are thick, soft and 100% acrylic. As such, the yarns from Barnat’s Softee are suitable for every project.
The 10 Best Yarn Bowls: Untangle Your Yarn for Good
Now that we’ve covered some facts about yarn bowls, you’re now ready to grab yourself a yarn bowl! Without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite yarn bowls of all time.
1. Hind Handicrafts Aluminium Yarn Bowl: Best Overall
Hind Handicrafts Aluminium Yarn Bowl is one of the most, if not the most, solid and durable yarns bowls out there. It’s heavy enough to resist slippage but light enough to pack for travels.
It has a beautiful matte finish and is decorated with silver engravings. Available in either matte pink or matte black, this yarn bowls makes for a great adornment even for non-knitters.
Because it’s made entirely from aluminum, it’s much smoother than wooden bowls. Yarn won’t ever snag with the Hind Handicrafts yarn bowl!
- Made of high-quality aluminum that’ll last years
- Beautiful matte design
- Smooth finish to prevent snagging
- Despite being heavy, it doesn’t have rubber feet. So it may slide when placed on top of tables
2. Knit Picks Yarn Bowl: Best Classic Bowl
Made with tropical mango wood, this yarn bowl provides a subtle vintage depth to the classic walnut stain. The wood finish is smooth inside and outside to protect your yarn from accidental damage.
This yarn bowl has a simple, yet gorgeous design. It weighs 12 oz, and measures 5” in width and 3.5” in height. It also comes with a tapered opening that secures the yarn well inside in the bowl.
- Authentic wood design
- Smooth surface
- Works well for small to medium knitting projects
- Handmade by professional artisans
- Isn’t suitable for big projects
3. Neat Knit Natural Handmade Wooden Bowl: Best Value
The Neat Knit yarn bowl is carefully handcrafted by some of the best artisans out there.
Made from all-natural wood with no paint, odor, or other chemicals, this yarn bowl is perfect for those who have allergies and the like.
If you love designing your own work, the Neat Knit comes with entirely raw nature. As such, you can paint it yourself according to your taste!
Best of all, this bowl comes with a free bag that’s large enough to hold all your knitting supplies. This bag is supremely durable and is covered with funny, cute designs.
- All-natural and handmade
- Comes with a yarn bag
- Attractive and functional
- Isn’t perfectly smooth
4. BambooMN Square Bamboo Yarn Bowl with Removable Lid: Most Unique Design
If you’re searching for something a little different, you’ll need to take a look at the BambooMN Yarn Bowl. Unlike typical yarn bowls, this one’s square in shape and comes with a lid!
The BambooMN Yarn Bowl stands at an even 6″ x 6″ x 6″, and can comfortably accept skeins of up to 100 g. With the lid off, it’ll be able to hold even larger balls of yarn.
It comes with 3 color options, including brown, beige, and tiger stripes. I personally adore the natural brown aesthetic. Truthfully, I can see myself buying this box even if I don’t knit!
- Unique square design
- Much more stable than conventional yarn bowls
- Fits as home decor
- Prone to cracks over time
- Not suitable for large knitting projects
5. Abhandicrafts Ceramic Brown Yarn Bowl: Best Ceramic Yarn Bowl
When I first saw this yarn bowl, I knew I had to get one for myself. I thought it was too beautiful to use — and because I don’t trust my clumsy handling, it now sits as a decorative piece inside my china cabinet as a candle holder.
Abhandicrafts’s ceramic yarn bowl is exquisitely handcrafted in India. It’s made with gorgeous floral patterns and has a smooth, shiny glaze. The edges are smooth so the yarn doesn’t get frayed or caught.
This bowl is beautiful, functional, and, most importantly, it’s inexpensive. What’s not to like?
- Rubber feet prevent it from sliding across the table
- Great decor piece
- Smooth surface
- Might break easily
- At 6″ x 4″, it’s a bit small
6.Yarn Valet Yarn bowl: Best Plastic Yarn Bowl
The Yarn Valet yarn bowl is a classic among the knitting community. Although it isn’t as “beautiful” as the rest of the bowls on this list, it’s sturdy, lightweight, and crafted with nearly unbreakable ABS plastic construction.
If you accidentally drop it, it won’t shatter into pieces like how a ceramic bowl would. Plus, because it’s so light, it’s ideal to use during road trips or long travels.
To prevent the bowl from slipping away, Yarn Valet made sure to equip it with a rubberized, non-slip bottom. It also features two yarn slots: a primary slot at the top for standard yarns, and a lower opening for loftier ones.
- Sturdy, lightweight, and functional
- Classic design
- Stays steady on the table
- Measures 6” x 3” x 6”, which is suitable for small to medium projects
- Looks plain
7. Nagina International Rosewood Yarn Bowl: Best Wooden Yarn Bowl
Nagina International prides itself on creating some of the world’s “greatest nautical decor,” and that doesn’t seem to be too far from the truth.
The attention to detail while designing this yarn bowl is impressive. It’s made from 100% natural rosewood and comes with a hand-carved veil band across its circumference. Available in three sizes (small, medium, and large) with a heavy base, this yarn bowl can only be described as a work of art.
Nagina International achieves its shiny finish with the use of clear lacquer and polyurethane lead-free coating. This means that not only will it stay glossy for a long time, but you also won’t have to worry about yarn snagging on the bowl during knitting.
- Comes in 3 sizes with different unique designs
- Impressive attention to detail
- The solid base prevents unnecessary drag
- Fairly expensive compared to other bowls
8. Nagina International Ceramic Hand Painted Yarn Bowl: Most Aesthetically Pleasing
If you’re not a big fan of the Nagina International’s rosewood, you’ll surely adore their selection of hand-painted ceramic bowls. With up to 10 pieces of different designs and colors to choose from, this high-gloss yarn bowl will make for a great conversation starter.
Just like their rosewood alternatives, Nagina Internation’s ceramic bowls are made with a sturdy, heavy base to prevent it from slipping and sliding. Although it’s fragile, it won’t shatter unless you load it with more than 100 pounds, or accidentally drop it on a tiled surface.
- Plenty of design options
- Makes for a great piece of decoration
- Attractive glossy finish
- Comes in three sizes
- A bit expensive
- Breaks easily when not taken care of
9. I Crochet So I Don’t Choke People Yarn Bowl: Best for Gifts
If you’re looking for a yarn bowl with a unique, funny logo design, consider getting yourself a yarn bowl from Lennymund!
I got one for my sister as a gift last year. It cleverly says, “I Crochet So I Don’t Choke People,” to which she chuckled at and even agreed. The company offers other creative designs as well, including “T-Rex Can’t Knit” and “Knitty Cats”.
Material-wise, Lennymund makes their yarn bowls with stoneware clay that’s kiln fired twice to over 1900°F. It’s about 6.25 inches wide and 3.5 inches deep, which is suitable enough to hold small to medium-sized yarn balls.
- Cute and funny design options
- Durable construction
- Wool release hook makes it easy to remove and add yarn
- Makes for a great gift
- Smooth finish
- Vulnerable to cracks
10. Evovee Unicorn Yarn Bowl for Knitting: Best Yarn Bowl for Big Projects
The adorable unicorn design of the Evovee yarn bowl will surely brighten any knitter’s day. Crafted with care and beautifully glazed, this bowl has an extremely smooth finish on which your yarn won’t snag.
Made of premium-grade ceramic, this yarn bowl is one of the largest available options in the world of knitting. From horn to tail, it measures 8.5 inches wide!
At 1.5 pounds, it’s quite heavy. But that isn’t particularly a bad thing. In fact, its heavyweight design keeps the bowl from topping over while you’re working.
- Beautifully hand-painted design
- Has a smooth, snag-free finish
- Made with high-quality ceramic
- Makes for a great gift
- Isn’t ideal to bring during travels
- As it’s made of ceramic, it might shatter if you’re not careful
Yarn Bowl Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider Before Getting Yourself a New Yarn Bowl
A quick google search will give you a huge variety of yarn bowls to choose from. But you can’t just buy a yarn bowl based on how beautiful it looks; it needs to meet certain criteria so it’ll stay and help you for years. Below are some of my top tips to consider before buying the right bowl for you!
Yarn bowls can be made of ceramic, heated clay, stone, wood, and even plastic. In all cases, it’s best to choose a yarn bowl with a durable construction.
If you have children, pets, or are prone to accidentally dropping things like I am, I recommend buying either plastic or wooden yarn bowls.
Wooden bowls are lightweight, durable, eco-friendly, and low-maintenance. They come with classy designs that’ll fit whatever furniture you have in the house.
Plastic bowls aren’t as beautiful or decorative as the rest of the materials mentioned, but they’re cheap, sturdy, and practical. They’ll stay with you for years before they need to be replaced. In some cases, you may not need to replace them at all.
Stone, Ceramic, or Heated Clay Bowls
If you’re looking for a decorative piece and don’t mind being a little extra careful with handling, go for stone, ceramic, or heated clay yarn bowls.
These bowls often come with beautifully unique designs and can serve as a great conversation starter.
Performance-wise, they’re all about the same. So it all comes down to your personal preferences.
Size and Height
When buying a yarn bowl, it’s important to buy one that has the appropriate size and height for your project. It should be big enough for the yarn ball to roll and spin inside.
As for height, I recommend getting something with at least 3/4 the height of your yarn ball. If it’s too shallow, you’ll have to constantly worry about the yarn flying out of the bowl. Collared or high-walled yarn bowls would work best in that case.
Because we’re working with yarn, even the smallest rough edge can catch and fray the fabric. As such, the smoothness of the yarn bowl is vital. Make sure that the bowl you’re getting is entirely smooth, especially the “guide” or the slot from which the yarn strand extends.
Weight and Base
A yarn bowl doesn’t need to be extremely heavy, but it needs to have sufficient weight to stay in place while you’re working.
As for the base, it should be wide enough so that it won’t tip over when your yarn is spinning around the bowl.
Yarn Bowl Holes
Yarn bowls come with either a single hole or multiple holes.
Yarn bowls with extra holes make it easier to knit with multiple strands of yarn at the same time. So if you’re big on colorful projects, consider getting yourself a bowl with more than one hole. Plus, these cut-outs can be used to store your needles when not in use.
Once you’ve found a bowl that meets all your basic requirements, all that remains is the design.
Personal preference is key here. I personally adore the handcrafted look of wooden yarn bowls. Look through the variety of colors, shapes, and designs available, and you’ll surely find one you fancy more than the others.
A yarn bowl changes your knitting or crocheting experience for the better. With this, you’ll never have to worry about tangling your skeins anymore.
My top pick for the best yarn bowls is the Hind Handicrafts Aluminium Yarn Bowl. Although it’s not as “artsy” as its ceramic and wooden counterparts, it’s strong, sturdy, and functional.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my toddler however, that is typically a challenge with her limited attention span, messiness, and desire to always have clean hands. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for the both of us.