Monday, 24 March 2014

Yarn review: Super Chunky

It seems somehow silly posting about Super Chunky yarn when the sun is shining and I'm currently enjoying the heady scent of a teapot full of daffodils on my kitchen table. But throughout the winter months, I became addicted to Super Chunky yarns. It seems even sillier to harbour such an addiction throughout such a mild (albeit very wet) winter here in the UK, but an addiction I have had, luckily broken by the warm sunshine March has thusfar provided, encouraging me back to my beloved cotton stash. Having knitted no less than six of Anna Wilkinson's chunky bobble hats, I collected up a few different types of super chunky yarn, some of which I still have in my stash. (what's a stash without odds and ends of odd yarns?)

I do love a super chunky. It knits and crochets up so quickly, and has a gorgeous textural finish. The stitch definition is part of its charm, and particularly love knitted garter stitch in a super chunky yarn.

Here's my round-up of some the yarns I've recently been working with...

(Clockwise, from top)
Erika Knight Maxi Wool: 100 per cent wool, 100g Ball/80m
The colours and textures of Erika Knight's collection of beautiful British yarns are just second to none. This particular colour, Artisan, is more of a chartreuse/taupe than the mustard some websites show, but it's truly stunning to look at and work with. You get a lot to each hank, and it feels like utter luxury to knit with- so soft and lovely. It has a gorgeous drape, so perhaps unsuitable for stiffer projects like rugs, but perfect for soft, wearable garments- which is what Erika no doubt had in mind when choosing this particular yarn for her collection. I used it in my own bobble hat. I am still waiting for the very cold weather so I can wear my gorgeous neon pink/artisan creation! I think there's 10% off Erika Knight yarns at Deramores at the moment, if that's helpful, just enter ERIKA10 at the checkout.

Patons Big Fab Super Chunky: 100 per cent acrylic, 200g ball/120m
This huge 200g ball of super chunky yarn is incredible value, but it's really the colours that attracted me to this yarn when it was on sale in Hobbycraft a year or so ago. I love neon colours at the moment, and the range includes several neon shades. The yarn is VERY thick, I'd recommend a 12mm hook or needles, as I found it a little stiff for the hats, which were knitted on a 10mm circular needle. It would be a fantastic yarn for crocheting or knitting rugs as it's so thick and relatively cheap. However, as you'd expect from an acrylic, it is a little scratchy and has that weird acrylic sheen. (By the way, HOW hard is it to photograph neon?!)

Rowan Big Wool: 100 per cent wool, 100g ball/80m
I'll admit it, this one is my favourite. I've long been a fan of Rowan Big Wool, it's so soft and thick and warm for winter, and as you'd expect from Rowan, fantastic quality. The range of shades available is gorgeous, and I even love handling the neat squashed balls before I unwrap the yarn band and dive in. I can't fault it. I used it for my Chunky Ribbed Cowl, and wore it all winter. It hasn't shown much pilling at all and was really soft next to my neck.

Stylecraft Life Super Chunky: 75 per cent acrylic/25 per cent wool, 100g Ball/80m
I've been using this super chunky for a few years now, and as always with Stylecraft, I'm super impressed with this acrylic/wool mix. It's suprisingly soft when knitted or crocheted and has lovely drape with none of the stiffness associated with cheap acrylic yarns. At £3.19 a ball it's incredible value, though the colour palette is pretty limited to dull, wintery tones. I really think this a super one to have in your stash, though I wish there were some bright colours to add a flash of colour to a winter outfit. It also washed up superbly and my husband loved the hat I knitted for him in this for his birthday late last year.
Of course there are plenty of super chunky yarns on the market, this is just a selection I have used this winter. Another great value yarn that is supposedly very good is Sirdar Big Softie. I tend to prefer natural wool these days, and I'm always looking out for beautiful colours.

I recently tried out using a novelty scarf yarn as a straight super chunky, and was pleased with the textural result and variegated colours. Katia Rocio Plus has a cute tiny pom pom in it, with a lacy tape you can stretch out to make an interesting addition to your work, for a vintage vibe. I made up this little bag with two skeins that came in a kit from City Knits (the online arm of Christine's yarn shop in Birmingham), and it's a perfect little project bag or gift for my MIL.
I've also been playing with HooplaYarn- a jersey yarn that's rescued from the selvage of t-shirt manufacture in Banglasdesh. It has a great stretch and comes in fab colours- though be aware that they change regularly thanks to the upcycled nature of the yarn. I've made this rug with a 100mm hook, adapting the pattern of one my doily designs from 500 Crochet Blocks.

Another favourite project of mine was this gorgeous garter stitch knitted cushion I made with Rowan Big Wool. I love this monochrome palette. I back the cover with fabric and it fastens with huge toggles- perfect!

I think it's safe to say that I love super chunky yarn, and the possibilities it brings. Have you tried any super chunky yarns? What do you love to use, and what do you recommend to try? I have a yarn board over on Pinterest and am dying to spam everyone's feeds with your suggestions for perfect super chunky yarns.

Anyways, it's taken me three hours to write this (and about three months- I photographed these in December!) and the kids are driving me bonkers. Time for soft play and a HUGE coffee I think. I'm rather ambitiously going to take my knitting. It will lie abandoned in my bag I'm sure but one can hope, right?


  1. I'm a fan of Rowan Big Wool. It really is the most amazing yarn, although, I only use it for small projects as the price of it makes me shake! Love your makes especially your floor rug.

    Take care

    Vanessa xxxx

  2. Helloooo!
    I love a good chunky yarn my biggest hook is approx 18mm! and gosh the work grows super quick, all done by bed time. Your cushion and rug are inspiring.
    Loving the colour palettes.
    My arm aches when I work with the t-sht yarn does yours??
    bestest daisy j x

  3. Oh, I too am blogging in an alarmingly seasonally inappropriate manner! I do keep admiring the Erika Knight wool, tho yet to use. The colours look dreamy. And I have a love of Rowan big wool, gorgeous for wooly makes...

  4. Isn't chunky the loveliest?! I can't wait to show you what I've been designing with some Rowan Big Wool, it's such scrumptious yarn!Oh god, yes Daisy, my hands really do not like working with the t-shirt yarn. I put up with it because the finished result is so good!


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