Are you in the middle of six projects you feel like you will never finish? Are you a lace-weight or worsted-weight knitter who wants to expand your knitting horizons? The answer may be as plain as the nose on your face; one great solution is to pick up a skein or two of super-bulky-weight yarn.
Yarn is internationally classified into seven weight categories, ranging from 0 to 6, with 6 being the heaviest-weight yarn. Super bulky yarn generally produces only one to two stitches per inch, and the needle size required is often a size 17 or larger. These two appealing qualities make this yarn ideal for quick, simple projects. Examples of yarn in this class are Berroco Link, Ella Rae Mega, and Tahki Big Montana.
Since yarns in this class are often spun loosely (if at all) and made of at least 50% animal fiber, it tends to be pliable and soft. Super bulky yarn is an excellent choice for winter hats, cowls, and slippers, and the knitted projects tend to be worked quickly, since there are fewer stitches per inch.
One challenge with super bulky yarn is getting used to the needle size. If you are used to using needles smaller than a size 10, and you want to try using needles in size 19 or larger, some practice and coordination may be in order. Holding size 35 needles may take some getting used to, and being consistent with your stitches may not happen on the first row. The good news is that most super bulky yarns are excellent for ripping out without getting too fuzzy.
If you are not comfortable practicing with your project yarn, however, there are a few other ways to practice knitting on large needles. One of them is by using yarn from your practice stash. You don’t have one? Accumulating a small practice stash is a great idea for any knitter, and it involves both keeping small amounts of yarn you have used in the past, and purchasing (or inheriting, as many of us have) acrylic yarns, which hold their shape after being ripped out multiple times. By accumulating a small collection of various animal-fiber yarns and an array of acrylics, you will always have the right yarn to practice stitch patterns and techniques at the drop of a hat.
To ease your way into super-bulky knitting, start with size 15 needles and work your way up. A quick and easy first super-bulky knit is the Garter Stitch Shrug, made with Ella Rae Mega and knitted in alternating knit and purl rows. Some people have difficulty using circular needles in large sizes, but there are plenty of patterns which call for straight needles as well. One such pattern is the Wink Scarf by Berroco, which requires both knitting and purling. No matter what you choose, you will find that the yarn disappears instantly, and a finished project appears just as instantly. Go outside of your knitting box to try some big-needle knitting when you want to try something new and finish in a hurry.