Use this guide to find the right yarn bowl for you and your projects. Learn about the advantages of using a yarn bowl and the differences between plastic, ceramic, and wooden yarn bowls.
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What is a Yarn Bowl?
A yarn bowl is a bowl that keeps your yarn contained while you knit or crochet. They’re sometimes referred to as “knitting bowls” or “yarn holders.”
If you’re a knitter or crocheter, you know it can often feel as though your ball of yarn has a mind of it’s own! It rolls around, falls off your works surface, and unravels. It can be quite frustrating to manage the ball of yarn while you’re trying to make your project. This is where a yarn bowl comes in handy – it keeps your ball of yarn tidy and in one place so you don’t have to worry about it!
I was gifted this ceramic yarn bowl a few years ago and have never not used one since. I cannot recommend them enough so if you work with yarn, definitely get one (or multiple!). I also recommend them in best craft gifts and best gifts for crocheters and knitters.
What's the Difference Between a Yarn Bowl and a Regular Bowl?
Yarn bowls have an open swirl at the top of the bowl, going along the side. This swirl holds your yarn while you work. Sometimes there is also at least one hole which can be used for extra security. You can use either option to hold your yarn, but this part is the key difference between a yarn bowl and a regular bowl.
If you were to put your yarn in a regular bowl, the ball of yarn will bounce around in the bowl, and likely fall out. This is because the yarn is getting pulled along the top of the bowl. However, with a yarn bowl, the yarn comes through the side of the bowl, keeping the ball of yarn contained within the bowl.
Furthermore, the bowl is typically wider at the bottom than it is at the top to help keep the yarn towards the bottom of the bowl.
How to Choose a Yarn Bowl
While it may seem as though all yarn bowls are the same, there are actually a few factors you’ll still want to consider:
Difference in Sizes of Yarn Bowls
Yarn bowls come in various sizes so the first thing you want to think about is how big of a bowl you need. Larger bowls will hold more yarn, but they’ll also take up more space. On the other hand, small knitting bowls don’t need as much room, but you also can’t hold as much yarn.
Therefore you want to consider the yarn you’re using for a project – is it a very large skein? Then you’ll need a larger bowl. Do you need to use multiple balls of yarn at once like I did while making the reversible beanie? Then you again need a larger bowl to allow for all of the balls of yarn to move around.
However, if you are using a single average-sized ball of yarn at a time for your projects, you can get away with having a smaller yarn bowl (like I did with my loom knit hat and while making pom poms).
Yarn Bowl Weight
The weight of a yarn holder is important for two reasons – portability and being able to contain your yarn while you work. The lighter the bowl the easier it is to move around from place to place. However, this also means while you’re working the bowl is easier to move. This is less of a concern if you’re an average knitter or crocheter since the yarn won’t bounce around as much.
However, if you’re knitting with a knitting machine, for example, then your yarn will bounce around a lot and actually push your bowl with it. Therefore if you’re going to use a machine to knit, then you’ll want a heavier bowl (such as a ceramic yarn bowl).
Yarn Bowl Portability
Something else to consider when choosing a yarn bowl is how portable you need it to be. Do you often knit while traveling or do you typically just knit at home? Some yarn holders are built for travel so you’ll want to choose one of those if you travel a lot. On the flip side, if you travel I would not recommend getting a heavy ceramic bowl – while they might be beautiful, they can be cumbersome to move around.
Yarn Bowl Features
In terms of features, you need to decide whether you need a hole in the bowl and possibly if you want to use multiple yarns at once, you’ll need a knitting bowl with multiple holes. Some even come with lids for extra security.
Don’t forget to pin it so you can come back to it later!
Best Yarn Bowl in Each Category
To make it easy to choose the right yarn bowl for you, I’ve created this list of the best yarn bowls in each category. Or you can continue scrolling to read more about each one.
You’ll notice none of the bowls I recommend do not have a spiral opening. This is because I simply can’t recommend a knitting bowl that requires you to keep the yarn in it and only use a hole to feed the yarn through.
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Wooden Yarn Bowls
The advantage to wooden yarn bowls is they’re durable, typically on the lighter side, and they’re simply beautiful.
Laborwood Yarn Bowl
This is a beautiful, simple wooden bowl. The main advantage to this one is the holes and spiral opening are larger than most so it can fit thicker yarn. Therefore if you tend to use thick yarns, this is the one I recommend using. It has a 7″ diameter and is 4″ tall.
Ceramic Yarn Bowls
These will be your heaviest bowls so if you want something that won’t move, these are the ones to get. Just be sure not to drop it!
Milltown Merchants Bowl
This adorable bowl is made by Milltown Merchants and has a fun whimsical vibe with the offset spiral opening. It’s on the smaller side at 4″ tall and a 5″ diameter opening so it’s a good option if you don’t use large balls of yarn. It also has the 3 holes for additional options and comes in this cute blue, white, or black.
Personalized Name Ceramic Yarn Bowl
This bowl by MaidofClay is just too cool! You can have your name made into a bowl so that one of the letters turns into the swirl to hold the yarn.
The only down side is it’s limited to 9 letters so if you have a longer name, you might need to get creative. It also doesn’t have to be a name at all and you can have it say something like “Knitter” or “Dog Mom” or “Ew, David” if you’re a Schitt’s Creek fans.
It’s 5.5″ in diameter and ~3.5″ tall and the letters become the holes for the yarn.
Rainbow Ceramic Yarn Bowl
This rainbow bowl may look as though it’s made of metal, but it’s actually ceramic. I absolutely love how colorful this one is – simply looking at it makes me smile. The outside is plated, but the inside is a white ceramic. It’s on the larger side at 7″ wide and 5″ tall so if you’re looking for something a little bit bigger, this could be a good option.
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Portable Yarn Holders
If you knit or crochet on the go, you’ll want a yarn holder built for portability. These are lighter and protect the yarn even more.
The Yarn It by Prym
The Yarn It is a great option if you’re looking for a portable yarn holder. It’s 6″ in diameter and has two yarn holding options. It opens up in the middle so even if you choose the hole, you can open the ball to get out your yarn. The best part is it has a stand that fits in a standard cup holder! So if you’re a car knitter, this is 100% the option I recommend.
It even comes with a strap so you can where it around like a purse so you can knit on the go! How fun is that?
Big Sully by Prym
The Big Sully is another good portable option. It’s much larger than the Yarn It at around 8-9″ wide. It has 6 holes so you can use up to 6 balls of yarn in it (but keep in mind, they would need to be smaller balls). While it doesn’t fit into a cup holder, it does have a non-slip base to prevent it from moving around while you knit or crochet.
Then the Big sully is packed with additional features, including a knitting needle gauge built into the top so you can measure your needles and crochet hooks on the go. The base pops off so you can store small items in there, such as needles and measuring tape. And it has an optional yarn spindle so you can slide your ball of yarn through it to make even more secure and allow a more even feed.
Now this knitting bag isn’t exactly a bowl, but it serves the same purpose so I’m including it in the list. Unlike the other portable options, this knitting bag is collapsable so you can store it more easily. It also has additional pockets to carry everything else you need – such as knitting needles, crochet hooks, and scissors.
It’s huge with an 11″ diameter and 13″ height so it can store a very large ball of yarn or a few normal sized balls. Then what I like about this one is unlike other knitting bags that only have holes at the top, this one has a slit you can remove the ball of yarn if you don’t want it permanently in the bag.
Large Yarn Bowls
If you use large balls of yarn or need a bowl that has room for multiple balls of yarn, I definitely recommend one of these large yarn bowls.
Fash O' Knit Large Wooden Yarn Bowl
This bowl by Fash O’ Knit is quite large at 8″ in diameter and 4″ tall so you can hold larger balls of yarn or multiple small balls.
I love the stripe of contrasting wood in the middle to give it a unique look. But the down side is it doesn’t have the extra holes if that’s a feature you’re looking for.
Bamboo Yarn Box
I love this one because it’s so unique so it fits into both categories. But this one isn’t even a bowl, but a box! And it comes with a lid so you can make sure the balls of yarn don’t fall out.
It’s made of bamboo and is bigger than most at 6.5″ for the length width, and height on the inside.
Make Your Own Magic Ceramic Yarn Bowl
This is not only a larger yarn bowl, but it’s also made of ceramic. I love the unique opening as it’s not an actual spiral and the saying of “Make your own magic” is pretty cute as well. It comes in this greenish blue color as well as a blue or a gold plated color.
It’s not the largest bowl out there, but it’s at least a bit bigger than most at 6.5″ in diameter and 4.5″ tall.
Unique and Funny Yarn Bowls
These are not your standard bowls so if you’re looking for something more unique, I definitely suggest one of these.
There are also plenty of funny yarn bowls that look like a creature or person vomiting yarn, but I haven’t been able to find one that also have a spiral opening. Therefore I don’t recommend one of those because that means your yarn would have to stay in the bowl.
Counting Stitches Ceramic Yarn Bowl
I’m all about fancy looking items with ridiculous sayings on them so of course I just love this one. This funny yarn bowl says “A question asked while I’m counting stitches will be answered with louder counting.” The inside is painted red for a fun pop of color.
It doesn’t have a hole, but it’s made of ceramic so it’s heavier. It’s an average sized bowl at 5.5″ in diameter and 3.5″ tall.
Funny Face Yarn Bowl
The side of the mouth is used as the opening so it looks like it’s eating the yarn. It’s an average size with the outside dimensions of 6.5″ in diameter and 4″ tall.
3D Printed Yarn Bowl
I will say the major down side to a 3D printed bowl is they’re incredibly light. It’s fine if you don’t knock the yarn ball around much, but otherwise the yarn can easily push the bowl around. The one I have has a base that unscrews so you can add weight to it. The other down side is you really need to sand down the edges, otherwise the yarn can get caught.
However, if you don’t have a 3D printer you can still buy one – for example you can get the ones in the first image on Etsy from LEPrintworks. It comes in all sorts of colors and they have different sizes as well.
Pokeball Yarn Bowl
For the Pokemon fans, this is absolutely the bowl for you. You can get it on Etsy from Kolo Navkolokola, but keep in mind it’s on the smaller side at only 4.5″ in diameter and height. The opening also isn’t spiral shaped so your yarn can more easily slide out of the opening.
That being said, it’s made of ceramic so it’s heavier, making it easier to get the yarn back into the opening if it ever slides out.