From Cardigan to Cowl to Throw: A Tale of Super Bulky Yarn

Three years ago I knitted this cardigan:

It's the Marilyn cardigan from the book Twinkle's Big City Knits. If you haven't come across this book before, it's full of patterns in super bulky yarn - hats, cardigans, jumpers, you name it. 

Now, knitting in bulky yarn is great because it knits up so quickly. But knitting clothing in such thick yarn? Not so great. This cardigan was a stinker. It looked really silly on, with it's bell shaped sleeves - it would have been perfect for Karen's Ugly Amnesty, but I don't even have any photos of me wearing it. The photo in the book disguised the fact that the stitch pattern leaves big holes from the yarn overs. I think it's pictured in the book being worn over an evening dress (the book's since been charity shopped), and really, it's not fit to be worn in real life.

I certainly can't recommend the book - stupid patterns notwithstanding, nearly every single pattern has some kind of error in it, requiring you to check the online errors on the publisher's website.

This project was a classic beginner's mistake, but not a cheap one as I had to shell out about £60 for the wool (6 balls of Rowan Big Wool) and two pairs of really large needles (15mm and 17mm circulars). Once ripped out, what on earth was I going to do with all that wool?

Well, some of it had a brief incarnation as a cowl:

But I only wore it once, and didn't really like the shape. So it was also frogged. Rrrrrrrriiiiiipppp!!

All of that super bulky yarn was really taking up a lot of space in my yarn stash, so a few weeks ago I bit the bullet and got it all out again. I started knitting some stripes, adding in some red wool I was given by a work colleague. And I knitted and knitted until I got this:


Just a big ole' knitted rectangle. I think the garter stitch shows off the yarn well and it feels really cosy and squashy. I have put it over the back of the sofa, where it will of course get covered in cat hair, but it will also handily cover some marks on the sofa (the danger of a cream sofa...) and looks nice and bright. The green even goes with the lampshade (though not with the cushions or curtains, but let's ignore that).

If I was making it again I'd make it a bit wider, but I wasn't sure how far the wool would go. I'm pretty chuffed with the resulting bit of knitting, and tell myself it's the kind of thing you'd see for lots of money in a fancy shop. I'm certainly not ripping it out again - that's for sure! I'm very proud of my nifty bit of stash busting, and have added The Little Red Squirrel's Stash busting button to my blog to celebrate.

Have you had any yarn which has been recycled multiple times?

K x


  1. That's flippin brill! And stash busting is always very satisfying. What a shame the cardigan wasn't as nice on as it is in the photo. For a nano-second there I was about to hit Ravelry and look it up, but having read your thoughts on it, I shall wipe it from my mind! :)

  2. Ooh, this looks great! I'm so glad you were able to find a new use for the wool!

  3. Good job for figuring out a way to use the yarn! I have so many projects that are waiting for a new life. :)

  4. Gah I hate when that happens, almost every garment I knit I end up hating and ripping it out! Your new designer couch throw looks v cool ;)

  5. It looks brilliant, really brightens up the sofa! I'm glad I;m not the only person whose makes end up covered in cat hair - if only they could MOULT LESS!

    Thanks also for linking up to my Olympic yarnbomb post on the Did You Make That? blog, it's been a big traffic source!! :)

  6. Great recycling of yarn! I still have a jumper to rip... Just need a new project to make..

  7. That looks really awesome :) I love the way you've put the colours together in the stripes!
    p.s cute cat!!!

  8. That looks lovely! I am terrible, if I don't like the finished object I just give it to charity, I have never frogged!

  9. The blanket looks great! Good on you for pulling it apart. I reckon I would have just given it away in disgust!

    1. Thanks - I'd spent too much on the yarn to allow it to turn into a disappointment!

  10. Super reknit....I love the way your craft spills into your living space like this, and the chunkiness of the yarn is good sofa scale knitting!

  11. I agree with Scruffybadger - it's the scale of superchunky that's the problem on clothes but it's great on your sofa. V stylish!

  12. I'm impressed you ripped up super chunky wool twice! I made my DD a jumper out of super chunky ( at her request). Now she says it's too thick and hot, but I can't face undoing it as that yarn clings to itself.
    I have knitted up some Patons cotton yarn three times, first as a cardi( it had revere collars that drooped), then it was a jumper with bell sleeves that fell into my dinners and the washing up water, now it's another cardigan and this time it's a keeper. cotton is easy to unravel, and I washed it in hanks so it wasn't all kinky when I knitted it up again.

  13. I got that book out of the library and to be honest, none of the knits appealed to me. I think garments knitted in bulky yarn can look really unflattering - I should know as I've knitted the blighters and have regretted wasting so much money and time. I've also read on Rav some adverse comments about that book, you'd have thought that the patterns would have been thoroughly checked before it went to print :-/


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