Sometimes I get asked what’s the difference between your two styles of yarn bowl?
The differences start even before the piece is made in the raw materials that go into making each yarn bowl. The size of the piece of clay thats used to throw the different styles varies between 1 kilo and 1.3 kilos. In making these pieces there is only so much clay to go into it and generally that helps in achieving the same sizes time after time.
The next difference comes in the shape as it’s being thrown; star yarn bowls generally have a traditionally curving v shape to them which narrows in the base and flares out towards the rim. Once it’s dried turning helps to accentuate this shape with a foot ring in the base. The barrel shaped bowls don’t have this missing space and are usually both the same diameter in the base as in the top rim edge with a balanced symmetrical look. This shape also needs less turning so most of the weight of the clay stays in the pot making it heavier.
Although they’re similar in height the shapes vary and are used for different types of yarn. The smaller narrow base of the star bowls is good for cupping balls of yarn inside that are laceweight, 4ply up to about a 50 gram ball of a double knit. The extra width in the barrel shaped yarn bowls are better for larger balls of yarn like a double knit to a 50 gram ball of a chunky yarn like Rowan Big Wool. Also theres just generally more room for storage, I tend to put cable needles and scissors in the bottom of mine.
Because of the larger size of the barrel shaped yarn bowls they’re also different in the biscuit firing and glaze firing. It’s easier to fit more of the star bowls in the kiln at once which also makes them slightly cheaper to produce. Once boxed ready for posting star bowls weigh in at under 1 kilo whereas barrel shaped bowls can be up to 1,500 kilos.
Occasionally though the standard size yarn bowls just aren’t big enough! Because all my pieces are handmade you don’t always have to take designs ‘off the shelf’ and I have in the past made larger than usual yarn bowls or ones with a different design. I’m not always able to accommodate every request and these non standard items can take longer to produce but I always try to be flexible whenever possible.