Don’t freak out, but we are only about TWO months (Corrected! Thank you, Pat!) out from Christmas. Now, I know. It seems ludicrous to talk about the holiday when we’re not even at Halloween yet. (And, believe me, you do not want to get me started on the stores, which shall remain nameless, that already have Christmas decor out.) But… in the world of handmade gifts, starting early is a must. And so is having a strategy, which should definitely include some quick knits with bulky yarn, such as this favorite: Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky.
Yes, bulky yarn just might be your saving grace. Sure, you’ll have your share of socks, assorted worsted weight projects and the like, but bulky yarn — perfect for accessories for those frigid winter days we are bound to have again (if the weather forecasters can be believed anyway) — is also the quickest yarn on two fat needles (or a hook!). Outlander cowl, anyone?
My favorite of the bulky options in space is, hands down, that BSA Bulky. It’s a 50-50 blend of alpaca and merino, has a gauge of 2 stitches per inch on size 15 needles (10 mm) or a size P-15 hook and comes in 45-yard hanks at $14.50 each.
A few years ago (apparently I was ahead of the whole Outlander cowl trend?) I made this garter stitch cowl, though not on size 50 needles (!), out of BSA Bulky. It’s the My Kind of Town Cowl by Trish Woodson, a free pattern on Ravelry. If you haven’t met me, I’m one of the two tall girls in the shop, so I made this simple garter stitch cowl extra long. The pattern calls for 90-100 yards, but I ended up using five skeins (225 yards). It’s extra cozy and when the temperature was in the single digits last winter I was so very glad to have it!
A similar concept — and another free pattern — from Jane Richmond, the Marian, uses seed stitch for another super huggable cowl. Would take one to three skeins, depending on how long you’d like it.
Another Richmond pattern that would be great in this yarn is the Autumn hat. Two skeins will make this hat perfectly as shown. There’s also a baby/toddler version, Autumn Leftovers, which would take just one skein.
If you want a more interesting knit, try the Cabled Button Toque by Amy Swenson. It’s a free pattern that would take one to two skeins of BSA Bulky. It’s available in three sizes, too: 3-9 months, 1-3 years and kids/adult.
Naturally, Blue Sky Alpacas has some more pattern ideas for you as well. They created a whole bulky hat collection, which you can find in the shop and also on Ravelry to get a preview.
Crocheters might like the Crocheted Rib Cowl by Purl Soho (cause they truly are the experts at classically simple). The free pattern is available on their blog. The pattern calls for a massive 400 yards of super bulky weight yarn. I can tell you from my cowl that you wouldn’t want 400 yards of BSA Bulky around your neck. You could probably safely make this with two to three skeins. It will be shorter than the pattern calls for — but just as amazing.