As The Yarn Bowl Turns.
"A bad day woodworking is better than a good day working."
~ Author unknown
~ Author unknown
One blank I had to discard because it was too soft to safely turn. The other I mounted up and took a chance that it wouldn’t disintegrate. What emerged was a fascinating bowl with a blend of decay interspersed with sound wood. In some spots it was very spongy with colorful decay. Other spots completely rotted through; indicating hours of work to come.
I stabilized the piece with wood hardener, which petrified the decay, making it stable enough to work through the sanding and finishing stages. The blue inlay is where the wood was rotted through; the golden tones are various stages of decay while the rust areas are sound wood, unaffected by decay bacteria.
With so many different choices and styles of yarn bowls, which one is right for you? Many potters and craftsmen offer yarn bowls that look great, but how many knit or crochet themselves to understand how to create a yarn bowl that performs the best?
Created by a Lathe Artist and tested by a Knitting & Crochet fanatic; for this husband and wife team creating Heckathorn Turned Wood Yarn Bowls isn’t a just business, it’s a passion!
India & China have recently entered the market with yarn bowls claiming to be "handcrafted". These bowls are quickly hand sanded and finished, skipping days and hours of the necessary ten sanding/finish cycles which ensure a silky smooth finish to the wood grain that won't snag, damage and pull on your yarn! Yarn shops, WalMart, even Etsy Shop owners have gotten on the band wagon offering these mass-produced versions at rock bottom prices. Yes, they're cheap, but remember the old adage; you get what you pay for!
Here’s what makes Heckathorn Hand Turned, Hand Crafted Large Yarn Bowls so special:
THE SIZE & SHAPE
Our best selling Large Yarn Bowls are taller and narrower than competing yarn bowls. The tall sides are designed to loosely hug a ball of yarn to prevent it from popping out when the yarn is tugged quickly A standard 3.5 oz. skein of 4 ply worsted yarn rolled in a ball will fit with room to spare, with most of our large bowls easily accommodating an oversized 5 oz., 8 - 9” ball (about 75% of a “Super Saver” skein).
SELECTION & VALUE
Every yarn bowl is made to strict gallery grade standards. A varied selection is stocked in our Etsy Shop, priced from $70-99; an incredible value considering the hours spent to elevate each piece to “Collectible” status! Each Large Yarn Bowl takes a minimum of fifteen hours of work. After shaping and turning the bowl on the lathe, the bowls are painstakingly hand finished with over ten individual rounds of sanding, buffing, coating and drying. Under optimum weather conditions this process alone takes up to five days. A final coat of museum wax is applied and buffed to resist fingerprints and stains.
FORM & FUNCTION
We've had a couple requests to “drill some holes in the sides of our yarn bowls for knitting needles…” While needle holes may add interest to some yarn bowls, they just don’t work with the deeper profile of our designs.
As form meets function in all of our yarn bowls, we hope to shed some light on how important the ease of use is as well as the natural beauty Bob brings out in the wood. We hope you make the right choice for your needs. If it’s a Large Yarn Bowl by Heckathorn Turned Wood, we’re confident that you’ll share our passion for these fun and functional collectibles.
When friends have an ailing or unruly tree they call me, knowing how I enjoy creating oversized yarn bowls from reclaimed wood. Occasionally one of these trees might turn out to be a hardwood that will morph into a couple stunning pieces. After the wood is cut, hauled, prepped and blanks are made, the real fun begins with lathe work and hand finishing.
These six yarn bowls are from the wood of a White Mulberry freshly cut last fall. Their lobed, alternate leaves and abundant, edible fruits distinguish these deciduous trees. Known as Morus alba, the White Mulberry tree is a fast-growing small to medium sized tree, growing 30 – 50’ tall, with a lifespan comparable to humans.
The leaves of the White Mulberry have been used in China since at least 2600 BC as the primary diet for silkworms. The tree was introduced into North America in colonial times in efforts to establish a silk industry. Although the industry never took hold here, the trees did take hold and, over time has naturalized in fields, forest margins and along roads throughout much of the US.
I enjoy seeing what magic nature has hidden inside each particular species. This Mulberry didn’t disappoint with its buttery tones and grains from creamy beige to soft greys, in six unique shapes dried to a natural soft warp. This select group of XL - XXL Yarn bowls is composed of mid-range sizes I can never seem to make enough of!
I spend a lot of time sharing photos of finished yarn bowls on our Facebook page and Instagram feed, but rarely share shop pics with a glimpse of how they're made. With the big light on Bob's lathe, flying wood chips, wood dust and debris, it's not what you'd call glamorous and it's a challenge to show what can often be grueling and repetitious hard work!
Today, as I brought him his daily hydrating tea at 11 o'clock, I thought about the work he does every day in a shop with no climate control. Although Bob has always enjoyed working in the heat (?) I constantly marvel about what he accomplishes in the 95-105 degree humid heat of Central FL early June into October. Now that his northern body has acclimated to the climate here, he says he prefers it to the (temperate 60 - 70 degree) "winter" weather I enjoy late Dec. - March. After suffering from my summer version of cabin fever I say "bring it on!"
In the spirit of sharing, I thought I'd take a moment to say how much admiration I have for my hard working husband/lathe artist. He does a lot of amazing work under some pretty harsh conditions. So here's to you Bob, I'm your biggest fan; knowing that along with the heart and soul you put into all these yarn bowls there's a heck of a lot of sweat, too!
Amber is a result of fossilization of this sticky sap resulting in varnishes and many other by-products made from it throughout history. Some wood turners enhance the effect by many soakings in solutions of their choice. I prefer to achieve this effect naturally and let nature take its course by simply hand-buffing each pine bowl as usual with several layers of finish. However, when resin laden spots occur naturally, it’s a nice bonus; enhancing that bowl even more.
Usually, you need to hold the bowl over a bright light to see the translucent areas. Or, if placed in bright sunlight* will light the bowl up naturally. So, look for these features if you want a little “hidden surprise” when choosing your yarn bowl! To view and purchase from our current inventory, please visit our Etsy Shop: etsy.me/2bw2svW
*Note: Any wood product can suffer damage if subjected to excessive heat. Never display/store your yarn bowl in direct sunlight for a prolonged period of time!