go big!

This week we received a package of Outer by Spud and Chloe – it’s an extra bulky yarn.


Colours from top: Sandbox, Peat, Fearless, LeapFrog, Mermaid, Bayou, Carbon, Rhino, Rocket.

With this auspicious arrival we have a collection of 3 quite different extra bulky yarns to choose from, and therefore a good time to do a little comparing and contrasting.  Are you with me?

extra bulky yarn

From left to right: Madelinetosh ASAP in Silver Fox, Spud and Chloe Outer in Rhino, Brown Sheep Burly Spun in Grey Heather.

Extra chunky knits are still really popular knits! They look great – combining drama with coziness! They are also fast knits and are perfect for new knitters, or hurried ones.  The 3 types of extra bulky yarn shown here would all do the trick for your extra bulky projects – but which one do you choose?


ASAP by Madelinetosh is:
– hand dyed
– one ply
– 100% merino wool
– machine washable, lay flat to dry
– 8-10 stitches per 10 cm with a 9mm-12mm needle.
– each skeins has 82 metres for $23
That’s the grocery list, but what else?
ASAP pulses with Madelinetosh’s infamous colour prowess; it is decadently soft as only merino wool can be, and has a slight sheen.
Here’s something you may not know – one ply yarns are usually softer in feel due to their soft spin.  They are also more likely to pill.  To mitigate this, knit your projects tighter.  The softness of the merino will allow for a tight knit without stiffness.
The first finished project I have seen with the Madelinetosh ASAP was a Mondo Cowl made with two strands of ASAP held together to bulk up the weight and make a tighter knit.  It was off-the-charts-gorgeous! A tightly knit hat would also be a great project in this yarn, Jane Richmond’s Autumn for example!
Hand dyed colours give interesting depth and character and accentuate the one-of-a-kind nature of the hand knits.

spud and chloe outer

Outer by Spud and Chloe is:
– uniform in colour
– 2 ply
– 65% superwash wool and 35% organic cotton
– machine washable and tumble dry
– 8-12 stitches per 10 cm with a 8mm-10mm needle.
– each skeins has 55 metres for $17
Wool blended with cotton makes a really soft yarn. Despite the girth of this yarn it is not as warm as the ASAP or the Burly Spun due to the cotton content. It is a better choice for folks who run hot but still love the bulky knits, and not so great for those of us who want the warmest possible knit.
This is also the “easiest care yarn” of all three.  You can wash it and dry it in a machine!  That makes it a terrific choice for projects that need this kind of consideration.  Parents for example really like getting garments and blankets for their wee ones that don’t require hand washing. Spud and Chloe have a wonderful pattern called Leaf Blanket, that is pretty much too cute to be true.

edie's cardi in outer

I love this guy ↑.  It’s a baby sized sweater, knit by Edie in Spud and Chloe Outer.  I love how she combined the colours.  Outer comes in colours that are especially suited to children’s wear – the bright and cheerful kind! This is an adaptation of the Baby Sophisticated Pattern  which is really for a much lighter weight of yarn , but Edie is so clever she MacGyvered it.  If you would like to try the same, she suggests casting on the same number of stitches as the pattern indicates and then increase as suggested till the shoulder width seems baby sized. The rest of the sweater is knit to the bottom without shaping.

burly spun

Burly Spun by Brown Sheep is:
– heathered or uniform in colour
– 1 ply
– 100% wool
– hand wash
– 10 stitches per 10 cm with a 9mm needle.
– each skeins has 120 metres for $19.50
The Burly Spun is a staple yarn around The Knit Cafe.  We have found numerous applications for this yarn! It is the heaviest of the extra bulky yarns, in other words the biggest of the big! It is also the most cost-effective choice – if that is a concern – and when is it not?
It is not as soft as the ASAP merino, nor as soft as the Outer’s cotton blend, but has a squishy, wooly feel that is comforting and quite comfortable for many people, even around the sensitive neck area.

extra bulky yarn samples

Above, are three examples of the Burly Spun knit into garments.  The top is the Mondo Cowl which is knit on a 20mm needle, the middle is an example of a garter stitch scarf knit on a 15mm needle, the bottom is the Chunky Cardi which is knit on a 10mm needle. This illustrates how the same yarn can be knit to many different gauges from tight to loose to very different effect.
The Mondo Cowl is knit extra loose to make a fabric with enough drape to wear comfortably around the neck.  The large size stitches really emphasize the bulky qualities in the yarn. The 15mm project has a nice medium tension, that is neither tight nor loose. The Chunky Cardi is knit on the tight side.  It is a firm fabric which makes this sweater more like a coat; an appropriate application for such a heavy wool. The tighter knit will help the sweater keep it’s shape and will make it extra warm.
Burly Spun is a very elastic yarn thanks to it’s 100% wool fibre content, this allows for knitting at different tensions.

martin scarf

This is the Martin Scarf, modeled by Edie Kim. It’s one of our favourite projects made with the Brown Sheep Burly Spun yarn.  An easy projects that’s got panache, and is a little bit more interesting to knit then a straight scarf.  This project has a triangular shape and long ties that fasten it closed.  Pom poms are adorable finishes! This Deep Charcoal Heather colour makes the unusual design still look  classic.  The Martin Scarf is knit on a 15mm needle.

Now that all your bulky yarn needs are met, I will bid you farewell for now.
Craftily yours


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