Today, I’m sharing my modular crochet bobbin holder – this is what I use to keep my yarn from getting tangled up while working on a C2C project that requires several active yarns (and colors) at the same time. It’s great for C2C projects, but also any large graphghan too. I’ve used it for all my Zoodiacs C2C squares, and best of all, it cost me under $10 to make!
I think after making about 2 of my Zoodiacs squares, I was ready to rip my hair out. Why? Because my yarn was EVERYWHERE. Not just all the yarn ends, those are bad enough, but I had several active yarns at the same time, and they kept getting tangled with each other. I did a quick search to see how other people kept their yarn from tangling, and saw different contraptions with clothes hangers and clothespins and embroidery floss bobbins. The concept was easy – keep all the yarn wound up until you need it. But I didn’t know how much I would need for each Zoodiacs square, and I didn’t want to keep cutting strands to wrap around a clothespin and then run out of yarn only to have to connect more.
My requirements for this project were simple and speak to my need to keep things flexible. I remembered my modular blocking station and wanted to have a modular bobbin holder as well. It had to:
- hold an entire skein, or just a short strand.
- hold several active yarns, and have the ability to move different yarns into different positions
- be stable and not tip over
- be small enough to carry around and keep my yarn neat so the husband doesn’t yell at me for stashing my project all over the living room (whatever, he still does it anyways).
(2) 3/8″ diameter by 48″ length dowels
(1) piece of wood board. 2 feet by 3.5″ wide by 3/4″ deep
Rough grit (120) and fine grit (240) sandpaper
power drill, drill bit
vice(s) and clamps
Modular Crochet Bobbin Holder Instructions:
1. Start with the dowels. Secure each dowel in a vice or clamp and cut them into 8 inch lengths. That means that a 48″ length of dowel will yield 6 8″ bobbins (give or take a bit on the length).
2. Put a piece of sandpaper on a table, and rub the ends of each dowel on the sandpaper. Then sand down the edges slightly. Wipe them clean. Those are your bobbins!
3. On to the wood board. Home Depot has a large selection of wood precut to different lengths and widths, of all different wood varieties. I like using Cherry or Poplar, as those are much lighter than the hardwoods like Maple or Oak. Heavy is ok, but on the off-chance you have kids that might pick it up and swing it around…..
4. Mark holes in the wood board where you’d like each bobbin. I marked a hole every 2 inches, and staggered them an inch apart on the second row.
5. Pick the right drill bit. This might take a little trial and error, so having an extra piece of board to test the hole will be smart. You want the bobbin to fit in the hole very snugly, but not so tight that you can’t jam it in at all. You definitely don’t want any wiggle-jiggle room, so “very snug” is key. (I honestly don’t know what size drill bit I used, because the set that my husband has didn’t have markings on them. Go figure.)
6. Clamp down the wood board to your work surface.
7. Drill each hole where marked. You don’t want to drill all the way through your board, so here’s a tip: line up your drill bit to the approximate depth you want to drill to, and mark it with a piece of tape (washi tape works great!). When you drill, stop when the tape gets to the top of the wood board.
8. Sand down the ends and corners of the wood board. Clean up the sawdust from inside the drill holes. Voila! Now, how to use it….
Once your project requires 2 or more yarns/colors simultaneously, it’s time to bust out the bobbin holder. If you have a center-pull skein, awesome. Throw that onto a bobbin and jam it into your wood board somewhere. Don’t worry, you can always change the bobbin position. If you are using scrap yarn or a shorter strand of yarn, simply wrap the yarn around the bobbin and place it somewhere on the wood board.
You want your bobbins placed in the same order that you’ll be crocheting. If a particular row moves from blue to orange to black to blue, that’s how the bobbins should be arranged. This is also why sometimes it’s nice having two skeins around, so you can work 2 skeins of blue at the same time.
(On the Zoodiacs squares, I highly recommend using 2 skeins of the background color; you’ll use about half of each skein, but it saves you from having to precut a lot of yarn.)
In C2C crochet, you have to turn your work at the end of every row. Now that your bobbins are organized well, you have two choices when you hit the end of a row.
- You can flip your entire bobbin holder so you’re always working in the same order as what’s on the bobbin holder.
- You can keep your bobbin holder steady, work one “right” row, flip and work the next row criss-crossed, then flip back to work another “right” row. The key here is to flip (and flip back) in the right direction.
But never fear, if you screw up, you can re-adjust all the bobbins! And as a little something extra, I found that my Clover Amour hook also fit into the holes perfectly, so when I needed to stop for the night, my yarn and my hook were all neatly lined up on my modular bobbin holder. Win!