Saturday, September 4, 2010


Spent this Saturday adding much donated yarn to the Giant Yarn Ball- thanks to everyone for the leftovers!

The GYB now weighs 60lbs, and is difficult for me to lift, although still relatively easy to roll and rotate as I'm winding.

Among the bags of yarn I was using, I came across a small number of handmade yarn balls wrapped so that they could be pulled from the center, like commercial skeins of yarn.  I unrolled one to see how it was made, and it seemed that the yarn was simply wrapped in alternating bands always at right angles to one another, with the center strand left long so it could hang out of the finished ball. I've never seen this trick before, and it works well!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


The first foot of my tape measure is frayed; the GYB is now six feet in circumference.

I also burned through  the thumb and index finger of my first glove, which I've been using to protect my left, or wrapping hand.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Thanks to several people who went out of their way to bring me their extra yarn this Saturday! And thanks to William, who brought me a copy of "A Big Ball of String," a childrens book by Marion Holland, which I had never seen before.

There's a great story about a giant string (and yarn) ball contest in Robert McCloskey's "Homer Price", which I re-read last year.

The GYB is maintaining it's sphericality well so far, but I'm worried: other really big balls of string  I've seen on the internet are all lopsided; I don't know if it's due to unequal wrapping as the thing gets too heavy to turn easily, or the force of gravity.

Poolside consulatation with Rod, engineer extrordinaire, raised the possibility that the yarn ball flab I'm trying to avoid is due to crushing; according to Rod, when steel cable is wound on drums the inner layers can wrinkle up under compression from the outer layers, behaving like a fluid unless the tension is graduated carefully from inside to outside of the coil.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


67" after today's work. New 60-foot cloth tape measure! 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Calculations and projections

Careful measurement using a piece of string and a bathroom scale put the GYB (Giantest Yarn Ball) at 63.75" in circumference, and 35 lbs in weight.

The formula circumference = 2πr yields a radius of 10.1451", making the current volume of the GYB 4372.5 cubic inches., with a density of .008 lbs/

Assuming the density will remain constant as the GYB grows to it's full 9-foot diameter, it will eventually weight about 5275 lbs, which seems believable.

Yarn comes in standard 4 oz. skeins. The GYB will require 21,100 of these skeins to reach its maximum size.
Wrapping these skeins at 20/day will require about 1000 days, or 3 years.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Got a few bags of yarn last week- thanks to everyone whose lapsed projects and leftovers are being gratefully slurped up by the "black hole" -yarn goes in, but it doesn't ever come out again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

59" 5/10/2010

59" (circumference)
Still small enough to pick up (barely)
I began this giant yarn ball in 1997, but it languished for years in my living room. This summer I'm going to grow it into the giantest yarn ball in Houston.

Yarn donations will be gratefully incorporated; all donors will recieve a testimonial letter at the grand unveiling next fall. Drop your old skeins at Bill's Junk 1125 E 11th St., Houston, TX