Like just about everybody else on the internet, I’ve recently gotten on board with the tidying craze (if you haven’t already heard about this phenomenon, read this book by Marie Kondo). While my tone seems a little flippant, the fact of the matter is that tidying, getting my house in order, has brought about a significant and fundamental change in my relationship to my things, and my pleasure in life.
Of most interest to you knitters is the change in my relationship to my STASH. Here is one of the results is this project, a super-chunky stashbuster blanket worked in tunisian crochet on a massive (19mm) hook.
Working as a designer for the past 6+ years, I have naturally amassed a MOUNTAINOUS stash. While naturally frugal, crafting supplies have always been a weakness of mine. With yarn classed as a business expense, the barriers to purchase have been further eroded! After I’d used Kondo’s method to clear out my wardrobe, bookshelf, kitchen, office supplies and cupboards, it was time to confront my stash head on, and determine which items genuinely brought me joy to have and to hold. My stash mountain has honestly become a weight upon me. At times I have felt guilty for all the beautiful and precious stash that I know in my heart will never become a knit project.
There were hundreds of luxurious bits and odd skeins left over from projects I’d completed, and dozens of single balls that I’d purchased thinking that I’d swatch with them, or knit a gift. There were even several sweater quantities of gorgeous yarns that I’d bought when I was touring around. Nearly every skein had a story, an emotion, a memory attached; such a weight that I was reluctant to let go of.
But I told myself that there was no value in having these things packed away in plastic tubs, if they were not bringing joy to my life and beauty to my home, and if, in fact, they contributed a weight of anxiety and guilt instead of the pleasure they might bring to someone else. If a bird in hand is worth 3 in the bush, then a skein of yarn in use (worked into something beautiful and useful) is worth 100 in the stash!
But how could I part with this mountain of alpaca, silk, cashmere, merino and hand-dyed luxury? Enter the Stashbuster Blanket!
I remembered working at Urban Yarns when I was in my designer infancy, and a project that the owner Anina had been working on, called the Stashbuster Blanket. At the time I thought I’d NEVER waste that much yarn on a single project. But lately, I’d been wanting to try the technique (tunisian crochet), and thought the finished object would be a lovely addition to my home, so last year I bought the pattern and hook, but never cast on. Well the ‘Year to Try Something New’ and this tidying project were a final impetus to act.
After a couple false starts, which blended colours a bit more radically for my taste, I settled on a concept; I planned an ombre of primary colours (blues, reds, yellows) against a lightening ombre of greys. Each colour block has 3 sections, darkest, medium, and lightest. The pattern calls for 3 colours to be worked at a time, but I began with a grey border in a single colour, then worked 2 slightly different colours of blue with this grey, then two slightly lighter colours with the grey, and so on and so forth. By the time I’d completed 3 sections of blue, then 3 sections of red/orange, I could see that the blanket was long enough, and adding yellows would make it out of proportion for a couch throw. So I worked a second grey edge and called my masterpiece complete!
stashbuster blanket project details:
Pattern: Stashbuster Blanket by StitchDiva Studios
Finished Size: I worked a blanket that is 60 sts wide, and 108 rows long. It measures 38″ wide x 61″ long.
Yarn: About a million different yarns… and I’ve no idea the finished yardage!
How do you feel about your stash?
How do you display it? Does it bring you pleasure just to own it, or do you suffer some anxiety or guilt? Share thoughts and photos of your stash mountain on your favourite social spot:
Pretty projects for knitting from stash:
November 19, 2017 @ 5:57 pm
I’ve been searching the internet for a jumbo size hook (19mm) and I can’t find it anywhere. Can you tell me where you purchased it? Are you in the USA? The largest I have is a 10mm. thanks.
November 22, 2017 @ 9:30 am
Hi – I got mine at Urban Yarns in Vancouver, and I think Emily got hers online at loveknitting.com
September 25, 2016 @ 2:51 pm
I’ve amassed quite a bit of yarn recently that I need to “get rid of” in a useful way. I’m not sure if I have quite the stash depth needed for such a thick throw blanket, but it does remind that I can collect yarns together to use in bulky projects. I’d definitely be happier seeing tons of fluffy projects laying about instead of plastic bags and bins of yarn.
September 12, 2016 @ 6:55 am
I have a small box and a few bags and I am currently hitting the 2ply Shetland bag to get that one down. Say hello to Christmas in July v.2.0. Mostly I have single left over and occasional lux purchase. So not too much guilt there. Fabric stash is a little less guilt free…
Yarn horde aside, is the fab blue and white stencil on your bedroom wall a stencil or wall paper and did you paint it yourself? I love it!
September 13, 2016 @ 10:24 am
Emily painted it freehand, she is amazing!
September 11, 2016 @ 7:28 am
My stash is rather new so when I set it up, I bought crisis cross shelves. It is a thing of beauty and I proudly set it up in my new Craft Room. Since I knit so many baby things, my extra balls of yarn are thankfully small and I tend to use them right up. I’ve always hated clutter so it stands to reason. I was in awe of what you did with your stash. Usually not a fan of crochet, that blanket is genius and gorgeous!
September 10, 2016 @ 2:00 am
I’m actually preparing a blog post about my stash, but I think it is under control as I haven’t bought yarn in months. This blanket is gorgeous and a wonderful stashbusting idea. I want to try a pompom carpet with my bits and pieces from past projects and maybe a pillow or two. Love the ombre rainbow effect.
September 10, 2016 @ 12:12 am
Wonderfull!!! I really admire this blancket :)
September 9, 2016 @ 3:15 pm
This is beautiful, and I love this idea. I too have amassed quite the stash, and since having my second child have significantly less crafting time than I used to. Perhaps in the new year I’ll be working something like this – it looks quite squishy and cozy! I like that you used multiple weights together – it looks lovely!
September 9, 2016 @ 1:37 pm
Some of it makes me feel guilt, the items I picked up and now don’t care for, but can’t bring myself to get rid of! I am thinking to use a beige throughout and pick up my fall colored partial skeins to do a blanket of sorts. Your idea has sparked my interest, so it will be added to the “at a later date” pile!
September 9, 2016 @ 9:49 am
I’ve been doing more stashing than knitting lately, so I’ve curtailed my buying until I work through more of the stash. It’s really hard though, there’s so many beautiful yarns and patterns out there that I want to make, but limiting myself to what I already own means that I’m not breaking our budget.
September 9, 2016 @ 4:56 am
It looks beautiful! My stash fluctuates. I once kept it all in one upstairs closet, but it has migrated to baskets and bags behind the couch. No display for me. The really good stuff and stuff I think I will use soon lives in a rolling cart in the living room. I have it in my mind to make an Elizabeth Zimmerman surprise sweater someday with those beautiful one-skein indulgences but not sure it will ever happen.
September 9, 2016 @ 4:05 am
I have a sizeable stash, but nothing so big as yours! Mine is a combination of balls left over from my own projects, as well as other’s. “Here, you knit, I don’t do it anymore, you take these five grocery bags of yarn odds & ends”, builds up after a while! I have bins and bins worth, and last night my partner dropped a subtle hint she’d happily take a sweater if I wanted to take it on.
A hefty percentage is sport weight, which I use for socks and blanket squares for Warm Up Canada.
You know, I’ve been wanting to try Tunisian crochet…I might take your lead and make a blanket. No way would it be as gorgeous as yours though!
September 9, 2016 @ 9:07 am
Hi Carolyn – haha, I do know how those bags can build up! I’m sure you could pull off something just as beautiful, sometimes it’s just a creative meshing of colours that is needed.
September 9, 2016 @ 3:52 am
The majority of my stash was bought with a plan however more plans than I can knit in a lifetime. I keep falling in love with pretty colours, bases and projects. I’d love to make a blanket like this just not sure I have the right combos or can give up my plans! What weight did you use?
September 9, 2016 @ 9:05 am
Hi Barb – oh how quickly the stash of good intentions can build up eh? I sometimes look at a ball of yarn and think ‘I know I had a plan for this but what was it…..’
We used all different weights held together, a few strands of worsted with a couple of strands of sock, a strand of chunky, dk and lace held together etc.
September 9, 2016 @ 2:11 am
It is a beautiful blanket! Love the colors !!!! I’m wondering where did you find such a huge tunisian crochet ? ? ?
September 9, 2016 @ 9:08 am
I think Emily bought hers from LoveKnitting.com and I picked mine up at Urban Yarns in Vancouver
September 8, 2016 @ 7:58 pm
It’s so lovely! How much does it weigh?
September 8, 2016 @ 9:17 pm
Long story short: so much. It is a heavy blankie!
September 8, 2016 @ 5:01 pm
I just finished reading the tidying book, a week before leaving on vacation. It is on my list for when I get home!!! I LOVE this idea!! I was wondering what to do with all the hand dyed, hand spun wooly stuff that I know I didn’t buy enough of for anything decent, or that doesn’t suit anyone …. This will be perfect … Once I get to that part.. thanks for posting this.
September 8, 2016 @ 3:40 pm
I have very little in the way of stash. Most of it is leftover skeins from projects (when I still adhered to the “plus 20%” we were all taught to purchase), or partial skeins. I knit almost exclusively in fingering weight, and only buy a handful of brands, so everything mixes pretty well. Every once in a while I’ll go through my small tote that holds partial skeins and put together a pallette that goes together and look for a pattern that will fit what I have. Right now I’m making a raglan top-down striped sweater from some leftovers in shades of pink, orange, and yellow. Otherwise, I purchase yarn for a specific project.
September 8, 2016 @ 9:20 pm
Hi Katie – I love that you work mostly in a single weight of yarn, it keeps all the little bits useful doesn’t it?! I have a bit of a DK stash (okay, a big DK stash) of Tanis Fiber Arts, which mixes well with Sweet Fiber and SweetGeorgia DK and it is great for colourwork and striping for sure. No wee precious hand dyed scrap to waste!
September 8, 2016 @ 2:11 pm
I have enough yarn to last several lifetimes and I have been seriously thinking about stash busting blankets. I wonder if all my swatches would do…