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Stash Buster Colour Play

July 30, 2020
Tunisian crochet blanket in shades of blue and yellow on a bed

I made my first Tunisian crochet Stash Buster Blanket a few years ago, and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s a colourful, cozy throw that folds over the armchair or couch, and then gets dragged all over the place to become the roof of a ‘den’ or a ‘seashore’ in the kids’ ‘fairy land.’ I love cuddling underneath this blanket, but a more profound enjoyment comes from looking carefully at the colours and seeing how they interact and combine.

Edge of Tunisian crochet blanket in shades of blue and yellow, with woman's hand
The pattern is worked using three colour ‘bundles’ at once.

Recently I found my big, wooden Tunisian hook – this baby is 19mm! I was stress-knitting my way through a dozen simple projects and decided it was a good moment to begin another Stash Buster Blanket. The pattern by Stitch Diva Studios contained all the information I needed to have LOADS of fun. The simple Tunisian crochet stitch pattern, when worked with colour changes, makes an exquisite fabric.

Tunisian crochet blanket in progress on wooden hook
Worked on a 19mm Tunisian crochet hook, the Stash Buster eats through yarn at a rapid rate. On the left-hand side of the image, you can see the bumpy back side of the blanket. On the right, you can see the woven effect on front.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this project is having enough stash that you’re ready to part with. This one is perhaps most suitable for those who work in the yarn industry and find themselves drowning in single skeins and leftovers. (The queen-sized version I just finished weighs 6 lbs/2.75kg!) Hand-dyers, yarn shop owners, and fellow knit designers: if you have a stash-overgrowth problem, this project is sure to help!

Stash Buster Blanket post
My first Stash Buster Blanket.

If you’ve determined that you have enough stash to throw at this big bad boy, the only other problem to tackle is colour selection. My first Stash Buster Blanket used greys throughout as one of the strands, though the greys I chose began with blacks and charcoals and transitioned to light grey. Against this base strand, I worked the other two in blocks of navy, teal, and sky blue, and then wine, bright red, and a variety of oranges.

Tunisian crochet blanket in shades of blue and yellow on a bed
Aiming for the right size to top my queen bed, I made my new Stash Buster 96 sts wide, but it turned out a bit narrow. I suspect should have worked 112 or 120 sts wide (argh!), but perhaps it will stretch out with wear and time.

For my new blanket, I followed a similar strategy – this time using deep blues throughout as one of the three strands. Against this, I worked blocks of light blue, deep blue, yellow, and gold.

I decided to use dark navy blues for the deepest tones this time around because, years ago, I heard colour master Kaffe Fassett say that black, grey, and white don’t add life to colourwork. He suggested using other colours instead. Although I find it easy to make colours work with neutrals like grey and black, I’ve kept this tip in mind over the years and wanted to challenge myself with it for this project.

Boxes of yellow, blue, brown yarns and Tunisian crochet blanket in progress
Keeping all the yarns straight can be tricky. I found cardboard boxes work best – one for each of the colour bundles.

Making these blankets is definitely an investment in my colour knowledge – an opportunity to sharpen my colour appreciation and intuition. It allows me to see the effects of different colours on each other, in many different combinations. In this case, I see how lovely it is when a crisp, golden fleck emerges among cool grey-blues and deep, purply navies. I see how a single strand of yellow adds interest and vividness to a field of blues on blues. And I see the way a subtle string of purple enlivens the entire palette even further.

A playful project like this one allows me to discover colour combinations that make me a little delirious with excitement, knowing that each one could be the beginning of a colourwork palette for a new knit. Alexa and I have thought and written about colour often, so if you’d like to deepen your knowledge, check out the posts below.

See our Week of Colour Series for an in-depth exploration of how to select a colourwork palette, from simple monochrome pairs to Fair-Isle style blending.

Learn how to apply colour to stranded knitting motifs in our in-depth study with dozens of examples.

Collect your favourite colour combos! Making a ‘colour file’ of your favourite combinations can help with inspiration when working multi-colour projects.

I hope you’re getting a chance to enjoy colourful combinations on your needles, too! What are some of your favourites?

~ Emily

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    August 28, 2020 2:09 pm

    Most of my stash is lighter weight yarns – it looks like a lot of the colors were lighter weight here too. I was so inspired by your blanket that I ordered a hook in the right size and taught myself how to Tunisian crochet this morning! To help me start sorting and dividing my stash, roughly how many yarns were you holding together at a time? It looks like 4 to 6 strands, is that right?

  2. Olivia permalink
    August 3, 2020 4:44 am

    TrueType a study in gorgeous color. But I’m still mine boggled over the fact that you did the whole blanket in a weekend! No matter how big the needle that’s crazy fast.

  3. July 31, 2020 11:21 am

    Holy poop, that is gorgeous! I also like the fish scale pattern on your wall… and the cat! Cats always make an A++++++ addition to photos!

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