Every New Year, I always go a little overboard with ideas and plans for the coming year. Along with a veritable raft of personal goals, I make plans to improve our flat, clear out clutter, and reorganize – and that means diving into my stockpile of yarn. While a significant stash is required for my work, I am sensitive to the weight of STUFF upon me. It can feel a bit overwhelming.
This year my stash dive really drew me to create. While working on Mad Colour, a collection all about playing with vibrant hues, I amassed a shedload of single skeins. Since then, many of these lovely gems have been sitting in my stash, tucked away in plastic bins…their beauty and utility hidden from the world. So why am I still so precious about them?!
The fact is, even if these skeins are the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, and even if I feel they’re so precious they shouldn’t be ‘wasted’ on frivolity, I simply need to get them out of boxes and into the world. I need to follow my own philosophy and ‘just get it on the needles’ (see my Three Tips for Using Your Precious Stash).
Still, a big stash can be daunting…too much sock yarn, too little time, right? Enter my knitting machine! I’ve talked about my knitting machine before, and I STILL LOVE IT. The blanket and scarf shown here were the perfect projects for it – simple, satisfying, and relatively quick ways to run through significant yardage. I probably wouldn’t hand-knit a sock weight blanket like this one, but on the knitting machine, it was manageable.
I made the blanket in sock yarns. It’s about 190 sts wide, and I alternated a Zauberball Stärke 6 self-striping yarn with several different single skeins. After the blanket came off the machine, I hand-knit garter stitch edging. If I were hand-knitting a blanket like this, I would work in garter stitch, so no edging would be required. Or perhaps I’d follow our free Malt blanket pattern, but I would work it in stripes, blocks of colour, or marled (holding 2-3 strands together).
This child-sized, colour-blocked scarf was also made on my knitting machine. I worked a 2×2 rib pattern over 82 stitches, using all kinds of sock-yarn odds and ends. I made it with my four-year-old daughter, Neve. She chose out the colours and told me which order to work them in; I was simply the technician!
At about 46″ long, this little scarf is long enough to wrap twice around little Neve. And more importantly for her, it’s the perfect length to drag through every muddy puddle she sees!
I LOVE playing with different colours and experimenting to see how they combine. The striped blanket and the ribbed scarf were joyful in this way. They were good reminders that a project doesn’t have to be complicated to be full of joy. Sometimes the simple satisfaction of combining colours is really all that’s needed in knitting. I don’t always have to play with sophisticated stitch patterns or design well-fitting sweaters. Sometimes just getting the yarn on the needles – and watching the colours play off one another – is all my knitter’s heart desires.
What kinds of projects are you drawn to when you feel the urge to purge your stash?
January 7, 2021 @ 10:40 am
I love how you put the colors together on the blanket. I completely understand why you would use a knitting machine to make this blanket in sock weight yarn. My first thought about using my sock yarn to do something like this – “it’s too expensive to use sock yarn for this”. After giving it a little more thought, maybe that is not true. I don’t have SQ of stash, but what I have is a lot of single skein sock yarns and maybe a double sided scarf or a tubular scarf using 3 or 4 skeins of different colors would be worth investigating – thanks for making my brain think outside the box.
January 7, 2021 @ 10:26 am
Lovely post! And I popped over to read Using Your Precious Stash too – great read again! I think we all have things we ‘have’ and daren’t use. I can immediately think of two piles of yarn – one of which I think about from time to time and can’t decide what to make – I think I purchased enough for a short cardigan but really want a long top to cover my bumps and lumps! I shall have to rethink that one so I can enjoy using and wearing it. Very cute models by the way!
January 7, 2021 @ 8:39 am
I love your striped color combinations! I’ve been wanting to make a wall hanging that is either knit or crochet, but right now I’m knitting a chevron shawl from some lovely Uneek self-striping yarn I got for Christmas.
January 7, 2021 @ 6:31 am
I try to remind myself that there will ALWAYS be another beautiful skein of yarn to buy. Helps avoid both the “preciousness” around the prized yarn in my stash and the “gotta have it” feeling when I’m in the yarn store and looking at yarn that I absolutely do not need!