Friday, 30 August 2019

Smashing the Stash Or What I've been Knitting the Last Few Months . .

Stash.  It's an ongoing problem. I love it all - it's a collection of wonderful yarns that I have picked up at memorable festivals and on my travels, and I still get inspired by all of its colours, textures and smells.  But equally, I've been trying to think of ways to use it up because I am fast running out of room to store it all.  I wish I could say that the photo below was the extent of it, but . . . ahem. . . there might be just a little bit more where that came from.

My excuse for not having blogged much over the summer is that I've been madly knitting in an attempt to at least try and make a dent. In case you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some of my best tips for stashbusting.

1. You can hold two strands together.  This is a modified Doocot by Kate Davies.  I had two skeins of a purple variegated sock yarn that I wasn't really fond of, part of a mystery yarn club I subscribed to several years ago. However, when I held it double with a cone of beige Shetland that had a slightly pinkish tinge to it (another colour I wasn't too keen on), they seemed to compliment each other perfectly. Try pairing something you have no idea what to do with, with something else in your stash. Who knows what magical combination you might come up with.

2. You can finish up some old WIPs (incompleted projects are still stash in my books, just in a slightly different form). As usual, I just had the sleeves to finish on this Miette and I can't think why it was sitting in a bag for so long, as this cropped cardi has proven to be a really great wardrobe staple and I've been wearing it lots this summer.

3. You can volunteer to test knit a dress. The pattern, designed by Susanne Sommer (aka sosuknits) hasn't yet been released, but this is almost 500g of stash!  Plus, I had a great time learning to knit pleats and the dress has pockets! I absolutely love it.

4. Worsted weight sweaters use up a lot of yarn!  Whether you hold two strands of 4ply together or knit from a worsted/aran weight ball, these are relatively quick knits and perfect for the winter months. I love this Upstream jumper by Kate Davies and it's so comfy to wear.  The yoke was unusual but very easy to knit.

5. Laceweight can be surprisingly versatile.  My next two projects were great stashbusters and knit specifically for a very special trip that I will blog about next week.  The first is Hryggir by Helene Magnusson and all the marling is achieved by holding two strands of laceweight together.  I had no idea I had so much lace in stash until I went rummaging for this project, but it's been interesting to combine them all together.

This Hapisk, also by Helene, is also knit in laceweight and illustrates another great stashbusting tip - find projects that have stripes!  A great way for using up random balls and odds and ends. I made this slightly smaller than the original by going down a needle size and it has turned out just as I'd hoped; the perfect shrug to sit comfortably on your shoulders while allowing plenty of movement i.e. knitting.

I brought both these projects on my recent trip to Iceland - more on that in my next post.  And I still have plenty of new cast-ons with old stash on my needles.  But there is nothing more satisfying than coming across a pattern you want to knit and realizing that you already have the yarn for it and can cast on right away.  Or rising to the challenge of finding a way to combine disparate or odd skeins of yarn to create something really interesting and original.  That's my justification for a large stash and I'm sticking to it.