I am a serial caster on-er, regularly seduced by a lovely, shiny new pattern. But it seems to be getting worse since I have started my yarn diet, because I can see so much potential in my beloved stash.
I knew things were getting bad the other day when I couldn’t find any 4mm interchangeable tips. I hadn’t lost them, they were simply all being used. When I dragged all the bags and boxes of projects out I realised I have to focus on finishing some of them before I can allow myself to start anything new.
Here are a few of my favourites.
Kidalton is by Kate Davies from her Inspired by Islay collection which I am knitting in a Merino yarn by Lang Yarns. I have been cabling without a cable needle on this pattern which the wonderful Jen Arnall-Culliford taught me when she joined The Knitter.
Xanadu is a beautiful shawl by Kitman Figueroa. If you haven’t ever tried one of her designs, what are you waiting for? They are as elegantly written as the shawls themselves. This is a pre-blocking image so you can’t see how yummy it will look. The yarn is Yarn Stories Fine Merino 4ply.
Redshift is a Jared Flood design. I think he is one of the nicest people I have ever met in our wonderful world of knitting so I always have a soft spot for his designs. This is a steeked shawl and I am using Gomitolis Lambswool and Wool/Cashmere. As you can see mine is more of a yellowy-green shift.
Stephen West’s Marled Magic Mystery Knit Along was gifted to me by my dear friend Michelle. She is joining me on the yarn diet trail and though this would be a good pattern to eat up a few of the odd balls that we both have. I am trying not to be too regular in the colours I am putting together and I am really pleased with the result so far. Miracle of miracles, I am actually keeping up with the clues.
There are at least another 6 projects that I am willing to admit to on the needles but I am going to try to finish one off every week or so. Gulp!
The big stash down has started and it’s actually quite good fun. Last time I went on a yarn diet I learned a lot so I thought I would pass on some tips to you.
Take a long hard look
I have finally been brave enough to pull my stash out from all my favourite hiding places and take a long hard look. When you see the enormity of all the yarn you have collected it can be quite sobering. Now is the time to steel yourself and harden your heart. Most of my stash lives in six apple crates and it was sorted in to weight of yarn and then arranged by colour groups, but when I unstacked the crates I realised what a mess it was.
Cut, slash and bin
The first thing to do is get rid. Cue the internal dialogue.’Will you actually ever knit up that hank that’s been under the bed for a few years? Yes, I know you like the colour but it doesn’t suit you’; ‘Eugh, what were you thinking?’; ‘Who did you inherit that from?’ and so on.
Find a home
After a couple of hours I had several piles. I find it helps to think about who might want each discarded hank or ball so I have a straight-to-charity pile, a maybe-someone-in-my-knitting-group-can-use-it pile, a birthday-present-for-a-friend pile and a sell-it-on-ebay pile. I also had a pile of tiny balls and half knitted swatches that went straight in the bin because they really weren’t worth the brain power needed to find a home for them.
Hey Presto! My stash had already gone down by a good ten percent and there was enough room in my crates to arrange the knitworthy yarn that was left into some semblance of order, as well as imprinting what I actually have on my memory for potential projects.
Well, that’s the hard work done, now I can get on with the knitting! Who knew I had so much Noro?
In December when I announced I was going on a yarn diet it all felt so easy. After all I did exactly the same thing a few years ago when I was editing The Knitter. This time I took a few extra precautions and ordered in some new yarn before the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, just in case you understand. But now reality has started to bite.
I haven’t yet had the nerve to pull out all of my stash and take a long hard look at it but I have started to look at patterns that I think will use up odd balls of yarn. One of the large wooden trays that house my stash is full of tweedy 4ply yumminess. It’s mostly Rowan Scottish Tweed (remember that?) and Jamieson’s Spindrift in a rainbow of shades. I noticed that there was quite a lot of oatmeal among the colours, which screamed blanket to me so off I trotted to Ravelry.
Purl Soho have such stylish patterns but their Optic Blanket really caught my eye. The design is based on a kind of mitred square, knitted in the round. Each square is then cast on to the next but I have decided to sew all my squares up at the end. Partly because I have such a variety of colours I want to see how they turn out first, but also because I want this project to be portable.
I absolutely love the way the squares are turning out and can’t wait to piece the finished blanket together. I just hope I have enough oatmeal to finish the blanket.