Monday, December 27, 2010

Stash. Bust.

I don't have a LOT of stash. Most knitters have more than I do. But I feel like I have too much for ME. See, since my mind changes quickly and I am easily distracted, I am always deciding I MUST MUST MUST make a project, I run out and buy the yarn, then lose interest. Then I have the yarn languishing in my stash, and it may or may not be "just right" for the next MUST MAKE project.

So I'm always looking for patterns to use up yarn. And I'm always looking at yarn thinking "almost perfect, but not quite". So then when I do find a pattern I MUST make, I feel like I should use something I have......which ends up not being right......which means I'm not happy with the project in the end.

My ideal is to find a pattern, select just the right yarn and color, then make. Rarely happens.

So I am on a mission to take all the nice yarns I have and actually use them. It's not crap yarn I lost interest in, it's nice stuff that I'm "saving" for just the right thing. Some of it is in very small quantities, others I have a bunch of. So.

I started with 4 skeins of cranberry Encore that I had purchased for a sweater for Maggie. Maggie looked at it and said "I don't like it I want BRIGHT red." I only had one skein of bright red. So Maggie got a bright red sock monkey and I used the cranberry red to make a little sweater for myself. The pattern is called Hey Teach! and is available free on Knitty. I highly recommend the pattern. While it is not the most original thing around, it is obvious the designer is very experienced and put some real thought into the pattern. Nice little details like decreases between stockinette and rib to prevent rolling, an easy-to-memorize lace pattern, and an added-on-later button band make you feel like you really know what you're doing! My sweater fits perfectly.

Next I finished Maggie's red sock monkey. He has a personality all his own. I am not up on my primate anatomy so I accidentally put his ears on top of his head instead of on the sides. So he appears to be wearing Mickey Mouse ears. To that I say....so? He has big, expressionless eyes and crocheted arms (and a knitted body). I luv him. So does Maggie. His name is Bea. Pronounced "BEE-uh".

I still had some red yarn left and so I made a little top-down cardigan for Maggie's new doll Melanie. She's an American Girl that we got on our first annual trip to the "magic dolly store". Melanie also has a little pixie-beanie that is terribly cute.

I still had yarn to use, so I looked on Ravelry for "stash busting" patterns. I found one that appealed to me---a dead fish hat. This is also a pattern available for free on Knitty. It's a clever pattern, using short rows to shape the fish mouth and directions to pick up stitches to add fins right on (most of the time I would do that anyway, but the pattern would have you knit them separately and sew them on). I told Mr. Knitty that I wanted to make a Dead Fish Hat but didn't have anyone to make it for. He suggested that I was overlooking the obvious and he had a deep desire for a Dead Fish Hat. Mr. Fishie used up a LOT of little tiny balls of yarn, plus most of a skein of brownish Encore.

I had a single ball of a neat red/pink/brown colorway of Patons Classic feltable yarn, and so I paired that with some cream colored vintage wool and made a little cloche for Maggie. Now I need to felt it.

I was having a great time using my stash! But there was still more to go.

For Xmas I received a precious little netbook named Ruby. Ruby likes to go with me, but she needed something to protect her from the elements. Rather than spend $30 on a case, I designed a custom sweater for Ruby out of handspun yarn. The handspun yarn is it's own story--I had the fiber in my stash for several years before I admitted to myself that spinning was simply not for me. I contracted a friend who likes to spin to spin it into yarn for me. I had this lovely yarn, but then no project to make it into!

Many design elements went into Ruby's sweater. I haven't written up the pattern yet, but she has a short-row flap, a join-as-you-go back panel, a slightly smaller gauge to pull in her top, and a manila envelope style button closure. I'm proud of the design because it's cute and functional. It's also a great use for barely 100 yards of super bulky yarn, making it a great project for a fun handspun or a great funky yarn that you don't want to wear next to your skin.

Whatever shall I make next?