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March 14, 2022 4 min read

Last week’s newsletter struck a chord.  I received so many comments about what to do with the yarn and projects that don’t spark joy.  You can sell yarn you don’t want on Ravelry. If you know what it is, and you’re willing to take a picture of it, you can post it in your Ravelry stash as available for sale or trade.  I know at least one customer who does this all the time. It’s a beautiful way to help your fellow knitter get that last skein of some discontinued yarn she needs.  

If identifying, photographing, posting, and mailing is more trouble than it’s worth, there are lots of forums on Ravelry where you can simply donate your non-joy-sparking yarn.  Here is a link to all of the ways you can give these yarns a new home and feel good about doing it. https://www.ravelry.com/groups/iso-and-destash-of-yarn

What I want to talk about today is what to do with the smaller amounts of yarn that have earned a place in your stash because they do spark joy. The truth is that constraints drive creativity. If you tell yourself that you have to use what’s in your stash, you’ll see that your creative side goes into high gear. Here are some tips on how

Keep it small

Make small things If you have lots of single skeins, remember that there is an endless array of patterns for small things that you can make.  Ravelry pattern search options allow you to filter patterns by yardage, gauge, and item.  You can quickly find dozens of patterns for hats, fingerless mitts, cowls, and more.  

Make small hidden additions - If you happen to have half a ball of cashmere, angora, silk, or any other super luxurious fiber, think about making a turned neckline and lining it with that luxurious fiber. It only takes a smidgeon, and there it is, right next to your skin - so yummy.  You can do the same with something that’s a fabulous color - how fun is it to have a flash of hot pink on the inside of a sweater collar, or cuff.  No on need know it’s there but you.

 

Make small public additions - As we found in the color workshop, a small splash of color is often just what it needs.  Use a leftover bit of sock yarn for a fun and colorful contrasting heel and toe on your socks.  Consider casting and working just one row of your hat, mitts, scarf, or sweater with that scrap of vibrant silk you couldn’t part with.  Just a touch - like a squeeze of lime - brightens everything. 

Do colorwork- A few different colors of yarn can make a stunning colowork yoke.  You don’t need much, and if the cuffs and yoke don’t match exactly, who cares? Who will even notice???

Go Big or Go Home

Use lots of different yarns - You can make an entire garment, shawl, or blanket with lots of different yarns.  For garments, try to keep the yarns fairly close in gauge, or carry two together and bump your finer yarns up to the gauge of the others.

Use blending stitches - Multi-fiber projects often look best when you’re able to mix them between rows.  Stitches like reverse stockinette, seed, and linen stitch help blend the different yarns together so they look more cohesive. Stacked stitches, a new technique Ginni is teaching is also a fabulous way to get a nice blending between your yarns 

Use a blending yarn - You can get a way with a really wide variety of yarns if you carry a single color of Kidsilk Haze throughout.  It smoothes away the differences and blends the yarns together.  And you get a beautiful subtle halo too. You can also use a light laceweight yarn to carry along  Claudia’s Handpaints does a gorgeous cobweb weight silk that would work perfectly.

Use blending transitions.  Working two rows of color A, two rows of B, then two rows of A, and so forth will help you move from one color to the next and help minimize jarring color changes.

Use a structured motif- Regular repeating shapes bring order to the chaos of so many different colors and textures.  Think about how the blocks, stripes, triangles, and other motifs Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably use organize different colors and textures. 

Create a palette  In big projects with lots and lots of different yarns, the key to making sure it looks artistic rather than just (s)crappy is choosing a cohesive color palette. If you’re having trouble finding a palette, look to your favorite piece of art, or fabric, or anything that you think is pretty, and mimic that palette.  The work is full of beautiful inspiration for your creativity.

One final note - It is so incredibly freeing to work with stash.  The stakes are so low.  It’s not like you will mess it up. The skeins are likely already open and wound, or there’s just a little bit left anyway.  You can play and swatch and try things without worrying.  Just have fun.  Who knows - it might be the most fabulous thing you ever knit.  

 I look forward to seeing what you create!

In the shop, around the table - online, or in Club Crazy for Ewe - you are always welcome here.

 ~Ellen

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