Category Archives: stranding

Best Stash-busting Knitting Project Ever

I confess: Working on a lot of little projects barely put a dent in the yarn stash I pledged to use up over the course of 2017.

Fortunately I spotted the Katie Rose Pryal’s Sediment Scraps Blanket on Ravelry. Because you’re working five—count ’em five—stands of yarn at a time, this project really burns though a yarn stash. It also makes for a really thick, warm blanket.

Working five strands of yarn at the same time results in fabric that’s roughly half an inch thick.

The pattern works up much like the classic dishcloths I made over the summer (using up nearly all of my cotton yarn), but it seems even faster because it’s on large needles. This is what I had after a just couple of hours of knitting:

For reference, the footstool the project is on is about 32″ wide.

The Sediment Scraps Blanket pattern is really fun to knit. I got excited whenever a strand of yarn ran out and needed to be replaced.

I tried to balance the colors a bit, so there wouldn’t be too much of any single color in one area, but sometimes the yarn had a mind of its own.

This is a pattern that really showcases the basic garter stitch. Despite being worked on the bias, it’s also straightforward enough for a beginning knitter to tackle it if they know how to work simple increases and decreases.

It’s hard to believe, but about mid-way through I was worried that if I made my blanket too long I might run out of yarn.

This “aerial shot” doesn’t get the entire finished blanket into the frame.

The final result is a thick, heavy, warm blanket that’s about 50″ by 60″—a perfect size for settling in to watch TV on a cold evening.

Those bumps are my knees, all warm and cozy under the new blanket.

Not only does this pattern use up a lot of random yarn scraps, it holds memories of each project those bits and bobs of yarn came from. A really cool thing happens when so many different colors combine into a single object: the new item can blend in with pretty much any color scheme.

Did it use all of my yarn stash? Not quite. But most of what’s left now fits into two under-the-bed storage cases, so it made a huge dent.

After the holidays I think I’ll try to make a coordinating throw pillow to use up the rest of my stash.

 

How I Celebrated National Craft Month

I previously alluded to a knitting project I started before learning this was National Crochet Month. Luckily March was also National Craft Month. With no further ado, here it is:

It might look familiar to family, friends and anyone who’s visited my Ravelry page (not sure if the link will work for non-members or not). In the past four years I’ve made about six different versions of my Super Long & Funky Stocking Cap. This one is the longest yet, coming in at 73″ (including tassel). The colors? Peacock, Winter White, Lemongrass and Royal Purple. (In the photos, the Lemongrass looks more lemony than it does in person.)

Each hat is unique, not just in terms of color but by design. Call it my version of Fair Isle Knitting. I’ve never done any official Fair Isle knitting, so any classic Fair Isle patterns you may spot in this hat are purely coincidental.

The truth is I get bored using the same motifs over and over so I pretty much improvise my way through each hat, knowing how many decreases it takes to taper down to the point, and roughly where they need to be to reach the desired length. Sometimes I play with stitch patterns as well as color, but for this hat I used a simple knit stitch (because the hat is worked in the round the result is a smooth stockinette). One friend asked me to work some fun fur into a hat, and it looked pretty cool.

Also cool? The inside:

Even non-knitters might guess from the photo above that this technique is called stranding, where two or more colors of yarn are worked continuously throughout the project. Stranding is often confused with intarsia, where each color is worked from its own bobbin, like your favorite Argyle sweater. Easiest way to tell the difference is to look on the reverse side. Intarsia won’t have lots of strands.

I’d never designed anything more than a scarf before I made my first Super Long & Funky Hats. I used special knitter’s graph paper to chart different motifs and even did math (gasp!) to figure out the decreases for those first two hats. Now I just figure it out as I go along. That’s the fun of making these hats. The only thing I know when I cast on is what colors that particular hat will be.

This was my big Craft Month project. What did you make?

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