Friday, 15 June 2012


(destashing with a little help from Ravelry)

I've been buying way too much yarn lately. I used to visit yarn shops with no plans, and would only pick up a couple skeins of lace weight or 4-ply. but lately I've been going with specific projects in mind, and have accumulated several sweater's worth of DK yarn.

All this yarn can't be knit up immediately, so I need to store it somewhere. My stash, as we knitters like to call our yarn collection, has burgeoned from one plastic box to three (not counting my three cardboard boxes of half-used yarn balls). The largest box contains laceweight and 4-ply, the second box is for heavier weight yarns, and the third is exclusively Habu.

My Habu stash - the pride and joy of my collection

I was running out of room in the heavier yarn box, and instead of resigning myself to the inevitable and buying yet another box, I decided some destashing was in order. I like to have lots of lace weight and 4-ply yarn on hand, because just one skein can be used for so many purposes, and I never know when I'll need another pair of fingerless mitts or lace shawl. Also it doesn't take up that much space. But heavier yarn is another story.

I dug out three heavier weight summer yarns that have been sitting around in my stash for far too long, all purchased five or more years ago, some now discontinued, some partially used on other projects, some frogged from projects that didn't work out.

I couldn't possibly throw it away, so I just had to figure out what to do with it, with the help of Ravelry's advanced pattern browser. You plug in what style of garment you want, yarn weight, yarn amount and any other qualities you are looking for, and Ravelry pulls up all the matching options from its massive pattern database. You can also choose if you want to only search among the patterns you own, or are free, or available for purchase online. Here are the yarns and what I'm going to knit (unless I find better options).

Rowan Cotton Jeans

I already knit up this yarn (now discontinued) into two projects, one of which turned out too small, the other of which stretched out too much after washing. Never again will I buy worsted cotton - I find it too stiff and bulky for garments. So instead I'm going to use it to knit my first blanket using the Randig pattern by Orianna Eklund, which is a continuous blanket knit in the round starting in the middle.

image by by nasseknits

I picked this pattern because I didn't want to have to sew pieces together at the end. Also, I have two colours of yarn which will work well in stripes, and I wanted to use up every last bit of the yarn. With this pattern I can just keep knitting until I run out.

Stripey blanket - a nice, soothing, mindless knit

So far I'm quite happy with how it is turning out. I'm not sure if I'll have enough for a decent size blanket, but maybe it will be large enough to use as a picnic cloth.

Rowan Damask

I randomly picked up four balls of Rowan Damask (now discontinued) on sale because I liked the colour and it was cheap. It is a DK weight variegated yarn in rayon, linen and acrylic. I've gone off variegated yarns for garments - too often you'll be knitting along producing a nice random pattern, and suddenly you'll find one of the colours pooling into a jagged unsightly splotch, creating a 'homemade' look (in the worst possible sense of the word). I've learned to resist sale yarns, but to reinforce the lesson I'm forcing myself to use the stuff up.

Borrowed image from lenarowltd on ebay

To find a good project I trawled through all the projects others had made out of this specific yarn, and came upon the Leaf Kimono Top by Sarah Barbour, knit by Heather (who kindly allowed me to link to her project). This loose-fitting top is knit with an open lace pattern, and it looks from Heather's lovely version that this helped to break up any pooling tendency.

I don't really have enough yarn, but I might get away with a cropped version with narrower sleeves. It's worth a chance, because I really can't envision this yarn as anything else!

La Droguerie Lin

I bought this DK weight linen at La Drougerie's old-fashioned yarn and craft shop in Paris. I couldn't resist the shiny jewel-toned skeins of linen yarn hanging on the walls. Too late I discovered that La Drougerie only sells their patterns along with yarn - since I had already bought the yarn, I couldn't go back and pick out a pattern. I used up some of one of the two colours I bought on a very successful simple short sleeve summer cardigan, but I have enough left over for a striped sleeveless top (I'm considering Bonne Marie Burns' Chickami - a great, basic tank pattern). I'm still a bit unsure whether the colours will work together.

I swatched to see how the stripes look. I think I might just get away with it - what do you think?