This past year, I have made a conscious effort to utilize the growing stash that is forming. I don’t mean the stash of yarn waiting to be worked on with particular projects in mind, I am meaning the remnants or leftovers of yarn from already completed projects. I call the first the stash and the latter, the remnant stash. To help me think how I could utilize these scraps, I have organized them into bins according to their weight.
I do not necessarily remember the weight of all the yarn I’ve used therefore I rely heavily on the yarn bands that is full of information about that yarn. I never throw those bands out! When I come across a pattern whereby I think I can use some scraps of a particular weight, I pour those balls of yarn out onto my work table and play. It is in this way that this fair isle coat came to be.
It began with wanting to knit my daughter a Christmas present. Not being a fan of surprises, I did not want to present my daughter a knitted garment she hadn’t seen. Having to start somewhere in the investigation of what to knit for her, we began with patterns I had saved over the years. Our tastes are different as are our lifestyles, so I did not think she would actually choose any one of these yet I did think these patterns would lend some inspiration. Well, I was wrong. The bear sweater by Tiny Owl Knits stopped her dead. In my queue for a few years, she fell in love with it and visualized hers to be in the colors that are seen in the pattern. I found a great visual to help with the face.
The knitting of it was quick and easy; sending it off to her was another matter. She promised me a photo shoot (one day, maybe) so these are the only pics I have of it now.
Last year, The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo brought in designer, Heather Lodinsky, to teach a skill on one of her designs. The pattern was her two-tone slip stitch cable pullover and the skill was using slip stitches in cable work. In my experience in knitting, I had not encountered slip stitches to be used for the design of a garment, only to be done along the edges of knitted pieces. So, I was quick to take on the pullover with the Guild and it led me to do a self-investigation of slip stitches, in general.
ON SLIP STITCH STUDY
One way to choose a pattern is to have specific learning intentions in mind. With this ‘study’, I purposely looked for patterns that used slipped stitches and and used those slipped stitches in the design process. This kind of focus not only informs, but also helps to narrow the field of potentials. My curiosity is now satisfied and this is what I’ve found:
Slip stitches can be used as a variation to the basic cable technique. More [HERE] about this project.
Slip stitches can be used to create an overall linen or tweed look in the fabric . There is more [HERE] on this.
Slip stitches can create a unique broken-line look in striping. More [HERE].
For a project that pretty much flew off the needles, it is interesting that I have so much to say about it. I have lots to say not due to any pattern issue or yarn dissatisfaction, but rather the changes I made in how I constructed it. From long tail cast on to sewing on the seam binding along the back neck, I feel these changes led to its success and will lead to the garment’s longevity.
I will begin with the pattern. Found in an unlikely source for me, the vogue knitting online store, I’ve always thought these a collection of older issue VK patterns so figured I had already seen all of them. I virtually stumbled across this and was surprised it was not familiar to me. I also found a bunch more I really liked and have queued so I now know that these collections of [free] or otherwise select patterns on various knitting websites may offer new possibilities and are not necessarily from publications. I love everything about this garment: its deep hem rib that shapes the piece, the deep v neckline, its concept, the pockets, its versatility, oh, I could go on. There is nothing I do not like except its construction. I even used the yarn of the pattern and chose a very similar color palate substituting only the antique for grape and keeping the candy apple red color.
On the yarn. The yarn utilized in the pattern is a bulky Lion Brand fiber called Homespun of acrylic/polyester. I love the boucle look of this yarn and knew if I was going to knit this, this would be the only yarn I would consider. The fiber looks almost like rickrack and gives the surface of the knitted fabric a soft, curly look. Fabulous, however I was soon to find out that it was difficult to work with.
I think I have more questions than answers after finishing this project. This will create lingering in my mind. The topic is crochet. This is definitely the most challenging project I have made in crochet as it involved gauge, fit, shaping, and color changing within a row, none of which I am sure I did correctly and none of which I’ve ever done, before. Also, technique in sewing the crochet pieces together. What I knew however is that this pattern would be a great way to use up some remnant stash with its offering of color possibilities. I have plenty of remnants from past projects of small bits of color however I knew I did not have enough of one color for the main body. Purchasing only three skeins and using those scraps, I thought this a great way to stretch yardage. I did go with the yarn used in the pattern for this main color (MC), a silver grey filatura-di-crosa- zarina-chine.
Organizing stash by weight serves me well when choosing from remnants. I just pull the container holding the weight I need/want. Housing same weight yarn in wide mouthed containers with remnants from each project wrapped separately in plastic bags and inclusive of their very important yarn bands lets you see your choice quickly and efficiently and reminds you of the content and recommended gauge of that particular fiber. To me, organizing is a huge time saver and allows my brain to remember the colors I have in particular weights. These containers go from fingering on top, sport weight, worsted/aran, to bulky weight scraps at the bottom.
I had a really hard time getting the gauge for this and had to go down quite a few hook sizes to get even close to what the pattern required. Here is the first rainbow I created which ended up being way too large.
We all know it is vitally important to achieve gauge for fit purposes. In this case, gauge also had to be achieved for those multitude of pieces that would have to fit together, much like a jigsaw puzzle.
It was a hot summer. Record-breaking in fact, in our neck of the woods. Knitting is at a minimum for me during the summer due to heat, not to mention the warmth of the summer sun is a constant force of beckoning. Who doesn’t want to be outside during short summer months? On the other hand, the knitter in me is always looking to move forward with the stash and there is the cool of the evenings.
I thought linen; lightweight and stays in the theme of summer. I’ll pull the linen from the stash to work up. I’ve had this bundle for a number of years, had never knitted with linen before and wanted to give it a try. I had purchased it for a darling top that caught my attention with it’s open stitch weave and detached cowl. It is amazing to me how an experienced knitter can always find new things to take on. Between the new yarns, new-fangled stitches, and that never-ending flow of patterns, there is ALWAYS opportunity for taking on something new.