I have an Always Overflowing Scraps Basket (AOSB). It's like it came out of a scary fairy tale, a veritable horn of plenty refilling itself endlessly no matter what I desperately try to stashbust! Sadly, I can't blame elves for this... it's entirely and completely my fault. First, a knitting obsession inevitably fills the AOSB with "one-ball-wonder" leftovers. Second, I am THAT person who is always taking anything up for grabs in your knitting group, ostriching my head into a Goodwill bin or raiding a library swap basket (and <<oops>> forgetting to swap). Unknown? Scratchy? Fluorescently acrylic?! Gimme! I can do something with it, I swear!
|I took a lot out of this basket as you'll see below.|
Two things caught my eye: 1) It was a 4-row slip stitch pattern with enough texture to hide weird color changes, and 2) it used two strands of aran weight yarn held together (in this case, Rowan Felted Tweed Aran). These two things would help solve the TWO MAJOR PROBLEMS with trying to make a pullover from bits and pieces of yarn:
PROBLEM #1: Make all the excuses you want, none of those colors actually go together. Yep, the likelihood of pulling out some amazing pullover-sized color combo out of a scraps basket is pretty much ZERO.
SOLUTION #1: Ombré, or, the blending of colors using shading. By having two strands of yarn in a slip stitch pattern, we suddenly have greatly increased our possible acceptable color combinations. With a single strand, you starkly go from blue to red -- with two, you go from blue to blue-purple to purple to purple-red to red.
PROBLEM #2: None of your scraps are the same weight and you are in for one lumpy dumpy pullover. Yep, we can't all have a scraps basket filled with every beautiful shade of Rowan Felted Tweed only.
SOLUTION #2: By having a 2X aran weight gauge, we can double, triple or even quadruple yarns to get better colorways and still come close to our gauge.
So one afternoon during a pre-Spring thaw in Maine, I poured my AOSB out onto the deck and tried to find me some colorful ombré!
At first I thought "rainbow". But then I don't really like to follow rules, and I didn't quite have the right shades anyway. Also, I had a ton of black, white and gray.
ROYGBIV became YGRBIV.
I started knitting and was totally addicted. I seriously whipped this thing out. I was just so pleased watching serious Stashbusting In Situ, À La Carte, IN REAL TIME.
There was more to the excitement: each row reminded me of a project long past or an old friend who had gifted me yarn at swaps/parties/giveaways. It really was lovely to knit all this history together, some of this stuff was over 10 years old. I like to think of it as a sedimentary map, geology style:
The stitch is a really simple 4-row repeat pattern. Here is a .jpg so you can save or Pin on Pinterest:
I was able to accomplish the ombré look I wanted by always carrying one yarn through 2 repeats (8 rows). Basically, only one of two yarns changed for each repeat.
The pullover is still crazy, and obviously scrappy, but I'm really pleased that I managed to make this whole thing out of nothing!! I really think the ombré approach is the only way to go, and it's a concept that will work equally well in knit and crochet.
And so after all this I ask you, very honestly and with wide dewy eyes... do I have yarn elves? Is it actually possible that I do??? Because I kid you not, despite creating this new bulky Scraptastic Sweater out of my scraps basket... IT STILL LOOKS COMPLETELY FULL! We just might have to play the 'how many jellybeans in a jar' game for this one, folks....
See my Scraptastic pullover on Ravelry
This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK's number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit www.deramores.com for more details.