Knitters and Covid, A Good Time to Stash Dive

Miss Babs K2 Chunky yarn, Rock Sparrow

I’m glad I have this knitting hobby to keep me relaxed in times of stress. As a self-proclaimed hermit, I am used to being home…a lot, so this quarantine is not hard on me. My son shops for me and I work online (have for years) so life has not changed all that much here.

The stress for me is imagining all the people who are financially stressed (that is bad stuff), or overwhelmed by kids and spouses being around ALL THE TIME. People are not used to it. I’m glad my kids are grown and although my earnings have plummeted (I earn royalties from sales – which are way down) I do have other income, so I can get by. But I know people who are suffering.

Knitting Out of Your Head

This hobby mean different things to different knitters. Some make money from creating patterns, so it’s a job in part. Many of us simply enjoy knitting itself. The movement of the needles and the feel of the yarn. Doing something we enjoy can’t help but remove stress.

Do you always use a pattern? How about putting knitting knowledge to work and make up something as you go? It won’t be perfect, or maybe it will, but it surely will be unique.

My made up tube scarf using stash yarn in helix stripes and colorwork
Tube Scarf

My tube scarf here used lots of various yarns, in many colors, and I made it up as I went along. It looks like it, right? Haha…I don’t care, it was fun and I wanted to try “helix” knitting with stripes. It was a good chance to practice, in my beginning knitting days. Cast on, join for knitting in the round, and knit onward until it’s long enough … super simple.

I also did some little stranded knitting patterns on this scarf. One thing I didn’t do, but I suggest you do if you choose to knit this way, is to use similar types of yarn. I have wool mixed with sock yarn so the scarf is not “washable” as the wool will tighten up.

Stop Buying Yarn Pam!

Because my income has decreased, I am trying not to buy new yarn (Ya right!). I stopped (lie) after I found Brooklyn Tweed Arbor on sale for $10 a skein at Purl Soho – what a deal! – and bought two pretty Azalea Pink skeins (should have bought more at that price) to make mittens and a hat for my daughter – not sure which patterns yet. I’m already thinking about Christmas presents!

Since then, I refuse to buy more yarn (somebody stop me) but I do look (big mistake). Many shops, and some sites, are either closed down, or have limited yarn and shipping days. It’s not a good time to buy favorite yarn (unless you find those sales), even if you want to support the local yarn stores. Yarns are getting low as yarn makers no longer ship out their products. But if you look around…. (please don’t listen to me, and stop reading right now!)

Gosh, I found cones of Harrisville Highland yarn on sale in my favorite colors: Teak and Foliage! I’ve never knit using cones, but so what? Passing this deal up would have been idiotic. If you like bargains, and wool on cones is always a bargain, check at the Eugene Textile Center online.

Looking Through the Yarn Stash

This makes the quarantine a good time to stash dive and figure out ways to use up all that yarn in bins, cabinets, drawers, and bags. I always think that I don’t have that much – until I go look around! Seven skeins for this sweater I frogged, and seven more for the sweater pattern I couldn’t figure out. Plus the leftovers from skeins used to knit hats, mittens, sweaters, and scarves.

I only started knitting a couple of years ago! I can’t imagine what seasoned knitters have lying around.

Hanks of yarn
Handspun, solids and semi-solids

Small Projects for Stash

Most of my unused yarn is fingering weight, sock yarn. I bought it for the colors, and figured one day I would knit socks – lots of socks! Guess what, I hate knitting socks. Back when I began to knit, I didn’t know much about which yarn to use for which project. I looked for washable yarn, but ended up loving pure wool, which is not machine washable. So now, I have lots of that too! Can you relate?

Fair Isle stranded colorwork knitting
Colorwork hats and mittens in wool

I am knitting like mad, so I am using up my yarn. I’m just not doing it quickly enough. Am I alone in this? I think not.

Often I have only one skein of something. I bought it because it was pretty! Holy cow. So here are some ideas for using a skein or less from your stash.

Ideas for Fingering Weight Knitting

With knitting experience I now know better which yarn I love and which patterns work best with that yarn.

With the Rauma Finullgarn I have left over from mittens and hats, I can do more colorwork projects. I loved making Katie’s Kep and Tettegouche (pictured above) and would enjoy knitting those patterns again in various wool colors. Stranded colorwork cowls, mittens, and tube scarves are another idea.

Shawl knitting is in my past, but you can create an entire shawl from one skein of yarn. The No Fuss Shade-loving shawl works up with sock or fingering, and the Scrappy Bias shawl can be knit with many leftover skeins to create a gradient of colors.

DK Weight – One Skein, or Less

These mittens I knit up recently for a KAL with The Woolly Thistle. Both pair came out wonderfully! I used (and now love) Brooklyn Tweed Arbor. They are pictured above: Glissade and Fiddlehead. Each take less than a skein of each of two colors.

It’s almost summer you say? And who wants to knit mittens? I live in Florida. If I stopped knitting when the weather got warm, I’d never knit.

Chunky / Bulky Yarn

Bulky yarn is great for a quick and easy project, like a cowl or ear warmers. I just cast on to make a second Honey Cowl using up my K2 yarn in “Rock Sparrow”, such a lovely color, from Miss Babs (pictured in my first photo on this page).

I have used other bulky weight yarn for quick headbands / ear warmers.

Drying two bulky knit headbands

Maybe this post has inspired you to dive into that stash and come up with a project that will calm your nerves. I hope you are not like me and buying more yarn than you need. One day I hope to have that kind of self-control.

Stay calm, and knit on, fellow knitters!

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