9/1/08 – How about Handspun, Odd-Balls and Garter Stitch?

September 2, 2008 at 1:42 pm 1 comment

A few days ago I showed off a simple scarf idea developed for my daughter, made with just the chain stitch in crochet.  But what if all you know is how to knit… meaning, just the knit stitch.  We all start that way.  Many of us (me! me!) like to have a simple garter project going, for those times when we just need to knit but don’t want to think (or want to be simultaneously talking, or watching something).  I call this my Little League knitting, but I digress…

It’s not all that hard to come up with garter stitch projects, actually.  My heroine, Elizabeth Zimmerman, taught us all the great versatility of this humble stitch.  But maybe you also have a lot of small random yarn leftovers stuffed in the nooks and crannies of your house… or perhaps you have an assortment of little bits of handspun, either beginner yarn, or those pesky sample skeins.  Did you get overly enthusiastic about sock knitting and have a gazillion skeins calling for size 2 needles?  Lets throw it all in pile and make something of it, shall we?

Start making piles by color, or by colors that go well together (check a favorite printed fabric for inspiration).  Don’t bother with the weight of the yarn, although do give some consideration to whether or not the fiber will wash/wear well together, and slip those poor bedraggled skeins of discount-store acrylic into the charity box while you’re at it.   When you’ve got a nice little pile of yarns that seem to go together, get out a big fat long circular needle and cast on.  I used a size 15, and cast of 100 stitches for a scarf and 150 for a shawl.  In both cases, I left a long tail on both edges, and changed yarn every row.  Yes, EVERY row.  You could plan a color progression, grab balls at random, or however you like.  I tried to frame bulky yarns with thinner ones so the bulky ones stood out, and I freely mixed handspun with commercial yarns.  You can double or triple yarns if you want, but the yarns on the different rows don’t have to be near the same thickness for the item to work – in fact, the different weights add visual interest.   Here is what resulted:

That’s a shawl – all animal fiber yarns, some handspun, and weights between lace and bulky.  Here’s the same idea done as a scarf:

As you can see, I tied groups of yarn ends together with an overhand knot to make the fringe.  Oh, and another trick to help stabilize the edges as I knitted it: on each row, I knit the second stitch from the edge first, then the first stitch.  You could also twist the first couple of stitches, or even up the tension in your edges and tie the fringe every few rows.  Combine yarns to your heart’s content, and people will think you used some fancy designer yarn instead of your old leftovers.

I made these a while back, but I though this would be a good day to share the idea.  Summer is Officially Over (though the equinox is still ahead) and as we all get back to school/work and pack away the swimming suits, it’s time to look ahead to winter, and the holidays.  Surely someone on your gift list would benefit from a scarf, shawl, lap blanket or afgan made it this technique?  And if you use up all those odd-balls in your stash, it will be easier to justify buying more yarn/spinning fiber for the new year.

Ak – did I say the words “new year” on Labor Day??


Entry filed under: HANDSPINNING, knitting. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

8/31/08 Spinning with One Hand… 9/2/08 – Take Me out to the Ballpark (I’ll bring my yarn balls along!)

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Barbara  |  September 2, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Lovely scarf! And, thanks for including the suggestions on making the fringe and stabilizing. I can’t wait to make one from all my little remnants from my stash!


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