painting bricks in pastels

February 01, 2023

I have another blanket completed using my leftover worsted weights saved from a lifetime of knitting. Some of these stripes were made from sweaters I made 20 plus years ago, and at least one was from a sweater I remember wearing to my son's kindergarten picnic, and he is 39! My last afghan used my leftover brights with blacks, and this one used up the remaining neutrals and pastels with whites. 

The pattern is Painting Bricks by Steven West. It's so dang fun and engaging, plus it's simple to customize for size. There are two sizes, but for an in between size you can add or subtract 20 stitches which is one repeat, and of course you can make it any length you want. I cast on for the smallest size but added 20 more stitches just to make it a little wider. Instead of weaving in tons of ends, make sure you hide them by tucking them into the icord edging as you knit. As I recall, the pattern calls for a crochet cast on, but I used a long tail cast on, knit 4 rows garter, then started the pattern. To finish, I knit 4 rows of garter and cast off. As for color choices, I don't see how you could go wrong with any color combination you loved. Mine are made entirely of scraps, and just look at what scraps can make! I think it's important to note that neither the whites I used above, or the blacks I used below, matched each other. I had multiple shades of cream and white and ivory and also shades of charcoal and black, yet it works. If you choose to knit this, I know you'll have a blast. Steven's patterns are always well written and easy to follow. Links:

I couldn't get the colors right in the outdoor photos. There are no blues in the quilt, just grays.

With the completion of this project, all my tidbits of worsted weight oddballs are gone. I've still got plenty of fingering weight and dk oddballs and for those I have plans for a scarf and some striped baby sweaters, see pictures below. After that, I think my days of saving oddballs and making scrap projects are gone. I read about a knitter who saves her oddballs, and when she has enough to fit into one of those $10 Priority mailing bags, mails it off to someone who wants it. Her trash becomes someone else's opportunity. Brilliant!

I'd love you to read this article from Interweave and hear your thoughts. I agree with the author that we need to banish any feelings of guilt over our stash and I think her positive statements about knitters are sweetly endearing, but speaking as a dedicated declutterer, I can't help but ask this question, just exactly how much yarn am I willing to manage? 

Fingering weight tidbits. This is my second attempt at the free pattern, Stripes Please. The first try was  too wide for me so I ripped it out and will cast on again with 1/3 fewer stitches. 

DK weight leftovers. When I need to make a baby gift I'll pull from this pile and make a free baby sweater. 

Here's a sneak peek of the yoke of my most recent sweater. This was a preview knit for Brooklyn Tweed and will be published in two weeks. I used one of their new yarns, Imbue, which is simply fabulous! I'll be able to share it soon, but already wearing it and loving it.

I've just started my last scrap blanket with my more rustic fingering weights; all are leftovers from previous sweaters and are just gorgeous. In this mix is Rowan Valley Tweed, Bare Naked Wools Stone Soup, Biches and Buches Le Petit Lambswool, Charlevoix Pure Laine Mouton Sock, Tukuwool Fingering, and ITO Shima. I've been keeping this stellar group of yarn in a special box and the time has come to bring it life. I'm doubling the yarn, planning to fade it from whites, through the tans and grays, and then to the charcoal, and hopefully getting that little bit of mustard into the mix too. My Ravelry project page here.

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  1. Absolutely beautiful!

  2. Managing stash is an excellent way to describe what we do with our purchased and leftover yarn. I love to look at others' stashes; it's like going into a yarn shop and learning about new yarns. The colors are fabulous, and they've purchased yarns I've yet to encounter. Most knitters I know have sizable stashes. I cannot deal with a large personal stash. The yarn literally weighs on me. At the end of 2022, I had only one sweater quantity, plus many small leftovers skeins I keep as samples to swatch for future ideas. Thanks to Christmas, my sweater quantity expanded to three, and now it's at four. Of course, I also have a few projects on needles too. That's about the max I can handle. I avoid yarn shops until I'm ready to purchase another project. Knitters find what's comfortable for them, and then carry on accordingly and enjoy their hobby.

    1. You are so wise to stay out of the yarn shops until you are ready to purchase. Even though my stash is still large, it's shrinking but at least not growing. I now try to think of my lys as being my storage unit. It's there when I need it and until then, I don't need to take it home. Your last sentence says it all. Wise words.

  3. It’s funny. When I was sewing I almost never bought fabric beyond my current project. But I cannot seem to resist buying a particularly tempting skein outside my current needs. The results these days are either disastrous (too much!) or delightful (like shopping out of my closet). And the opportunities for marling are infinite! Chloe

    1. There you go! Putting a lovely spin on it!. I like your attitude, and I suspect the disaster of too much is really not all that much of a disaster. Thank you for your comment.


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