stash lovin' paintbox and what you can do with your stash

June 20, 2023

Hello friends! Hello new beautiful blanket! I'm making this post not only to show you my most recent project, but also to show you all the pretty, practical and varied things you can make with your stash. Most of the patterns are free and I've got links for all, so come on in and see just what those beautiful oddballs can become!

This blanket started out as the last bits of my colored dks and worsted weights, mixed with a few fingering weights too. I blended two to three strands together to make a heavy worsted/aran weight. I used a size 8 needle, knit diagonally and increased until I liked the size, then started the decreases. It is a 55" square which is a good sized throw for us. It's a mindless knit, and perhaps more than a bit boring, but then  I love repetition and letting my mind wander and daydream (bliss!) plus I love gobbling up stash. And see all that yarn above? It's all gone now, save two skinny half skeins of white.

Examples of my strand pairings:

1 worsted with 1 fingering
1 worsted with 1 sport
2 dks
1 dk with 2 fingering 
2 sport with 1 fingering

I thought a bit about my color story, starting with orange and gold, then on to brown and purple, then blues and greens, and finally to the pinks, creams and whites. My Ravelry project page said I used 21 different yarns, but some weren't labeled and I couldn't remember them, so I'm sure there were many more. Most were Brooklyn Tweed and Rowan, but Malabrigo, Shibui and Berroco also showed up. The yarn is mostly luxurious wool and it's just heaven to touch. It was my TV watching lap blanket last night and oh my, it's weighty and heavy in a good way.  The pattern is FREE:  Diagonal Comfort Blanket from Lion Brand.

You might wonder why I have so much stash?

One culprit was buying "one extra skein just in case" for each project I made. This pretty much meant that I was almost always left with TWO extra skeins after the project was finished! I don't do that anymore.

I also regularly bought orphans in the sale bin, just because they were pretty. No more.

I also bought sale yarn with no idea what I would do with it. I really really try NOT to do this anymore.

I was gifted with hundreds of beautiful skeins, mostly from Rowan, when I was active on social media. This was a lovely time in my life, but I stopped it when it became overwhelming. 

So what's a gal to do when she finds herself swimming, or rather, drowning, in luxurious skeins of wool? For me, I first had to deal with the guilt of having too much. I slogged through the process of acknowledging that I'd spent too much money and accepted too many gifts, and then took forever to give myself the grace to forgive myself. What was the point of looking at my stash and feeling bad? It was gorgeous after all and I didn't want to have any negativity surrounding my most favorite and beloved hobby. I told myself, "hey, the money has already been spent, and the gifts have already been accepted, and whether or not you're going to use it up in a timely manner, or never use it, is beside the point." I wanted my beautiful stash to make me happy, but guilt or no, the sheer amount of it stressed me out and just managing it was too time consuming plus it took up way too much space. I'd been successfully decluttering the rest of the house, so my motto was: stash, you are next. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I gave a lot away, sold a lot and then devised these projects to use up the rest. 

I am now nearing the end of my stash busting challenge. Below are my stash lovin' projects from the last several years, showing you what our beautiful oddballs are capable of becoming. Some projects use up just tiny bits, like the stockings below, but some projects like my most recent blanket above, used up oodles and oodles. There is just something so nice about gobbling up all that beautiful yarn that's been secreted away in cupboards and bins, giving it life and purpose. I've included links, and all the patterns below are free except for the Stephen West pattern.

Just look what you can make with your beautiful stash! 

I made 25 advent socks with tiny bits of fingering weight yarn.

I used up my rustic fingering weights in this pretty afghan.

I made this colorful afghan with a Stephen West pattern.

Another Diagonal Comfort Blanket with fingering weight yarns paired with a strand of Kidsilk Haze.

Another Painting Bricks, this time in pastels.

Last summer I made 100 bunting flags!

I also made a hat!

And a sweater!

In fact I made many many sweaters with my scraps!

Some were faded.

Some were striped.

And some were just so dang cute they made your heart melt!

Please read this helpful post for tips and patterns to make free baby sweaters,
Totally Free and Totally Adorable Cardigans for Baby.

Let me show you the scrap projects I'm currently working on.

A striped scarf knit in the round.

A no-name blanket with 3 colors of Rowan Kid Classic.

And finally, the very beginning of the Sweet As Honey afghan with my blacks and whites.

So at this point in time, where do I stand with my stash? After these works in progress above, I'll be left with a slim oddball stash but I'm certain to collect more as I make things and inevitably have leftover yarn. One reader told me she drops her oddballs into a bag, and after a year and when it's full, she donates it and it becomes someone else's problem er, potential. I'm sure I'll want to save a little (for emergencies!?) but honestly, I'm happy to move on from it. So I leave you now hoping you feel inspired and not overwhelmed. Be bold, be fearless, and get to knittin' or donatin', whatever works in your life. 

Now it's your turn. Please tell me about your stash! Do you have any?  Does it make you feel uneasy or is it comforting? Do you have plans for it? I’d love to know! 

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  1. Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring post. I'll get to my stash one day, but I'd be happy just to have it in one place instead of all over the house! I also have a book recommendation, The Old Lion, a fascinating story about Teddy Roosevelt.

    1. Thank you for the book rec! I rely on those so much so I really appreciate it. I have put it on hold on Libby.

  2. Very inspiring Kristin! I am not sure I have the stamina to work on a blanket..yet! But the time may come. However, I have finally chosen patterns for many of the Sweater quantities of yarn and have started knitting some of them. I am choosing quick easy projects, since I often get bogged down in fancy lace stitches and intriguing techniques which slow me down...a lot! For orphan balls - hats, cowls, hem and sleeve' trims, markings. A couple more Vlogs for you to try: "Mostly Knitting" (delightful Australian who also puts out technique videos) and oh I forgot, and the comments won't wait till I look it up). And thanks to the person who suggested Teddy Roosevelt. He almost always makes for good reading! Chloe

    1. Yep, you need stamina for blankets for sure, and my newest one in black and white may take a few years. I've collected the yarn, printed the pattern and cast on, and that's it for now! I'm so with you about getting bogged down with ambitious patterns. I have a beautiful all over lace pattern sweater that has languished for a few years, but I know I always finish my projects (as long as I like the pattern and the yarn, and in this case I do) so I don't mind having it sit and wait for me. Thank you so much for you vlog recommendations. I am going to check them out soon. When I'm sitting and knitting now I'm either watching baseball or listening to an audiobook so I just have to squeeze out some time. But I love knowing there's something waiting for me.

  3. That’s MARLING. I have lots of KSH for that! Oh, podcasts/vlogs: The Gentle Knitter’s backlog. She has stopped posting because of illness but her soothing voice and beautiful projects were great to knit by. She has over 30 past episodes to choose from. I realize these might not all be to your taste but You Tube has dozens to pick from and I just love the geographic variety - from Denmark to New Zealand to Arkansas (when was the last time you heard from Arkansas?). Chloe

  4. I always look forward to your posts. Beautiful, inspiring, useful. So many good things. Thank you!

  5. Thanks so much for a great post. I love your projects, and appreciate the inspiration. You are right about too much yarn resulting in unneeded stress. I've learned that my extras rarely get used, and happily gift mine to various sources.

    1. I remember a time when my yarn stash fit in one bin in my sewing room. That was decades ago. How did I let it get so out of control? Well, I've learned my lesson now, too much of a good thing is not good at all. I may never get my stash down to one drawer again but I do feel so much better using it up.

  6. I really enjoy your posts. I have been knitting hats for #hatnothate which collects blue hats. Now I am using leftovers for striped blue hats.

    1. Hi Barbara. I looked up Hat Not Hate and read Shira's story, Her story is heart breaking and inspiring. We know that hurt people hurt people. Why are people, even young people, so broken and so insecure that they need to make another feel bad? A four year old was bullying my grandson on a soccer field. It happened over several weeks. His daddy, my son, talked to the coach and the child's father and it did stop, but can you imagine what is going in a four year old's head that he wants to be ridicule and tease another child? It starts early and must be addressed early on. I don't mean to get on a soapbox, but I want to say it's wonderful to be able to mix your hobby with a meaningful cause. Good job!


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