Off the Needles :: Scraps

It feels really, really satisfying to knit a project and use up almost all of the yarn.  It’s as if it were meant to be, as if the yarn and the pattern were a perfect match.

Occasionally, however, you overestimate the yardage you’ll need for a project, only use a few yards of that extra skein, or inherit someone’s leftovers.  What is to become of all those partial balls of seemingly unwanted leftover yarn?

I usually toss all my partial balls into a bin inside my stash cupboard and let them marinate until a use becomes apparent.  I don’t really worry too much about them. Perfect for stripes, toys, crafts, gift wrap, and baby hats, I know my leftovers will get used up eventually.

First, I knit this:

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Earth & Sky

And used the leftovers for this:

Scrappy Sockhead Hat

Scrappy Sockhead Hat

And then I knit this:

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Tidal Cardigan

And used some of the leftovers for this:

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Little Scallops

Isn’t this a fun game?!  How do you handle your leftover bits of yarn?

You can see details of all of these projects over on my Ravelry page.

Baby Hat/Scrapdown

Recently I’ve turned to my bag of sock yarn leftovers for instant gratification knitting. I tend to have a lot of yarn leftover after knititng a pair of socks or a shawl, and I’ve found it’s enough to make a baby hat. This go-round I didn’t even have to use stripes, which means there was a lot of yarn leftover. You may recognize the hat on the left from these socks and the hat on the right from this shawl.  It was a lot of fun to play with these yarns again in a completely new way.

I improvised both these hats, with no set recipients in mind (though there are a few friends with babies coming soon).  Random yarn, random pattern…it all added up to some seriously relaxing knitting!  And it feels really good to use up those 1/4 skeins of yarn.

How do you like to use your leftover bits of yarn?  Let us know in the comments!

Day 21

I am still in a baby-knitting, baby-making phase, wildly casting on new projects for little heads, feet, hands and bodies.  As a knitter I have this fantastic skill that must be put to use when trying to keep my babe warm this winter, don’t you think?  And because I have access to all this soft wool, Angora, cotton and such, it is my obligation and pleasure to knit up a winter wardrobe to warm the extremities of all who live here.  So in between baby projects (or every two or three) I plan to keep making hats and such for the grown ups.  Maybe it’s the impending cold weather, or the uncertainty as to exactly how much time I’ll have to knit in a couple months, but I’m sure trying to fit in as much knitting as I can right now.

In that spirit, I whipped up this little hat.  It sort of looks like a curled up armadillo, or a wee woolen helmet; picture a cute baby face in there, with the strap going under the chin.

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Pattern: Aviatrix by Justine Turner (free Ravelry download) 0-6 month size

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Pollen, about 25 grams or 55 yards

Needles: US 7/4.5mm

Mods: I did a few extra decreases to make a point at the end of the strap.

This pattern challenged my ability to trust the instructions and just knit along.  I wasn’t sure how it was going ot turn into a hat, nor was I sure about the whole “wrap and turn” business.  After getting started and being inexplicably confused, I pulled the thing out at knitting night and lamented. Phrases like “Why exactly do you have to bring the yarn to the front and then turn?” and “But it leaves a strand across the stockinette stitches and that looks weird!” left my mouth more than once.  I was reassured and encouraged to just keep going.

Of course, when I got home I stalked every finished Aviatrix hat on Ravelry to see if they had the same lumps, bumps and holes I did.  I could definitely tell on other hats where the wraps happened, but they are more camouflaged in tweedy or semisolid yarns.  Here’s mine up close and dirty.  Any suggestions?

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This is the most accurate photo for color

Aside from what may only be a cosmetic imperfection, I am really pleased with how this hat turned out.  It seems impossibly small, and I find myself wondering if a baby so tiny needs a hat with a chin strap.  Seems more useful when they get bigger and want to rip the knits off their heads!  It’s really a great excuse to use a button, and I am always looking for such an opportunity!

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What’s your favorite baby knit?

Props

I finished these adorable hats just before heading off to Tennessee.  Which was a good thing as they are for my friend Hekiknits in Australia who is expecting the arrival of her twins any day now.  Talk about waiting until the last minute!  My goal was to get them to her before the babies were born, so it’s a happy ending.

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  • Pattern: Propeller by Woolly Wormhead from Wee Woolly Toppers in Medium

  • Yarn: Cotton Ease in Lime 194 and Violet 191, about 52 yards each hat

  • Needles: US size 6/4mm

  • Modifications: None.  I just played around with the i-cord toppers as I have been known to do.  The purple hat got a little bit longer i-cord which I tacked down to the body of the hat to create a loop.

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This pattern came from a wonderful collection of hats for little ones by Woolly Wormhead.  It was well-written and easy to follow, and the photos are adorable.  There is something just a little bit different about these designs which really has me feeling inspired.  I can see myself making several of the patterns for my own winter babe.

While there were plenty of great patterns to choose from, I thought it would be fun to make the same hat twice in different colors and with different tops.  Then the twins would coordinate but not be too matchy.  Since I don’t know their gender, it was also important to pick a style and colors that could adorn any baby’s head.

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This yarn, Cotton Ease from Lion Brand, has been a great one to work with.  It doesn’t block well or at all really, but it is machine washable and dryable.  There is just enough stretch to it that you don’t feel like you’re knitting with rope, and the finished fabric is soft and supple.

I got overly excited about this yarn a while back and have about 10 skeins in different colors in my stash.  Looks like I’ll be knitting plenty more things with Cotton Ease in the future!