I think I'm safe to generalise and say many of us have a lot of single skeins in our stashes that we just had to have ... even though there was no plan for them. Some of them will become the socks they were always destined to become but there are always skeins that should just not be in shoes or are definitely not sock suitable.
What to do with these beauties?! These are just a few ideas for potentially turning these beautiful skeins into beautiful knits/crochets (hhmm, you can say this is a beautiful handknit, can you say this is a beautiful handcrochet? ... it doesn't sound quite right but why not!)
Some of my 'Had to Haves' ... not a plan in the world!
One skein wonders
One skein wonders, those patterns designed to help us make use of our beautiful single skein purchases. I was going to make a list of my favourite one skein wonders but then it dawned on me that there is a much better way! It's Ravelry time!
Head to ravelry.com, login, click the 'Patterns' top menu and then click the ‘pattern browser & advance search’ link. This brings you to the Pattern Browser which is sorted by ‘Hot Right Now’ patterns.
Click 'pattern browser & advanced search'
Along the left side of the page, there is a set of options. The two of these options that I think are best for single skeins are Weight & Yardage. To find something perfect for your beautiful single skein, check the box for your yarn weight and then the box for how much yardage is in the skein and many many options that are suitable will appear on the right! Way better than me picking out one or two from the hundreds that there are!
Select your yarn weight and the yardage you have!
You can then pick from knitting or crochet and from many of the other awesome options.
My favourite crochet one skein will always be Yarn and Blarney’s Skipping Pebbles. I’m definitely biased but I think that’s ok! :). It's great because with a single skein of 400m you get a lovely size shoulder shawl.
For knitting, the single skein shawl I love at the moment is Storm by Joji Locatelli. It's hard to believe how large a shawl you get out of just 400m of 4 ply yarn.
Also this Ravelry tool is not just great for single skeins but for any quantity of yarn you are having trouble matching with a pattern.
Hold together with something else
I go on way too much about my love of the Love Note sweater from Tin Can Knits but it has been a life line for Stash Smashing for me! : ) It allows me to take my excess of singles and add mohair and ta da, a sweater!
Holding together is a great way to use up lonely skeins by giving them a friend!
This is a very very rough guide as to what you get when you hold different yarns together:
- * Lace + Lace = fingering/4ply
- * Lace + fingering/4ply = Sport (except maybe with mohair lace which make more of a DK)
- * Lace + DK = American Worsted (10 ply ish)
- * Lace + Aran = Heavy Aran (maybe)
- * Fingering/4ply + Fingering/4ply = DK
- * Fingering/4ply + DK = Aran
- * Fingering/4ply + Aran = Chucky(ish)
- * DK + DK = Chunky
- * DK + Aran = Chunky Plus (I made that up)
- * Aran + Aran = Super Chunky
I have no diea what these will become but I think they need to be together!
This is just a guide (I am a knitter not a yarn expert and that is for sure!). The best way is to take the yarns, pick a needle that corresponds to 'the standard' for the weight the two make combined and create a swatch. You can then use your swatch to match patterns to. Combining yarns works great for shawls and blankets where gauge is less important.
Fade all the things
There are lots of fading options on Ravelry and there are some standouts but you can fade just about anything!
My approach for fading, once I have gotten my stash out and mixed and matched for hours on end, is to look at the total yarn use of the project and then divide it between the number of skeins I want to use. I then knit each section until I am almost out of yarn. I then transition between the colours by knitting a row in the colour I am introducing (the next colour), followed by a row in the yarn I am finishing with and then continue on in the next colour. The Down to the Sea pattern, free in our Facebook Group, is an example of how I did this (and could also be used for fading).
I feel I have found my fade
Worry less about combining different colours and textures
There are a number of designers out there at the moment who are doing amazing things with colours and textures that you might not think of first time. A designer I only found recently, Jimi Knits, has a number of gorgeous patterns that combine different textures and colours. While I was researching this piece I took another look at her Aggregate shawl and I think it would be glorious with a skein of mohair lace and a skein of singles, one as each of the colours! You can find Jimi Knits patterns here on Ravelry.
My future Aggregate Shawl (how far in the future, who knows!)
Joji Locatellis has also just released a pattern called Ashes which uses Lace and Singles in different parts of the pattern. Not only is the pattern beautiful but illustrates that two different yarn weights can be combined really well where both yarns respond well to the same needle size.
Get more …
A nice contrast, a matching skein ... but not this month for Stash Smash! The chances are you have a friend for it in your stash already! #alwayscheckyourstash
Sell / Gift / Swap
I think it's ok to admit that sometimes the joy of yarn is not in the using it but in the buying. I really need to get some pin badges or totes for the shop that say 'Buying Yarn and Knitting are two different hobbies'.
Keep it and love it
In the same way that sometimes the joy is in the buying, sometimes it is in the having and admiring. For the times when you can't justify spending money on more yarn, 'shop your stash' and enjoy all the lovelies that are in it. ... 'Collecting Yarn and knitting are also two different hobbies'.
I feel I may never be able to do these beauties justice so they will remain as Yarn Art
So that's it, just a few ideas for your single skeins. I'd love to hear if you have any others and will be asking for people to share them over on our Facebook Group where our Stash Smash challenge is going on for September!
Next week I'll be continuing on with more ideas for Smashing your Stash, focusing on the big yarn eating projects ... for when there is a lot more than a single skein to think about.
Now these WIPs are not going to knit themselves.
Happy Stash Smashing!