I have started and drafted dozens of posts over the past few years, trying to think through a strategy to “catch up” with all the knitting projects I’ve been working on and dreaming about… and not gotten around to sharing on here yet. My knitting & crafts Instagram is a much more reliable place for regular posting, but there are details and extended thoughts you just can’t fit in a caption. I really miss the days of RSS feeds and Google Reader so I could see what the people I wanted to follow posted, chronologically and however sporadically, and everyone wasn’t so worried about feeding an algorithm, but alas, the world continues changing with or without me.
So without prelude or any real attempt to catch up (for now) let’s talk about the obsession that occupies a substantial amount of my knitting daydreaming lately: Stretching Leftovers.
Specifically, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with stranded colorwork (I’ll share all these projects here soon). And yes, I know a person could just buy new yarn for each new project, but it is SO much more satisfying to make a pair of socks or mittens entirely out of the leftover yarn from a previous project. They are essentially, as a friend pointed out in a KAL group, free projects, so they also really stretch one’s budget and imagination.
One of the first such projects that sparked this obsession were my Dither Socks (Ravelry*), knit from November–December 2021.
* Unless otherwise stated, all links from here forward go to Ravelry pattern and project pages, which you may not be able to view unless you are logged in.
I love this pattern and the way it makes a gradient from three colors of yarn using the early printer-inspired dithering technique of grayscale patterns to alter shades. It’s clever, and it’s ideally suited to using leftovers, as it’s 1/3 of the typical amount of yarn used per sock. And I am especially pleased that I was able to knit them from leftover yarns from my Fireweeds Socks and Chrysanthemums Mittens, two particularly beloved projects.
Of course I can’t just stay content with a nice little bonus project and call it a day. No, I have now started pre-meditating a series of projects based on incorporating leftovers, and it’s becoming, well, an obsession.
I started this pair of Angkas Mittens in late 2022, and I put them aside when the hand came out too short (I’ve since resolved how to adjust the pattern for my longer fingers, and I really hope to have them done this winter).
I want to use the leftover light blue yarn to form the sky portion of forest-inspired colorwork socks (Metsän Siimeksessä from KnitsByAnni), which will use one of two greens for the larger part of the foot. And then I want to take the rest of that green, plus a contrast color, for one pair of celestial-inspired mittens (Temple of the Forest by Elena Maltseva) and some leftover yellow and the rest of the darker blue for a different pair (Sonne, Mond und Sterne by Simone Urban). Something like this:
Somehow this level of over-thinking and fastidious planning is calming, soothing, and fun for me, and I love dreaming up new ways to use up every last inch of the yarns I already have. Every time I look at projects made with leftovers, I see the history of other projects that contributed, linking my whole body of knitting into a kind of experiential / memory palette. As with every creative thing I do, I change my mind dozens of times while shuffling and reshuffling these plans, and this is one of the only places in my life where I find my chronic indecision to be fun and not agonizing. Surely I’m not the only one?
But I am not just daydreaming about knitting, rather I am working on new things all the time. I hope to have a big ol’ pile of actual knitting to share soon!