. Ravelry Tips to Use Up Your Stash


Ravelry Tips to Use Up Your Stash

Category: projects

I guess I could also have titled this post, “Ravelry Tips to Find Purpose for That Yarn You Needed an Excuse to Buy”, because that’s a large part of why I use Ravelry. You know how it goes: You’re in the yarn shop, minding your own business, when suddenly a skein of yarn winks at you from the shelf. “Pssst. Psssst! Take me home! Make something beautiful with me!” Before you know it, you’re turning the skein over in your hands, pressing it to your cheek, desperately trying to find a reason why you SIMPLY MUST buy it. Ravelry can help.

When I really need an excuse to buy a specific yarn have a yarn languishing in my stash, sadly purposeless and adrift, I go look it up on Ravelry. I then click on the “pattern ideas” tab. Oh, “pattern ideas” tab, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 2.33.49 PM

I love the drop down menus that allow me to choose knitting or crochet, and/or narrow it down by type of project. When I’m in the mood for fingerless mitts, these menus save me from having to scroll through 52 pages worth of shawls/hats/cowls/socks, and simply show me the 3 pages of relevant projects.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 2.41.29 PM


And say that I had only purchased one skein of yarn, or ended up with one lonely skein at the end of a sweater. The “pattern ideas” page has got me covered, by letting me select how many skeins my potential project can require. That cuts out the heartbreak of falling in love with a pattern, only to realize that you don’t have enough yardage in that one-of-a-kind indie-dyed beauty you bought last year. This is also great when you’re dreaming about a new yarn purchase — you can input either the maximum number of skeins on the shelf, or the upper limit of skeins your wallet will currently permit, and trust that Ravelry will work within your yardage.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 3.16.50 PM


My final favorite feature of this Ravelry gem is the way it displays the projects. It shows me which ones are free, gives me a photo of the original item on the left, and then shows me examples of the project completed in my yarn on the right. It also gives me typical yardage (by fractions of skeins, at times), the rating of the original project, and a link to helpful notes by knitters who have already boldly gone where I would like to go. If I’m pondering color choice, this can also sometimes allow me to see specific colorways in context.


So the next time some yarn is calling your name or you’ve decided that an item in the stash can’t wait any longer, and you aren’t quite sure what its destiny should be, look it up on Ravelry and click the ” pattern ideas” tab. Enjoy!




In Search of Inspiration for Baby Projects

Category: projects

I have a printed copy of an internet meme hanging on my whiteboard above my desk at work, and another copy stuck to my fridge at home. On days when I’m struggling with procrastination, or mornings when I’m feeling sluggish and uninspired, it gives me a boost. What is this magical motivational poster, you ask? Well, it looks like this:



Now you know what gets me moving. It came from the internet. The fact that the shark hat is crocheted makes it even better, because I know that someone out there took the time to make a shark hat for their kitty (or sure, for a baby, but let’s be honest, cats in hats are pretty amazing).

This weekend, I definitely felt like a powerful Great White Shark — I finally finished repairing Brooks’ dad’s sweater! I wound in the final ends, checked everything over, and packaged it up. Success! An item checked off the knit list! Fellow crafters, you know the satisfaction I felt when I officially declared it done. Is there any better feeling?

Now I get to cast on my capelet figure out what to make for a baby that is due in early September. I want it to be something fun but also practical, because this is a Maine baby. With that in mind, this is one of the potential items:


© Pam Allen


Is this not one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen? Possibly even cuter than a cat wearing a shark hat? This is the Baby Duck Booties pattern from Quince & Co., and it makes me want to just squeal with delight. The toddler size (which I would have to make, because I knit slowly and babies grow so quickly) uses Chickadee, a sport weight yarn. I think I’d change up the color of the sole, because white would get dirty really quickly, but we’ve got plenty of colors to choose from in the store. I have also pondered trying to size this up to make a cozy pair of slippers for myself, perhaps using plushy, aran weight Osprey. (Non-slip paint or a suede sole would be a necessary safety feature.)





© Espace Tricot

I’ve also considered a blanket for the heirloom factor, and because the sizing is less crucial (ditto for the gauge — score!). But there are so. many. baby blankets out there. Ravelry offered me 168 PAGES of knitted blanket patterns when I searched. After enjoying working on the ZickZack Scarf, I’m tempted to tackle the Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot, though probably in Berroco Vintage instead of cotton, because this is a fall/winter baby. However, if I continue procrastinating on this project, I may end up needing to choose Softcotton Chunky for a quick knit summer blankie!





Of course, there’s always the sweater option. I think I’ve already mentioned that I love designs by Tin Can Knits, and they don’t make it easy to choose. I’m torn between two patterns: Old Growth and Goldfish. Which one do you prefer?


© Tin Can Knits


This is Old Growth, and I love the off-center buttons and fun tree motif. It’s classic, elegant, and seamless!








© Tin Can Knits


And this is Goldfish — adorable, fun, quirky, and also seamless. With a slightly tonal yarn for the main color… this could be the one.








What do you think, readers? Booties, blanket, or sweater? What’s your go-to item to knit when someone is expecting? As soon as I have a pattern, I’ve got to channel my inner shark and attack the project!





Excavating the Knitting Bag

Category: projects


This is what a knitting bag should never look like.

While my mind is often cluttered with ideas and worries, and I start new projects every day with wild abandon and no shame, I fancy myself a relatively neat and organized person. I think I devote so much attention to keeping my possessions orderly to compensate for my cluttered mind. For me, organizing things is calming, and organized things are conducive to organized thoughts– perhaps even essential for extracting real actions out of the mental chaos. Nonetheless, entropy is a rule of the universe, and I find myself going through cycles of order and chaos, particularly with respect to my knitting bag.

I always begin with the best of intentions. I take a fresh knitting bag from my craft room, where I’ve neatly folded and stacked my collection of equally-sized and color-coordinated knitting bags. I place the supplies needed for one single project inside of it. I think to myself: I have plenty of knitting bags; there is no need ever to lose items in the bottom of one or find needles and yarns hopelessly tangled around each other inside of one. “No,” says the universe, in an insidiously slow, quiet drawl.

Today was an excavation day. My knitting bag had reached a critical capacity, and I’d frankly forgotten what was buried within it. So, I dumped the entire contents all over the coffee table… just kidding. I carefully removed each item one-by-one and placed it on the coffee table. It’s astonishing what one forgets in the space of a few weeks.


On top, the “Blowing Bubbles” shawl – this is an unpublished pattern that I’m test-knitting for Mim. I was eager to be helpful and intrigued by this pretty pastel-colored yarn.

Boboli Lace Cowl

Then I uncovered this experiment in Berroco Boboli Lace. I love this yarn. It’s gorgeous and shimmery. An unusual cowl construction with overlapping ends and picked-up stitches had popped into my head, and I had to try it.

Bridezilla Shawl

Oh, the Bridezilla capelet… I couldn’t help myself when I found the pattern for this gorgeous capelet with hundreds of beads, nupps in the shape of hearts, and multiple panels of elegant, intricate lace. I so adore this luxurious blend of alpaca and silk from Highland Handmades.


The Bridezilla capelet was too complicated to work on while watching The Walking Dead. Chris had already turned on the TV, so I grabbed a skein of Araucania Panguipulli that I’d had in my stash for years and began this simple scarf in a hurry.

Mixed Texture Teal Shawl

And then, this simple shawl which I began in the hospital waiting room at Maine Medical while Chris had surgery on his neck. Now it reminds of the nice lady named Betsy who leaned over and asked if I had a tape measure she could borrow, then eased my mind by chatting with me about knitting (and surgeries) for several hours. Rest assured, Chris is well.

Miscellaneous Knitting Bag Stuff

And then there was this: a free pattern tear-off sheet, a wasabi kit-kat bar my mom sent from Japan, four tubes and one (cleaned) jam sampler jar of beads, a bag of freshwater pearls and sterling silver jewelry components, a pay stub, some crumpled up paper, two circular needles, a pen that belongs to the shop, two cases of sewing needles, and a piece of floss in a baggie (for stringing beads).