Scrap Happy

When you knit a lot, you do end up with scraps.  I find this to be true especially with sock yarn.  I do not need an entire 400 yds to make a pair of socks.  There is always a significant amount left over.  I have a little basket in my office where I throw the leftover skeins.  Eventually they get moved into a big plastic bag in the attic until I need them for something.

I do a few things with my scraps.  Sometimes I need them to darn my socks.  It’s always nice to make the darn with the same yarn, although since the hole is usually in the sole or

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Paul the Mushroom Boy (pattern by Lydia Tresselt)

heel area, you can really use any yarn to darn because your shoe will hide it.  Sometimes I make a project, like Paul the Mushroom Boy (left), that only need small amounts of yarn.  Paul was made almost entirely from scrap yarn, except for his face and hands.  Sometimes scraps come in handy for a baby hat, booties or mittens.

Despite all those options, I still end up with a ton of scraps.  Add to that some wonderful scrap yarn that was donated to me by a Knit 1, Heart Too viewer a few years ago, plus all of my mom’s scrap sock yarn… it’s a lot of scraps.  I did divide a lot of it up with Diane when we both thought we were going to make Zoom Loom blankets.  (Actually, I did make a Zoom Loom blanket but I thought I would make another one.  I didn’t).  I tried a crocheted scrap blanket but I kept joining the motifs upside down, and eventually, I decided to stop.

Sheila, my co-host from Knit 1, Heart Too, started talking about making 2017 her year of scraps.  Diane started knitting her temperature blanket.  I started thinking maybe 2017 would be a scrap blanket year for me too.  I toyed with knitting Vivid (but in sock yarn), or the Barn Raising Quilt, but neither one really called to me.  To be honest, the mitred square blankets didn’t appeal to me either, until I saw the End-Less Squares Blanket by Simone Kereit.  I really liked how the decreases in the pattern’s mitred squares form a chevron pattern (instead of lining up like many other patterns).

If you do a little research, there are a large number of patterns for making mitred squares on Ravelry and many of them are free.  I looked at a ton of different free patterns and played around with needle sizes and stitch numbers.  I knew I would make my squares in garter stitch because I knit much faster than I purl.  I chose the centered double decrease as my method of decreasing (there are a bunch of different options out there, I picked the cdd because I like it best).  I found that I could get a nice sized square on US 3 needles with 41 stitches to start.

After that, I just played around with different ways to join the squares.  After experimenting, I went with a join as you go scheme where I pick up stitches from existing squares (casting on additional stitches where needed, like on the ends) and work the new square directly off the existing ones.  (If you look at the free patterns there are several different options for joining the squares, too, I found).  I measured the throw I have on the couch to get an idea of how many squares wide to make the blanket (16 squares in my case) and started knitting!

After completing the first row of squares, I realized it would make things easier if I slipped the stitches at each end while knitting the squares.  It’s so much easier (and faster!) to pick up the stitches that way.  I’m actually kind of embarrassed about how long it took me to come to that conclusion!  I oriented my second row of blocks to start forming a chevron, and will continue to work the blanket that way.img_0339

I’m not really sure the chevron shape of the ridges will be very noticeable with the many different colors of all my scraps, but it just makes me like the overall appearance more.  There are a lot of different options for putting an edging on the blanket as well.  I’m thinking about an i-cord edging (despite the fact that I loathe doing i-cord).  But some of the free patterns had knit or crocheted trim options.  Fortunately, it will be a while before I need to make that decision.

One of the cool things about this blanket so far is how versatile it is to knit with my loads of self striping yarn.  The stripes make each square look like it came from completely different yarn, so I’m really getting a lot of mileage out of those particular skeins.  As I look at the picture posted of the work in progress I realize that it might be time to add a few more solid colors to the second row…

So far, this project has a potato chip feeling to it.  I can see how it might become tedious after a while though.  My goal is to try and knit at least one square per day.  That’s a pretty small goal, so I feel that it’s achievable.  We’ll see!

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