Creative stash diving: re-purposing a knitting kit

A few weeks ago, I found myself between projects.  It was just a few days before I planned to head to Unravel and hopefully buy yarn.  But I wanted something on my needles right away, so went digging through my stash.

For an avid knitter, I have a fairly small stash.  And it has very few SQs of yarn.  (An SQ is a “sweater quantity”; obviously it is much easier to knit accessories from stash than sweaters, as you can easily use a single skein to make a hat or a pair of socks.)  I did, however, have a kit to knit this sweater:

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© Marie Wallin

This sweater is called Wren and was designed by Marie Wallin.  I bought the kit for myself as a birthday present in 2016 (blogged here) and spent some time in 2017 contemplating whether to knit the yoke bottom up from a provisional cast on (blogged here).  I eventually became dis-enamored of this pattern and put it away to languish in the stash.  I can’t fully remember my reasons for this, but do remember spending hours, and more hours, trying to make sense of the directions.  I really didn’t like the way they were written, which seemed very counter-intuitive.  (I find this in general with Marie’s patterns, though I think her designs are gorgeous.)  I wanted to knit a between size and couldn’t calculate it, despite lots of math-fu.  And I decided, in the end, that I didn’t like the way the sweater fit.  So into the stash it went.

Upon finding this in my stash a few weeks ago, I decided to re-purpose it into something else; the question is: what?   I have for a long time wanted to knit something designed by Mary Annarella.  I remember falling in love with her very first published design: the Inaugural Sweater, designed at the time of Obama’s first inauguration.   I’ve been following her designs ever since, but have never knit one of them.  I did some swatching with the kit yarn – Titus, a fingering weight wool from baa ram ewe here in the UK.  And then I poked around Mary’s patterns for designs knit with the same gauge, and decided on Knit me Baby One More Time:

© Mary Annarella

This pattern had the right gauge, and allowed me to fool around with the lovely shades of the Titus from the Wren kit.  I cast on with the blue-grey and then switched to the lovely rich blue for the main colour:

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The knitting just flew off my needles, in part due to the fantastic pattern.  (I love the pattern.  I plan to gush about it in my next post.)

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I decided at the very start to do some cool colour blocking with the small mini-skeins of Titus from the kit.  I chose one of the greens for the bottom ribbing and the rust shade for the sleeve ribbing.

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I am totally loving this detail of the colour blocking at the sleeve (ignore the terrible photo of me, taken late at night with bad lighting):

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I exaggerated this detail by picking up the sleeve stitches with the light blue and knitting a row before switching to the main colour.  I think it looks super cool.  One of the things that is so great about this pattern is that it is so beautifully written and fitted, that you can use it as a canvas for all sorts of lovely colourwork.  I am very much enjoying picking and choosing the colours from the original kit and deciding how to use them in this tee.  Stay tuned for the neckline ribbing!

On a more somber note, we are staying at home, trying to be responsible and stay safe in the face of the rapid spread of Covid-19 through Europe.  I was in Copenhagen early in the week, and returned home just three days before they closed their borders.  The UK is so far following a different strategy than the rest of Europe, and this means that we are still open for business.  Doug and I are working from home as much as possible, though I have teaching scheduled all week.  I imagine that things will continue to change on a daily basis.  We are prepared, however, for some period of isolation. We have knitting, books, and guitars to keep us occupied.  This is a very scary time, but we know that knitting and other creative hobbies can help to allay anxiety.  Please stay safe!

12 thoughts on “Creative stash diving: re-purposing a knitting kit

  1. Is it done already? Great job! That’s true, it is not often that we have SQ in the stash, so easily customizable projects make it easier. Stay safe, everything but essential stores are open now in France. We’re all working from home, and the children have a long list of homework to do. It just feels really strange, almost surreal. Knitting is sure a help to alleviate anxiety. Stay safe!

      • I think that you are a few days ahead of us in France, but we are fast catching up. Both Doug and I are now working from home, delivering all classes on-line. The university is open for the students who live there, and so has essential services like security, but everything else is closing down tomorrow. Life is indeed very strange. Keep safe!

  2. I too have that kit but my problem is the wool not the patter. I love the colours but Titus is so fine it doesn’t make the kind of dense fabric you want with fair isle – it just didn’t seem to work to me. Will investigate that designer if the tension works.

  3. Pingback: Colour me happy | Knitigating Circumstances

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