On the needles: Giant rainbow blanket

Like many knitters I know, I have somehow acquired a huge stash of yarn. This isn't a bad thing - having the raw materials to create is great, and there is oodles of potential in oodles of yarn. It can, however feel quite overwhelming.

A big part of the issue for me is that most of my stash is made of leftovers. Part of it is the scraps of old projects that I've made, just enough to do something with, but more than I can justify throwing away. Some is recycled from projects that had past their prime, such as the knitted cover I had created for a computer chair that I have since thrown away. Most, however, was from a well-intentioned gift from my mother-in-law, which has plagued me for the last four years.

When I first moved to the UK with my husband, I brought very little with me. For those who have never done an international move, shipping is prohibitively expensive, so the less you have to move with, the better. To make me feel a bit more at home, my lovely mother-in-law went to a jumble sale and brought a massive bin bag full of yarn from an elderly crafter as a gift.

Like I said, it was well-intentioned, and greatly appreciated when I first moved. But as you may have already suspected, I had inherited someone else's stash. Think tiny leftover yarn balls. Unlabelled skeins before, and never more than one ball of the same yarn. I've happily made lots from that stash. Hats galore, several pairs of socks, some lovely cowls, home accessories. But there does come a point where you just need to declutter, and you run out of single skein projects which inspire you.

It was at this point where I came up with the brilliant idea of my rainbow blanket; a great way to eat up a bulk of my stash, while still creating a big project which I was excited to make. Back when I started it almost a year ago now I had no idea just how big it was going to be.

I started by laying out every ball of scrap yarn that I had on the floor. Yes, it was a mess. I put aside any obvious outliers; novelty yarns, sock weight or super bulky options, or particularly nice yarns which might be better suited for a future project. From what was left, I organised them in rainbow order, took a photo so I could record the colour plan, shoved the designated balls into a big ol' IKEA bag, and got started.

Inspired my a blanket one of my best friends had made years ago, I decided to make it in mistake stitch rib. The texture is big and cosy, and would help the colour changes to blend. It's also interesting enough to not be a chore, and simple enough so that I could mindlessly stitch away while watching TV.

Here's where the size comes in. From just eyeballing my bag of rainbow yarn, I knew that I could make something quite large, and I didn't want to have any yarn left over. So I cast onto my largest circular needles without counting and happily went on my merry way.

I still haven't counted the stitches yet. It's that huge. I laid it across my king-size bed not too long ago, and it easily covered the entire width. Did I overestimate myself?

I don't have an answer. I'm not done - and I know exactly why it's taking so long. But do you know what? The darn project is still really satisfying. Whenever I look at it, I feel a sense of pride that I am making an impact on my stash (and the elderly ladies stash that I inherited) and will have a pretty darn cool finished product too. I'm currently in the purples, so the end is in sight. I'll keep you updated on its progress, and hopefully, I'll have a giant new blanket by the time chilly season comes around again.

How do you use up your stash?
Happy stitching,
Molly x


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