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Stashghan

by Linda

A super easy, thick, tweedy, knitted afghan worked in one piece designed to use up your stash of extra yarn. I used mostly dk and worsted for mine - cottons, wools, acrylics, whatever I had on hand that I wanted to use up.

[Stashghan - Click for Larger Image]

Before you even begin to think of casting on a stitch, you must gather up all your odd balls of yarn and spread them out on the floor. If there is someone in your household who does not understand this yarn collection obsession most of us have, you might want to do this when that person is not around. :)

The first thing to do is to remove those yarns that don't fall within the weight categories you've decided to use. Precision is not necessary, if it feels too thick or too thin, then that's all that counts, no matter what it says on the label (if there IS a label). You'll be using two strands together throughout, so I would advise against anything thicker than a worsted, but it's your stashghan, so indulge yourself. As for amounts, any strand that's long enough to work across the width or length a couple of times is long enough to use. As for the total quantity of yarn - it should weigh at least double what you think you'd need for a regular afghan - even more so if you're using lots of cotton yarns. But don't worry about that til you're done sorting and reviewing.

Next, sort by colour. You'll want a pile of neutrals (light, dark and in between), and a pile of your chosen colour. The colours should be all light to medium, or medium to dark. Now, begin another small pile consisting of a few balls of a colour (or colours) that go well with your main colour, preferably dark if your colour pile is lt-med, or light if your colour pile is med-dark. Bright colours will go well with either type of main colour. We'll call this your contrast pile. Your neutral pile and colour pile should not be too out of whack with each other sizewise (just eyeball it). I would say if one pile is more than twice as large as the other, remove some from the larger pile or try adding more to the smaller - being less strict with your categorizations. This is supposed to be fun, so don't sweat it if you think your ratios are off. This is all taken care of in the making of the stashghan.

  1. Grab your circular needle and two friendly looking balls of yarn and, using both strands together, cast on 25 stitches. Knit back and forth for a couple of inches (garter stitch). Now grab a ruler and see how wide this piece is. No need to be exact, round to the nearest inch. If you're familiar with doing swatches to determine your gauge, skip to the next step. If this is new to you, please see the chart below. Find the measurement nearest your own for a rough idea of how many stitches you need for the width (or length) you want for your stashghan.
    If 25 sts is: 100 sts is: 150 sts is: 200 sts is: 250 sts is: 300 sts is: 350 sts is: 400 sts is:
    3 inches 12 in 18 in 24 in 30 in 36 in 42 in 48 in
    4 inches 16 in 24 in 32 in 40 in 48 in 56 in 64 in
    5 inches 20 in 30 in 40 in 50 in 60 in 70 in 80 in
    6 inches 24 in 36 in 48 in 60 in 72 in 84 in 96 in
    7 inches 28 in 42 in 56 in 70 in 84 in 98 in 112 in
    Once you've got your gauge figured out and know how many stitches you'll be casting on, ravel out your swatch and return the balls of yarn to their correct piles.
  2. Choose two yarns - a neutral and a colour - and cast on the correct number of stitches for the size desired. Work 2 or 3 rows of garter stitch (knit every row).
  3. Now a decision must be made. What routine are you going to use for changing colours? You'll use each particular yarn for 2 to 6 rows every time you use it. And somewhere during these 2 to 6 rows, you'll change the colour of the other yarn you're using. Don't be put off, it's a lot easier than it sounds.

    There are two ways to go about this. See the chart below for Method One - Planning Ahead. All you need to know is which yarn pile is largest, and which is medium. The smallest pile is always your contrast pile.

    Large Medium Small      
    Neutral Colour Contrast Change Neutral yarns every 5 or 6 rows. Always have at least one Neutral in use at all times. Every few inches, use two neutrals together for 2 to 4 rows. Change Colour yarns every 4 or 5 rows. There may be some times when there is no colour yarn in use for a few rows. Rarely, if ever, use two colours together at the same time. Every few inches, not immediately before or immediately after a spot where you're using two neutrals together, instead of using a colour or neutral for one of your strands as you normally would, use a Constrast yarn for 2 to 4 rows.
    Colour Neutral Contrast Change Colour yarns every 5 or 6 rows. Always have at least one Colour in use at all times. Every few inches, use two colours together for 2 to 4 rows. Change Neutral yarns every 4 or 5 rows. There may be some times when there is no neutral yarn in use for a few rows. Rarely, if ever, use two neutrals together at the same time. Every few inches, not immediately before or immediately after a spot where you're using two Colours together, instead of using a colour or neutral for one of your strands as you normally would, use a Constrast yarn for 2 to 4 rows.
    Method Two - Flying by the Seat of Your Pants involves simply remembering to change to a new strand every few rows. You may want a rough idea in your head, such as always use a light and dark together, always work an odd number of rows in each yarn, throw in a few rows of constrasting colour every 4 inches, etc. This is how I designed my first stashghan - and in the process came up with the info used in the chart above. With this method it's very important to step back and have a look every once in a while and judge your results so you can make adjustments as you go.
  4. The thing to bear in mind while changing yarns is this - once you've used a particular ball of yarn once, throw it into a new pile. This is so when you next reach for a Neutral, Colour or Constrast, you won't grab the same ball of yarn again immediately afterwards. Certainly you don't need to use every ball in the pile once before grabbing one the second time. If you're anything like me, you probably have multiple balls of the same yarn to use up.
  5. Once this is all sorted out, all you do is knit every row (garter stitch) until you're done, work in the ends, then add an edging and / or fringe. That's about it. :)
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