Since I received a new tote bag as a Christmas gift (adding to the collection of miscellaneous bags acquired over the years from vendor fairs and other sources), reprinting here an article I wrote which was published in the July 2007 CGOA Chain Link newsletter:
Stash Bustin’ Time
Funny how what goes around, comes around….how one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure…..how simple is as simple does….ok, enough clichés, here’s the story:
I had been making and selling originally-designed hats. A friend of mine, who has excellent fashion and color sense, told me about a hat she bought at a craft fair in another state, and asked if I could make something similar. Thinking this was some kind of unusual one-of-a-kind, high-style hat, I was shocked when I saw it: a basic double crochet beanie in acrylic yarn, the kind of hat some of us have been making as charitable gifts for years. The only difference I could see was that 2 or 3 strands of thinner yarns had been combined to achieve a chunky gauge, rather than using one solid color. In an odd coincidence, shortly after receiving the hat I spent some pleasant evenings reading “The Yarn Stash Workbook” by Laura Militzer Bryant (c2006, Martingale & Company, ISBN 156477614X). While this beautiful book offers creative ways to use up stash yarn in knitting projects, the same color and design principles can apply to crochet. My friend’s hat, while nowhere near as exuberant as projects in the book, was made following a similar concept: use up leftovers in a creative way, for projects that display richer color, texture and interest. I could see now why that basic beanie had appealed to her.
With a stash that threatens a “home takeover” I decided to try a yarn blending design of my own. Since all things retro seem to be the rage, colors straight out of the ‘70s inspired the Stash Bustin’ Tote. Creams, yellows, golds, oranges and greens were sorted into a shading scheme from light to dark. I began with three strands of compatible light colors. As each color was used up, I replaced one strand at a time, changing to the next darker color. While it can be awkward wrestling three wayward strands at once at a bulky gauge on a large hook, it is great fun to see what happens as the colors change. By keeping yarn-combo projects on the small side so they’re not too heavy, you can enjoy a bit of stash bustin’ too! Have fun with this project:
As a side note, the Double-Double Crochet Hat pattern uses the same technique of blending and shading with multiple strands of yarn:
If you’re doing post-Christmas cleaning, packing, sorting and organizing for the new year, totes come in handy for storing all kinds of things, including knit & crochet works-in-progress. If you’re planning travel (as we are on our annual road trip to the ski area) grab a tote packed with yarn, books, craft magazines, needles & hooks … and go!
You’ll find several other tote and bag ideas (in assorted sizes) on my Ravelry page, including the Provence Summer String Bag, Go Green! Lacy Shells Bag, and Stained Glass Felted Bag. Keep on stitching and stash busting!