Wednesday, 23 November 2011

NaNoBlogMo 23 - Using "Leftovers"

I am a pack-rat. I have a hard time getting rid of anything. I am terrified that the moment I let something go I might end up needing it. This does end up being helpful sometimes. For example, I happened to have a spare single shoelace (the other broke and when I got new ones I couldn't rationalize throwing away an unbroken shoelace) which I was able to use to tie the battery pack for the musical skulls to my belt for my Mystique costume.

Yarn is one of those things that I just can't bring myself to get rid of. If when I am done with a project, the leftover yarn can make a ball bigger than a pingpong ball, I can't just throw it away. Often these bits and bobs can sit for a long time, but they can come in handy. I made a rather insane scarf for my friend Claire using many different leftover bits of yarn. If the main project is big enough, the leftover yarn can end up becoming its own project. Or in the case of my Lizard Ridge Blanket, two. Now, when I say the leftover yarn was enough to make two more projects, I don't mean the extra skeins of yarn (that ended up going to make the Paintbox blanket I made for my parents anniversary). I mean the pieces that were leftover from the 33 skeins I used to make 33 squares in China. Most left me with a pingpong or so ball of leftover yarn in a wide range of colors.

My first idea with how I could use the leftover bits of yarn was to make a scarf. It was just about Christmas time and I figured I could make a "leftovers" scarf for my mother and send it to her as a gift. It would also give me an excuse to knit something other than squares for my blanket. I unraveled all my bits and tried to connect them in a way that made some sort of coherent color scheme. You can see the scarf's color changes clearest above, but since my mother showed up to have her picture taken wearing the scarf like you see here on the right, I had to share that one too.

I was a bit worried that my mother wouldn't like the scarf as I hadn't seen her wear anything like it before, but she assured me that she does like it. Its a bit psychedelic with its odd color changes, but that is apparently my knitting style if my Ridiculous Scarf is any indication. I also like that this scarf is like a bastard cousin to my Lizard Ridge blanket. I ended up using up all of my leftover bits I had at the moment to make the scarf.

However, I knitted more squares and ended up with more yarn leftovers. That's when I came up with another idea. The yarn is 100% wool and I hadn't really done much felting before, so I thought I would try to make a felted guitar strap. In a more obvious homage to my blanket, I cobbled together a version of the Lizard Ridge wavey pattern and once again knitted all the leftovers that I had. I tossed what I made into a pillow case and ran it through the washer and dryer a few times, then did a bit more hand felting to get it all a bit more even. It became pretty apparent that what I had made was going to be a guitar strap cover and not a guitar strap in and of itself. I think it's pretty.

The only real problem is that I never actually use my guitar strap or fancy handmade guitar strap cover. Whenever I play I am usually just sitting cross legged on my bed with an audience of only myself. But its still nice to know that if I ever do decide to go and play guitar in a situation where I need a strap, I have a very unique one that screams knitting-dork.

I think I have gotten better recently at buying only the amount of yarn I need for a project, which both fortunately and unfortunately means I am left with less leftovers.

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