Shawl Knitting From Stash

I wrote about the Knitting in the Waiting Room project recently, and one of its main features is that it’s knitting from stash. I wasn’t telling my sample knitters which yarn to use, we went the other way round.

They browsed their stash and told me what they found. My only rule was that the yarn had a length of more than 400 yards (440m).

I started designing from there.

You can do the very same, starting with browsing your stash, and then looking what to make with the yarn chosen.

Knitting from stash means limited availability of both yardage and fiber contents. When we’re talking about shawl knitting – as I usually do – we need a certain yardage to start with, say 400 yards as stated above. From there, the possibilities are endless.

If you are working with limited yarn supply your best choice is to choose an adjustable (or modular) shawl.

I wrote a whole book about adjustable shawls (you can find it here), so let’s just stick to the basics for now.

Knitting From Stash: The Basic Rules

1. Choose an adjustable shawl shape.

Triangles worked sideways, half kites, vortex shawls and triangles worked from bottom up are the best shawl shapes for knititng from stash. The shapes listed can be knitted as you go and bound off anytime without looking weird.

2. Use your kitchen scale

As outlined in this post, your kitchen scale is your best friend when it comes to working with limited yarn supply. Use it!

3. Don’t be scared

I ran out of yarn more than once in my life, no matter how much I know about shawl design (and even with extensive kitchen scale usage). Once I ran out of yarn in the middle of my bind off row. So what? I used a similar yarn (in yardage and color) to bind off the rest, and nobody else except me ever noticed it. Be bold!

I’ll be back tomorrow with more details about the Waiting Room project and knitting with limited yarn supply in a detailed post about adjustable shawl shapes. See you then!

Julia <3


8 thoughts on “Shawl Knitting From Stash

  • Gillian Miller

    I don’t get to a city very often, so I have a deliberate stash of yarns on hand. I’m a knitting Oma, so there are frequent requests for knitted items from grandchildren and great-grands. As winter sets in, I have just finished a run of toques, cowls and scarves, as well as having two pullovers, a poncho and socks on the go! I am looking forward to designing a shawl for me!

  • Lois Erdmann

    I ran out of yarn doing a bind off for a MKAL shawl. I used one of the leftover pieces from a previous clue that was not even a close color match. It is only about 6 inches and with all the varied colors in that shawl one more color just does not jump out. It makes me feel a little less OCD that I know it is there and it just does not matter.

  • Norma Hunt

    so I have 2 ideas, thinking I will go with the asymetrical, panels to make it interessting and perhaps the nice multi I have instead of the three colours

  • Lauren

    I love getting your emails! I’ve learned many things I didn’t know before.
    I waited for a “Friday Freebies” a few weeks ago and never got it. I looked all over for the email and never did find it.

    I’ll just keep on reading and learning….you’re never too old to learn anything!!

    Thank you for all you do, Lauren

  • Good timing! I am not going to buy any more yarn until I have knitted through my stash! I’ve made a Westknits jumper and I’m in the middle of a Wooly Wormhead hat, all in sock yarn. Then I’m onto the double knit!

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