Is sock yarn ‘stash yarn’?

There are many divisive issues in knitting: to swatch or not to swatch, process v. product, but perhaps one of the most controversial is whether sock yarn counts towards stash. One would think that the debate is settled when the Yarn Harlot decreed that sock yarn isn’t really stash yarn. Maybe I just think of ‘stash’ a little differently.

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Take this beautiful skein of sock yarn. I bought this lovely skein of Indigodragonfly CaribouBaa in the fall of 2016.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but I knew the colours were pretty, and when I bought it, it was my first ever Indigodragonfly, so I was excited. There it sat for almost a year and a half; other projects came and went, but inspiration had yet to grab me for this yarn. And then it did.

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In March/April I purchased two skeins from one of my LYSs (one two separate occasions, as it turns out).  After chatting with a friend about this yarn and how to use these two together, she encouraged me to take a closer look at Stephen West and his brioche patterns.  While brioche wasn’t in the future for this yarn, The Doodler was. I saw the pattern, I saw the skein of Indigodragonfly on my shelves, and I knew these three had to be used together.

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I have a hard time buying more than one skein at a time if I’m just buying yarn. Some of this is budget, and the rest is practical.  I’ve been stung too many times by not buying enough to complete a project that I’m either running out and buying more or ripping back and buying new.  If I have a project in mind that needs ‘x’ amount of metres, then cool, I’ll go out and buy what I need, but to buy ‘x’ skeins just because, that I just can’t do. But sock yarn, oh lovely sock yarn. You can buy one skein of fingering, and you have enough metres to make a plethora of things. A hat, no problem! Socks, duh. A shawl/cowl/neck accessory, done and done. Or, like my lovely blue/green Indigodragonfly, it can just live there until the perfect project comes along.

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On knitting up those pesky left overs

It’s inevitable. You find a pattern, buy the yarn, knit the pattern, and unless you end up playing an epic game of yarn chicken, you’re going to end up with left overs, those few grams of yarn that really, what CAN you do with it? A few weeks ago, these odds and sods were my focus and using them up in creative manners my mission.

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Well, first, I took over 100 grams from 5 different sock yarns and turned them into a lovely asymmetrical shawl.  I used the Ex-Boyfriends pattern and now have a shawl in browns, greens and a pop of purple. I felt highly satisfied when it was finished because those were 5 small cakes out of my stash.

Like many knitters, I also have quite a bit of acrylic kicking around. You know the yarn, the stuff you bought before you discovered your Local Yarn Shops and the wonderful and unique skeins they carry. Don’t get me wrong, acrylic has a time and place, but those small remnants were just taking up space and annoying me just enough to find a solution.  Enter my ‘Ugly Slippers.’ I took my favourite slipper pattern, divided up what was left of an orange and yellow into two, and finished off with the red, which I had significantly more of. The colours are out of order for me to call them ‘Jayne Cobb slippers’, but they are rather cunning, dontcha think?

For a final stash busting attempt, I discovered a new kind of torture. I had enough Opal remnants to make a smallish pair of socks, and tempted to try a new method, I bought 40″/100 cm circulars and started a pair of toe up two at a time socks. I. Hate. It. With a passion I didn’t know existed. The almost finished toes were lying on the top of my knitting basket, and we were in an epic showdown. My dilemma was: do I persevere and keep on, hoping that this method will grow on me, or do I face ‘defeat’, realize life’s to short to knit something I’m hating, and re-cast on with a different method, like my 9″ circulars which I LOVE? The desire for movie knitting won out, and I transferred one of the two onto my beloved 9″ circulars… Life’s too short to knit something out hate, right?

A Little Old Fashioned

I’ve made good progress on my  Captain America shawl.  I’ve been working away at it, row by row and bead by bead, all the while watching any Marvel movie available on Netflix.  I truly thought it would have taken far longer than it’s seeming to right now, but I’m happily watching the progress take place.


The yarn, as I explained last week was all hand dyed. The grey finished with steaks of mint green throughout, a result of the black I used for dye breaking, and after receiving encouraging comments from a Ravelry group, I decided to keep it as is.  The green isn’t bothering me nearly as much as I feared it would at first glance.


The most challenging part of the shawl has been the beading, as this is a new technique for me. Like with all new things, at first it felt like such a foreign motion, but after over 300 beads, muscle memory starts to form and progress got faster.  The beads are adding a lovely weight to the shawl, and I’m just excited to see it taking shape.  That I get to re-watch any Marvel movie I can get my hands on, well that’s just an added bonus.

An Asymmetrical Adoration

This summer, one of the many projects I worked on included a sock weight shawl. I bought a lovely skein of SweetGeorgia from a LYS and cast on immediately. An easy pattern to memorize, and being completely in love with the colours, it knit up rather quickly:

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This stunning pattern, which is perfect for showing off two different yarns, is Graphic Kerchief by Ce Persiano, a free pattern.  I made my own mods to the pattern as written, noted on my Rav project page, and I love it.  It was also a great way to use those extra little bits of sock yarn still in my stash. The contrast is leftover Madelinetosh, the majority of which went into a pair of socks. The rest of it is an amazing pop against the Sweetgeorgia auburn.

Because shawls are a great go-to fingering weight project, I’m always seeing what interesting projects I can find on Ravelry. I have no idea why, but I’m always captivated by the asymmetrical shawls. I find their construction more appealing that the traditional triangle shawl.  Of course, this isn’t my first asymmetrical shawl, others have included:

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504 King West by The Knit Cafe Toronto

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SMASH by Rebeka Darylin

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And, Braidsmaid by Martina Behm.

I have quite a few skeins of sock weight yarn in my stash (which, as we all know, doesn’t actually count as stash), and I’m always on the search for my next asymmetrical shawl.

Do you have a go-to shawl pattern? Do you prefer triangle shawls, asymmetrical, or no preference either way?