Knitting Leftovers

by Sue Taggart

My mother taught me to sew and my grandmother taught me to knit. I learned to cook by hanging out in the kitchen and watching both of them prepare the family meals. And my grandmother, despite her infinite patience, was never able to teach me to crochet! Over the years I have had bursts of enthusiasm for knitting, making many intricate sweaters, jackets, suits and baby coats, only to put the needles down as I became busy with work, travel and other hobbies such as cooking and reading. I think the ban on knitting needles on planes caused my longest knitting drought. Up to then, I had spent many eight-hour flights to and fro England with my knitting needles clacking away. I cannot get used to plastic needles, so still don’t take my knitting projects on a plane, and given the confined space, I would probably poke out the eye of the person sitting next to me!

Over the years I have amassed an impressive collection of yarns in every hue and texture, which led me to my latest project. What could I stop and start with ease? What could I make that didn’t require immense concentration?  What could I finish that would be useful and fit anyone no matter what size? I found my inspiration in a 2003 copy of Vogue Knitting International. What I forgot to mention, is as well as buying yarns when I came across something that caught my eye, I have done the same with knitting books. I love to flip the pages and plan knitting projects, which for the most part I have never begun, but this time it’s different.

The wrap of many colors that I am now undertaking really captured my imagination. A project in simple stocking stitch, just one row after another constantly growing as I knit away. The creativity is in the use of yarns and colors and the best part is I’m using leftover yarn! I choose the colors randomly and if it looks too dark or too bright I can add a row or two to kick it up or tone it down—the variations are endless. I’m having fun and can pick it up and knit a few rows any time, no need to follow a pattern or count stitches.

I hope to show you the finished project—someday! I’ve not put a timeline on the outcome, there’s no pressure, just the relaxing pleasure of making something from yarns I remember buying or using on other projects. And, as I knit away, I hear my grandmother’s voice encouraging and coaching me—“not too tight, let the yarn slip through your fingers, slide the stiches along, that’s it, you’ve got it now”.

If you want to try this yourself, I’m using the following:

5mm needles

Cast on 180 stiches and work in stocking stick until 83” or whatever length you require.

I’m mixing wool, cotton and mohair. I know my tension will be a little off, but I love the look and feel of the different textures.

When it’s finished there will be tons of ends to weave in and it requires crocheting all around the edges (I will have to find someone to help with this! Volunteers welcome.)

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