What to do With All That Clearance Yarn?

Tis the season when the Big Box stores run their yarn clearance sales. We’re all enticed with clearance sales notices popping up in our emails and texts, letting us know of the 70% off sales we likely won’t be able to resist.

So more than a few of us head off (or sneak off) to the yarn store and stock up. If we’re lucky, we pick up that yarn we found too pricey a couple of months ago and get to work on that sweater we envisioned. Or we might find some colors that will work for the fall and winter, and we happily get to work on Christmas gifts.

But what about that yarn at the unbelievable price, in bright summer colors? Well, some of us buy it anyway and figure out what to do with it later. If you’re like me, you can’t just pass it up.

You’ve got a problem on your hands: what to do with all that clearance yarn? I’ve found myself in this dilemma lately. In knitting through my stash, I’ve come up against a plethora of bright, happy colored yarns – bought on clearance in years past – and no discernable plan for any of it. Here’s what I’m doing with it:

  • A Sampler Shawl. I’ve got six skeins of pastel colored cake-type yarn that looked good in the store but turned out scratchy and not-so-nice. I’m using it to try out some new stitches. This shawl may look okay when it’s finished; it might not. That’s okay.  I’ve tried out lots of new techniques and stitches I’ll use in other projects.
  • Mini Prayer Shawls. I’ve used up the Caron x Pantone mini-skeins to make small, coaster-sized squares to hand out as “thank you” gifts. I’ve been asked to speak at a local Book Club, and I’m planning to hand out these mini Prayer Shawls to those lovely ladies who bought and read my latest book. They could probably be used as coasters, phone charging pads, or some other household use.
  • Something wonderful and unexpected. Several years ago, I bought a huge plastic bag full of blue, green, and white yarn at a big box sale of manufacturer rejects and remainders. Just for kicks, I made a long and skinny shawl that’s become my favorite go-to early morning wrap. The yarn tuned out super soft, and the shawl is vibrant and looks terrific. Who knew?

I know you creative knitters will have many other uses for clearance yarn. Feel free to drop a comment to share your ideas with me and other readers!

Happy Knitting, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. Available in e-book for US $4.99 and in paperback for $14.99. Read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited! 

Psssst! The e-book edition of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles will soon be on sale! On Tuesday and Wednesday, August 13 & 14, The Prayer Shawl Chronicles will be on sale for only $1.99 at this link from 8 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday until 11 p.m. on Wednesday night. Give it a try and help me out by reviewing it on Amazon!

Getting More Knit From The Kit – Using Leftover Yarn From Knitting Kits

Have you finished a knitting project and had yarn left over? This happens frequently to me. If it’s inexpensive yarn, I usually put it in a bin I keep for donations. Once a year, I give this bin to a school, camp, or summer program for crafting by children. But if it’s expensive yarn I really like, I want to make something else from it.

I recently began knitting from kits ordered online. I’ve done two kits by Kitterly (www.Kitterly.com), and I just started my first kit by KnitCrate (www.KnitCrate.com). When I first started knitting from kits, I feared I’d get to the end of a pricey project and not have enough yarn to finish. Happily, I can now report that both of the Kitterly kits I’ve done left me with plenty of leftover yarn. (The verdict’s still out on KnitCrate, but so far, so good. I’m impressed with all the extra patterns I get with their kits.)

What do you do with a good hank of expensive, high-quality yarn that’s too big to simply toss out? After working through a Kitterly shawl kit, I had enough to make both a narrow runner for use on a credenza and a large coaster. I also re-used the colorwork pattern on my “extra” items, since the pattern was still in my head. These small projects made nice transitions after spending a couple of weeks on the main shawl project. I also felt better getting three projects out of an expensive kit, instead of just one. (Honestly, I may end up using the runner and coaster more than the shawl!)

Knitting is a frugal craft. We make high quality items rather than buy cheap ones at the store. Knitters are the kind of people who look for good value for their money and don’t like to see nice materials go to waste. By getting “more knit for the kit,” knitters both use their awesome creativity to make something useful and get maximum value for their purchases. 

What do you do with leftover yarn?

Happy Crafting! Cindy

Cynthia Coe is a writer, book reviewer, and avid knitter. Her books and blog posts can be found on her Amazon Author Page.

Putting Away the Winter Stash

Springtime has come to Sycamore Cove in a sudden burst of green leaves, yellow buttercups, violets and azalea blossoms. Winter is good and gone. It’s time to put up the winter knitting supplies.

My jewel-toned yarns of burgundy, teal, dark blue, and greys go to the zipped-up bin in the upstairs closet where I won’t use them until autumn. My “works-in-progress” baskets scattered around the house now hold yarns in pastel pinks, spring greens, and cheerful yellows.

Putting up the winter stash elicits mixed emotions. Thinking of the Christmas gifts, winter hats, and warm sweaters I made last season gives me a satisfied sense of accomplishment. But then there’s the projects I planned to make and didn’t, the yarns I had pegged for sweaters or hats or lap blankets that just plain didn’t get made. I wonder if I’ll get to them next year. I wonder where I’ll be in my life, whether that yarn will “speak” to me like it did last year, or whether I’ll come up with some new and unexpected use for those unused skeins.

Life is sometimes like that unused winter stash – projects you planned don’t pan out, you don’t have time for them, or you lost interest in them. Maybe you’ll get back to them, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself with a great new idea next year that just hadn’t occurred to you this year. You feel good about what you did accomplish and give yourself a pat on the back for completed and successful items that gave joy to others or served some useful purpose.

But for now, it’s a new season. New yarns mean new projects, new opportunities, new possibilities. It’s springtime – a time for new beginnings in life and in knitting.

Cynthia Coe is a writer, book reviewer, and avid knitter. Her books and blog posts can be found on her Amazon Author Page

The Perils of Knitting the Stash

Some say buying yarn is as much of a hobby as actually knitting yarn. I’m guilty of that myself.

You go to the yarn store and see those lovely skeins calling your name. You only have a vague idea of what you will realistically do with that lovely yarn. You buy it on faith…or maybe hope…or maybe just sheer avarice. You take it home and maybe leave it in your “to do” basket of planned or unplanned knitting projects.

But there those lovely skeins of yarn sit for weeks. Or months. Or even years. 

My longest running member of my yarn stash is a bag of undyed cotton yarn I bought on vacation in Monserrat years ago. Who has yarn purchased on a Caribbean island?! I had to have it. I had misty plans of making a summer sweater from that yarn. After the island was nearly obliterated by a volcano, I kept that yarn around just to remember a wonderful place I had once visited. I now have a more solid plan to knit a shawl with it.  We’ll see.

The perils of keeping a stash is that you, ultimately and inevitably, have more yarn that you’ll probably use. If you completely knit through your stash on a regular basis, you’re a better person than I. But most of us over-buy yarn with nothing more than hopes and dreams. If we do use skeins from the stash, we often have too much yarn and skeins left over, too little to use for something else. Or worse, we haven’t bought enough for a project, finding that out long after the yarn is available. 

So what’s a knitter to do? Keep feeding the stash? Put yourself on a yarn diet? 

I’m challenging myself to donate unused yarn to schools or children’s summer programs. I’ve got a big bag for some lucky organization! But in the meantime, I’m eyeing that lovely new yarn I just spotted in the craft store….

Happy Knitting (and Stashing!), Cindy

Cynthia Coe is a writer, book reviewer, and avid knitter. Her books and blog posts can be found on her Amazon Author Page.