Inspiration strikes when you least expect it

I’m not big on “stash busting.” I have never taken a pledge to “use only stash yarns” for some period of time, and I don’t think I ever will. Whatever modest stash I have, I love – it’s composed of yarns and brands that I consider timeless and practical. Today I may be into cabled sweaters, and tomorrow into lacey scarves, and the next day into Fair Isle hats – my stash can satisfy all my moods, with many of the yarns being able to serve double duty. Since I can always find a project to use up my yarns, what’s the rush? Why stash bust? I figure, if I don’t use stash yarn this month, then I’ll use it the next!

One particular member of my stash, however, has gotten out of control.

Gedifra Korfu: 2011, 2061, 2025, 2022, and 2068
First encounter: Swirled Pentagon Pullover

Although I like this yarn very much, my compulsion to buy a few skeins of many different colors left me in a bit of a pickle: what to do with all that yarn? The small quantities and multi-colored palette no longer make it a practical stash yarn, so I figured I better devise a way to get it out of here!

Ribbons Baby Blanket, Evelyn Clark for Fibertrends

Ah, yes, what a clever solution! A little multi-colored blanket out of machine-washable cotton/acrylic is just the thing! This blanket has a number of things going for it:

  • It’s knit from the center out, so I can implement a bit of the “knit until you run out of yarn” rationale.
  • Knit and purl stripes are used, so the blanket will not curl.
  • The designer gives very specific instructions – start with Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast On, and use the Russian Join to splice yarn at color changes. Yes, ma’am!

Now, what about the sequence of colors? Should I go with a rainbow, fading from red to violet? No – I’m missing some critical components, and I have a whole bag of “natural” that won’t fit in. Place the stripes in a random sequence? No – the colors are quite saturated and I think gaudiness will follow randomness. Pick two or three colors only and stick to them? No – I want to stash bust a little bit of every color, if possible.

Then, as I was getting dressed this morning, I was visited by Mistress Inspiration herself:

Aha! I can alternate colored and white stripes, which will allow me to dip into many different skeins without creating chaos!

And what is the source of this inspiration?

I see London, I see France,

I see Kathy’s …

Note: that’s not me in the photograph. You know, just in case there was any doubt :).

You. Closer than family. Indeed.


65 thoughts on “Inspiration strikes when you least expect it

  1. kelly


    too, too funny. Thanks for the out-loud laughs. I’m still not a knitter and yet you still brighten my day. Best of luck with your stripey blanket.

  2. Sheila

    Those are some fancy dansy guchies!! I think the blanket will be colorful – neat! Babies should not be wrapped in boring pastels all trhe time!

  3. Sheila

    Those are some fancy dansy guchies!! I think the blanket will be colorful – neat! Babies should not be wrapped in boring pastels all trhe time!

  4. alyson

    Ahh, I love ya for being able to show us pictures of your undies. (Hey, inspiration is inspiration. And your particular inspiration here makes me feel better about the day that I was low on sleep and spent too much time examining the lace waistband of my own delicates and trying to figure out the pattern.)

  5. Shayla

    Haha! That’s great! I’m feeling the itch to make a blanket myself, but I don’t have the yarn for it…I might have to live vicariously through you for awhile.

  6. April

    Ok, so I read faithfully and never comment. But this is like the 4th time we are working on nearly identical projects. I’m stash busting by making the pinwheel baby blanket with the same, knit til you run out of each color mentality. I was thinking I would look for a square pattern next time I found myself in this situation. I can’t wait to see how your unmentionable inspire work turns out!

  7. Becky

    I’ve recently started reading your blog and am awed on a regular basis. Thank you.

    I thought I’d comment because I made the Ribbons blanket this past winter. ( Of course I went a totally diferent route and made it pure white and did the optional raised petal center. I’m assuming its because I’ve only been knitting since last summer and this was my first blanket, but mine cupped up somewhere at the end. Even my test dishcloth attempt cupped up ( I can’t wait to see yours though!

  8. Kathy in San Jose

    Well, I just drove an hour (round trip) to get my hands on this pattern right after I saw your posting. I’ve got a blanket that I need to get done and everything I’ve tried has looked like a load of …. This may do the trick. Your stripes were more inspirational than you thought!

  9. Leisel

    Specific instructions are good IF the designer has a good reason for them, other than they are the most convenient.

    I’m working on A Cardigan for Arwen, and many of the designers specific instructions are just the easy way out, not the best thought out approach. For instance, she specified backwards loop cast on in a few different places, which is the sloppiest most useless cast-on there is, assuming she had a reason for making that specific recommendation, and found out that nope… it was most certainly NOT the best solution. Since that discovery and a few others, I’ve made extensive improvements in many of those specified little details.

    Your designer, though, sounds like she knows what she’s doing.

  10. Anna

    Good thing I wasn’t drinking when I read this post!

    I think the blanket sounds like a great idea. Can’t wait to see it!

  11. Marlena

    I love that link for the Russian join. I’ve never done one before, and I’m intrigued. I wonder if it would work for laceweight? I’m working on my first lace project now, and while I won’t need to change yarn this time, I will next time!

  12. Monika

    I’ve been in love with this blanket for quite some time now, never got to it though. I’m looking forward to seeing yours!

  13. Lee Ann

    Phiou. Thank goodness it wasn’t one of those photos with “PINK” plastered across the ass.

    Brilliant idea for the blanket!

  14. Gena

    Quite an interesting source of inspiration for a baby blanket, but hey! Whatever works! Alternating saturated hues with naturals will look great and definately give more life to the piece!

  15. mari

    Tee hee!!! Inspiration does come from many places, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I don’t have such interesting underwear as you do, so I won’t be getting inspiration from there!

  16. TracyKM


    Yes, by keeping one or two things constant, you can do a lot with the other element. It’s when you make everything random, that it looks weird.

    I’m looking at my new bra in a new way now….

  17. Shelda

    Reading your posts is always a delight. It looks like a lovely blankie, and they’re lovely underpants too. Fun to get inspiration from such things!

  18. Mary K. in Rockport

    Man, that’s funny. My only comment is that I see you chose to arrange your yarns for their photo shoot by color rather than by numerical order. That must have been a difficult decision for precise you!

  19. marie in florida

    what ever iz under the not me link, i can’t access at work

    OMG? what could it be?

  20. courtney


    Had you never told us, we would have all assumed you had those rock hard abs!

    I love the baby blankie ides, and agree that alternating neutrals and colors will work best. The stripes remind me of a Hudson Point blanket…I am sure you are familiar with them, being a New Englander. πŸ˜‰

  21. nonaKnits

    Fun post! Love the colors, love the idea, love the inspiration — and really how can you go wrong when you start with Emily Ocker’s cast on!?

  22. mishka

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. I think this project idea is great–I really like working with colors that way, but I always thought a Russian join would only work with wool. I’m interested in whether it works for you with a cotton/acrylic yarn. If it does, I’ll definitely be trying it.

  23. Judy

    I once designed my living room colors from a faded beach towel that I loved. It turned out great.

    I learned another nice way to do striping that appears to be random but isn’t, using the Yarn Harlot’s Tiptoe sock pattern

    You have four colors but five widths (6 rows, 5,3,2,4 rows), so there is a sense of order in the regularly repeated colors, but they turn up in different widths. I’ve made these socks twice and LOVE them! Did wonders for my intarsia technique.

    Rock on with the baby blanket. Please send us progress pictures.

    And here’s where I reveal my internal old lady (the external one is right out there for everyone to see)… Are you sure you want to be talking about underpants in your blog? It wouldn’t be that difficult for some perv to track you down, and you know there are probably some weirdos out there right now doing Google searches for “underpants.” Please be careful.

  24. marie in florida

    under the link i couldn’t access from work is Victoria’s Secret? what? too racey for me to look at from work? hehehe, that makes me laugh

  25. Shamiran

    This is why I love you Kathy! πŸ™‚

    *Is thinking about her own undies from VS… Purple… Teal… Lilac… Hmmmmm πŸ˜‰

    I know you like home improvement shows… Did you see the Trading Spaces episode where Genevieve Gorder painted a room based on inspiration from an artichoke??? Coolness! πŸ˜‰

  26. paula

    Hey Miss,

    Did you buy that pattern this past weekend? I didn’t even notice! I’m so glad you’re working through the kinks before I start. I must say, I’m sort of in love with this pattern. πŸ˜‰

    And now, I’m going to need to knit some undies. Hehe.

  27. Sil

    I see those color combinations and I think European football uniform colors. The Becks Blankie, Premier League blankie, hooligan throw?

  28. Haley

    thanks for having a sense of humor. it is much needed in this world. can’t wait to see how your blanket turns out.

  29. Carol

    I got an idea to make a baby blanket using some cotton chenille yarn that I purchased a long time ago. I wanted to knit it in the round. Doing a Google search I came up with your blog. Your stash blanket is exactly what I was thinking I’d like to do. I’m looking forward to getting the pattern and getting started. Baby is due in August, so I have a lot of time, but the clock is ticking……… Peace….. Carol

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