Stashbuster Knits by Melissa Leapman, Potter Craft: 2011, 144 pages. Paperback and digital formats available. Grade: A+
Of all the books, leaflets, and digital patterns I have in my library, I ought to use this one, but I haven’t yet. I do have a ton of sock yarn scraps in my stash, as well as some stray skeins leftover from knitting sweaters that I should try to use up. When I decide to get going on this task, at least this book is waiting for me to use up my scraps.
Part 1 gives some very good advice on how to organize a yarn stash and get the scraps ready to use in a project. It’s very practical and straight-forward. Knitters who don’t know what they have in their stash or who frequently take a peak into it without being able to remember why they bought this or that skein will especially benefit from this how-to. I know what I have in my stash, but it is most certainly disorganized. If it grows any more I’ll have to tackle organization following this guide. The author includes a primer on joining scraps of yarn together to create a “customized variegated ball of yarn” and a very handy chart on how to substitute strands of yarn held together so that, for example, if you have some worsted weight and a few stray pieces of sport, you can combine strands of sport weight to knit it with the worsted.
Part 2 brings on the patterns. One of the most surprising aspects of this section is the variety of designs. Melissa Leapman didn’t leave out any type of project. There are sweaters, baby clothes, bags, bracelets, shawls, cowls, scarves, and the list goes on. It’s also very helpful that the patterns are organized by yarn weight. That way, if you say to yourself, “hmmm, I have a ton of sport yarn scraps” you can just go to that section and see if you want to use it up knitting this or that project. The variety of techniques that each pattern highlights is also impressive. Cables, colorwork, stockinette, garter stitch: All the bases are covered to bust any old stash.
As far as the patterns go, I like all of them. The photos definitely demonstrate that no one would ever know that they were knitted up with scraps. I think I would like to knit up just about everything. Of course, I don’t need everything in this book, so I won’t, but that’s how awesome the designs are. Just check out the “Cables and Colors” and “Sea of Blue” sweaters. They’re amazing. As a matter of fact, they’re so beautiful that they’re worth buying yarn especially to make them.
This book is for any knitter who is stumped about what to do with the variety of scraps lurking in the stash. Even if you have a mixed bag of stuff, with various amounts of sock, sport, DK, and worsted, you can combine it all to knit up something beautiful and stylish. I plan to use this book in the future, especially because I want to use up my sock yarn scraps and don’t see myself starting another afghan with it all.