The series where we talk about having a thoughtful stash.
There is this art theory that goes something along the lines that creativity can be enhanced by actually giving yourself or your project a set of restrictions or rules.
(To read more about this idea: Why placing limitations on yourself is the key to creativity.)
And although this isn't the purpose of Stash Less, in many ways that is what it is. A set of restrictions that I am growing to totally love. Last week I talked about some of the negatives, some of the realisations. This week I want to share one of the enormous benefits. And that is that I am looking at what I have with totally fresh eyes.
In my crafting past I haven't had that many restrictions. I find a project and pick some materials. If I don't have what I need, I reassess or I purchase it. Restrictions aren't something I have thought about much, and as a consequence I have generally played it safe and not taken risks.
This passage from Felicity lead me to think of all the projects I have come up with as a result of stash less. And what is interesting to me is that these ideas have come about because of Stash Less, rather than in spite of. Because of Stash Less I am looking around my existing stash to see what I can come up with that will make my heart sing.
To explain what I mean I'm going to list you a couple just to get your juices going. There are many more.
1. The silver kid sweater.
Among my stash I have found about 250g of 5ply in different silvers. There is a single ball of Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette, a single ball of Milla Mia, a single ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and about 1.5 balls of Blue Sky Metallico. I also have a smidge of Blue Sky Sport Weight. All of these could be knit at a gauge of between 22 and 25 stitches. Without Stash Less I wouldn't have gone through my stash with such a critical eye and I would have used these one by one for small projects like for hats. Instead I have been figuring out how to best combine them for my almost 7yr old. 250g of 5ply is enough for a whole cardy.
So what am I thinking of making? I'm thinking a top-down pattern so I can knit until I run out of yarn. Body first and sleeves second so that I can 3/4 the sleeves if I need to.
The questions yet to be answered are;
a. Do I use another colour with all the silver - either to use as a break between the transitions from one silver to another, or as an accent, or just to get full length sleeves in case I run out of silver. I have yellow, or charcoal or duck egg in stash….
b. Do I colour block the cardy with the silvers, or because they are so similar will that look stupid. Do I do a four row, four row, four row thing where I switch randomly. Do I include a textured stripe to transition between colours - like a garter stripe or maybe some moss…..
This project is fun and will be ace. I just know it. Requires a little more thought. And I have to wait until Xmas craft is over to begin.
2. The quilt.
I have started making my first king sized quilt. About 230 x 230cm. It's big which feels a little scary because what if I screw it up. That is a lot of fabric. Without Stash Less I would have been tempted to stay safe and use the dirty blue with the hatched cotton (like what you see in my mock up). And it would have been boring. BORING and safe!! Instead because I didn't have enough of the dirty blue, I had to use some denim along with the dirty blue, and I am so very very happy I did. You should see how pretty it is. I would show you but sadly I have had to put it down for a moment to get onto Christmas and birthday crafting. So I will show you in the New Year when I have basted it. Until then there is a small picture on instagram.
This is not one project but many. As I mentioned in a previous post I don't use scraps. A terribly wasteful fact I am not proud of. I don't use them because I haven't had to, because there is other pretty stuff in the cupboard. I want to change this and this dress on pinterest is part of my obsession with this idea. I see myself creating so many versions of this as a combination of yardage from my stash and my scrap basket. I feel like I will learn so much from trying this idea out; I will be practicing colour choice and bravery all at once. I see grownup frocks and kid frocks and shirts and tanks. I'm excited and I love the fact that this is not the easy option.
So the point I want to make is that without this restriction I would choose safe over tricky. Safe to make sure I got something I like and didn't waste the materials by mucking it up. But safety doesn't necessarily achieve projects that sing. There is more risk in all of these three options. All of them could fail. All of them could look rubbish. But I have the feeling that all of them will sing louder and much prouder than if I chose the safe option.
I'd love to hear about your projects that fit into this category. Do you ever restrict yourself creatively?
Previously Stash Less: A Realisation!