I kicked off my 'Use it or Lose it 2018' campaign by randomly selecting a book from my book shelf. I chose a book that I reviewed last year, by Nicki Trench, called Crocheted Scarves and Cowls.
I have to admit that whilst I read the book thoroughly in order to write a review, I haven't yet made anything from it, which is a shame because there are so many lovely designs hiding within the pages. Nicki also writes her patterns clearly and simply and with all the direction you need to re-create her gorgeous designs.
In order to keep this book, the rules of my campaign state that I need to make something from it, using yarn from my stash. It wasn't difficult to choose a pattern as there are about 5 or 6 designs that I would definitely like to make (eventually), but the scarf that shouted out at me the most was the Coast Scarf. Isn't it gorgeous.
Now, the main problem is that I didn't have enough of the suggested yarn in my stash (or anything similar). The pattern calls for 250g of Louisa Harding Amitola DK, and I don't have this in my stash.
But what I did have in my stash was a pack of recently purchased mini skeins from Riverknits. Owners Becci and Markus create the most amazing array of stunning shades and I would definitely recommend a visit to their Etsy shop. If you'd like to meet them in person and squish their gorgeous yarns (and buy some too) you could follow them on Instagram to find out where they are exhibiting this year (links are below).
I bought 'The Mouse King' set before Christmas and for each pack sold, Becci and Markus donated a whopping £5 to Medecins sans Frontieres. They had 4 packs on offer with the theme of The Nutcracker, and I couldn't resist (and bought more than one, eek!). They raised £255 in total, which is a great achievement and very generous of them.
photo used with permission: @riverknitsuk on InstagramNow, I know that the yarn called for is DK but I wanted to use my mini skein pack. I knew that I had significantly less than the recommended amount, so what was I to do?
I decided that I would reduce the recommended number of stitches and hopefully end up with a thinner and slightly shorter scarf, but a wearable one.
How did I do this:
First, I looked at the dimensions of the scarf. The finished width is 30cm. With the small amount of yarn I had, I knew that this would need to be reduced by around half (or thereabouts).
The pattern itself is made up of a series of pattern repeats for each row, with few extra stitches at each end. These stitches at each end must be kept and maintained, so that you don't mess up the pattern.
You can only reduce the stitches down by any multiple of the pattern repeat and in order to do this, you need to work out how many stitches are used for the repeat sequence.
Finding the pattern repeat within a row or round:
The pattern repeat is usually identified by the use of an asterisk * and you will repeat the instructions that follow the asterisk as many times as stated. Alternatively, brackets may be used to identify the repeat sequence. For example,
Row 1: 1dc in 2nd ch from hook, *miss 2 ch, 3tr in next ch; repeat from * to the last 3 ch, miss 2ch, 1dc in last ch.
Row 1: 1dc in 2nd ch from hook, [miss 2 ch, 3tr in next ch] to the last 3 ch, miss 2ch, 1dc in last ch.
So if you look for the * or brackets (if used instead) you will read:
miss 2 ch - so this step uses 2 sts
3tr in next ch - so this step uses 1 st
Total stitches used for this repeat is 3 sts.
I would therefore need to reduce my stitches down by a multiple of 3, such as 3 or 6 or 9 or 12 etc.
Simply deduct this number from the total number of stitches stated at the start of the pattern.
Let's assume you want to reduce the pattern down by 12 stitches. If the pattern had told you to ch53 for the starting chain, you would deduct 12 from 53 to make 41ch. So you would ch41 instead and follow the pattern as set.
For my coast scarf, the total number stated for the starting chain is 102.
The number of stitches used in the pattern repeat is 10.
I deducted 40 sts from 102 and started with 62ch instead.
I then followed the pattern with my revised stitch count.
I do hope that helps you to tweak your patterns to suit your needs.
I absolutely love my gorgeous scarf. It's so rich and vibrant in colour and reminds me of a heather moorland in it's full glory. And even better, it matches my new boots.
I have a long way to go, but we have all year, so I'm taking it steady.
If you want to join in, you can join my Ravelry group and/or use the following hashtag on twitter #useitorloseit2018 - you're all welcome. I'm really look forward to getting to know you and to seeing your makes.
Click here to join the group
You can also join me on social media and be the first to hear about new pattern releases, free patterns and offers by subscribing to my website here.
Riverknits etsy shop
Riverknits on Instagram
My use it or lose it campaign - the guidelines