Monday, September 14, 2009

The Mother Who Raised Me Is So Tight She Squeaks

As a relatively new knitter, I am still trying to answer that timeless question: "What the heck do I do with the ends of all these skeins?"

The Engineer suggests throwing them into the trash can.



You know that within a week after throwing something out, it's going to be needed in a very urgent way. Besides, if my Mom was dead, it would make her spin in her grave. (Fortunately, she's alive and bouncing off the walls like a ping-pong ball.)

I do have some uses for the remnants:
  • Tie up hair (or other things) when it's getting in the way.
  • Use instead of ribbon when wrapping small packages.
  • Keep some of the shorter left-overs in a baggie in my knitting bag -- especially cotton yarn, it's good for provisional cast-ons.
  • Use as contrast color/texture in new projects.
  • Test out new techniques/stitches instead of ruining part of a new skein.
  • Stick in plastic bags and save forever - this is the most commonly done.
Came up with a new idea a couple of days ago in response to the Engineer grousing that I have been horribly remiss in sewing a button back on to his work shorts. Not that I don't have a very good excuse...

My sewing machine is in the basement along with all the rest of my sewing gear. To sew a button on his pants, I not only have to remember to do it in the first place, I have to remember to go downstairs and get the stuff to do it with and not get distracted before getting back upstairs to actually do it.

Then, of course, there's the problem of finding the right color of thread. Or to be more accurate when trying to match the Engineer's wardrobe, the right colorless of thread. He goes in for such stimulating shades as taupe, khaki, beige, putty, etc.

So I decided to make up an upstairs sewing box.

I had an empty stationary box with a magnetic clasp on the lid (way cool, that's why I bought the stationary, I liked the way the lid thunked shut) and filled it up with the necessaries. JoAnn's was selling thread for a dollar a spool, so I bought a selection of drab colors along with a box of straight pins, a packet of needles and a pair of embroidery scissors and put them into my little box. It fits into the drawer of my nightstand. I wanted a pin cushion too, but all of the ones at the store were too big to fit in my cool box.

Then the light bulb went off. I got out the remains from the Technicolor Dragon Skin Scarf. Though it was only a couple of yards, it was already rolled into a bitty center-pull ball. I went at it with my felting needle. With only one shallow stab wound and minimal cussing, I ended up with a lovely little pincushion.

Still looks like a ball of yarn, but it's one fairly solid mass; it won't unwind.

Spiffy, huh?


Iron Needles said...

I have used the tail ends as home decor. Much to Wonderful Guy's chagrin.

Wunx~ said...

Decor? How you do that?

AlisonH said...

That is a delightful use of a very pretty yarn. Thanks for the idea!

Iron Needles said...

We picked up as a souvenir in Jackson Hole a wooden bowl, all rustically formed from a tree trunk with a handle and all. The Guy was all...'ooh cabiney and manly!' When we got it home, it sat empty on the table for about two weeks, then I started putting the little leftover balls of un-cotton yarn. Grandbebe Girl gets to play with the cotton tail ends!

PS Would you be so kind as to email me your mailing address? I seem to have misplaced it. (becky.perry at comcast dot net) Thanks so much! I promise I won't lose it again. Maybe....

Jenny A. said...

Seems like I've heard that since plastic bags don't breathe, you shouldn't store fiber in them. At least not airtight.
Another suggestion for leftover yarn: make Barbie or other doll clothes. You could donate them to the boutique at the Festival of Trees. I have a book of patterns you can borrow.

Jenny A said...

hey, design a patchwork afghan to use those scraps up. That would be fun and creative. Or you can give them to me and I'll save them forever :)