Recycling Yarn: The Project
Okay folks. We've liberated our yarn. We know how much we have. We know what weight it is. Now, we have to figure out what to do with it. If you aren't a ravelry user, you probably should be. If you are a confident in your pattern-fu, search away! But, if you have a hard time finding projects you're excited about, or that fit whatever yarn you're hoping to work with, read on!.
So, when you click the "Pattern" button in the toolbar on the top of ravelry's page, it takes you to this screen. To be honest, I usually skip right past this and into the advanced search by using the link underneath the search bar (side note- full-screen screenshots are annoying, because I keep trying to click on the picture and not on the webpage!). If you check this page out, you'll see it lists current popular patterns, your recent history, and will offer pattern suggestions based on newly released designs. It's cool, but I usually prefer the more scalpel-like approach detailed below...
This is what the advanced search looks like. I've highlighted a few key fields in purple, and circled a few other items that are indispensable in narrowing down your search. First, the numbers.
- Filters. I normally have these all maximized (little box in the right corners), but for purposes of fitting them on one screen, they're minimized. We'll get into these a little further down, but they are singly the most important tool for me when trying to find patterns. They let you filter your search by a million things, from price to color to regional style.
- Search bar. If I have a specific "thing" in mind, that is something other than, say, "sweater" or "lampshade," which are filter options, I type it in here. One common search term for me is "cat." Don't worry about it. The nifty thing about this search bar is, should you type something that is already a filter, like the two I mentioned above, it will auto-fill and auto-apply that filter for you!
- Search sort. I almost always have this set to "Hot Right Now," which sorts my search results by newer projects/projects getting a lot of activity. You could also set it to "Most projects" if you want to see which are the most popular, difficulty, recently published, etc.
See? A million options. If I don't have any strong feelings about what I want my yarn to be (relevant for both unraveled yarn and stashbusting) and I just want to see what I COULD make with it, I usually focus on the first two filters- yardage and weight. And, lucky for us, we know both of those items! So, in my case, I would plug in 900-1200 yards (I usually round down) for the length, and select DK for the weight. I also select "Yes" under "Has photo" because I'm a visual person, and you can narrow by craft if you aren't bi-stitchual. Then, start flipping pages!
If you have a better idea of what you want, you can use the Category and Attributes filters to narrow your search by type of project (anything from jackets and swimwear to pet sweaters and pillows) or other details. Say you want a cabled project (check out Fabric Characteristics) or specifically sock patterns knit from the toe-up (look under Construction) or you just have to have a penis-shaped lip balm cozy from Norway (check Mature Content, Regional/Ethnic Styles, and "Cozy" under Home Decor in Categories), you can find it all here.
Now, there are a few things you can do if you are really not finding what you want. First, think about the yarn- would holding it with another yarn, or doubling/tripling it up on itself give you more options? You could halve the yardage and, in my case, change DK to Worsted or Aran (or both!) and check out those patterns. Also remember that you don't have to use all of the yarn in one project, so if you aren't finding anything at the max end of your yardage, try checking one of the less yardage categories, or even entering a "0-[max yardage]" customized range to see everything.
One other thing you can try is clicking on the "Projects" link at the top of the screen (see green circle on second picture). Instead of searching by patterns, this lets you search by individual projects. The fancy thing about this is that it brings up projects people have made that might not exactly follow the pattern.
So, say you have a DK yarn. If someone made a project in DK yarn based on a pattern that lists worsted weight yarn, it will show up on the Projects search page under DK, even though it didn't show up on the pattern search page under DK. You can kind of get around this on the Pattern search page if you search a range of weights (i.e., selecting Sport, DK, and Worsted), but the project search makes it a bit easier to see if your substitution will end up working out.
Ultimately, I opted to combine my yarn with a mohair (probably kidsilk haze, but I haven't actually bought anything yet) for the beautiful Helga Isager pattern, Siberia Anorak, pictured at the top of the page. I highly recommend the book, because even by itself it's a work of art! Plus, there are a lot of other cute patterns in it.
If you try this technique out, definitely tag me on instagram and #khunravels . I'd love to see the sweaters you find and the projects you make!!