Stash Dive KAL

stash dive kal yarn

Well this is a KAL in the very loosest sense; there is no pattern, it’s just really a structure to give me an excuse to knit up some of my much neglected (but loved) stash yarn! I though there might be a few of you out there in the same situation so the idea was to set up a fun challenge to you all – come join me!

On Sunday I did a rambling (as always) Instagram post that I popped up on YouTube that tells you about my starting point.

If you want to join me the begin by:

  1. Pulling together yarns that you love.
  2. Organise them so you can create a blending from one colour to the next that you like.
  3. As a bonus find a lightweight ‘texture’ yarn to use for some stripes running throughout. This isn’t essential but a good way of adding some yarns that are hard to find a home for!

Now that you’ve got your yarns decide on a needle size. If you want a loose fabric go bigger than the recommended size, or if you want a more standard fabric texture go with the recommended needle size.

stash dive kal yarn

Next to swatch! I’d suggest testing out your colour combination. I did this by starting with a few inches of one colour, then I introduced a fade between that and the next colour by working as follows:

  • New Colour RS: Knit. Then slip stitches back to the start of the row.
  • Original Colour RS: Knit. Turn work.
  • New Colour WS: Purl. Then slip stitches back to the start of the row.
  • Original Colour RS: Purl. Turn work.

I did this for an inch or so to see how they blended together then I broke the first colour and worked in the second colour. After that I did the same for the third colour.

At the same time I was working this blending of the 3 main colours I took my contrast brushed yarn and experimented with stripes. In the first two colours I held it together with the main colour and did some garter stitch stripes and for the final colour I did stockinette stitch instead.

I think I prefer the stockinette stitch, it’s more subtle and I feel that the garter stripes are a bit too bulky for my yarn combination. However you may reach a different conclusion! I’d suggest you grab your yarns and start swatching!

Don’t worry about getting anything wrong, this is all about experimenting and playing with the yarn. This means that some of your combinations won’t work but why don’t you try and see if you have a surprise success? Share your experiments with me using #StashDiveKAL and what you like/dislike!

Try different needle sizes – maybe move from small to larger so while you’re testing your colour combinations you can also try out needle sizes? Do you like it drapey and floppy or a bit more structured? There’s no right answer – what do you want!

My Yarns

The main colours I’m using are La Bien Aimée ‘Merino Singles’. I’m moving from ‘Yellow Brick Road’ to ‘Le Littoral’ on to ‘The Magnellanic Cloud’. The two contrast texture yarns I’m using are Olann ‘Suri Silk Cloud’ in colours ‘Sloe’ and ‘Oasis’.

olann yarn

I’m working with a 4mm (US size 6) needle which is creating a drapey fabric. I washed the swatch and blocked it fairly gently just to uncurl the edges a bit. The gauge I’m getting with the main yarn is around 25 sts and 30 rows per 4″ / 10 cm. As this swatch was knit flat it’s very likely my row gauge (more than my stitch gauge) will change a little when I change to in the round so I’ll keep checking that when I join to work in the round.


So for you out there watching along, it’s time to get started!

  1. Pick your yarns and swatch your colour combinations and needle size options.
  2. Block your swatch and measure your gauge.
  3. Pull out some comfortable over-sized sweaters that you like and measure them. Decide if you like the size or if you want to make some changes.

Next session we’ll take a look at the numbers and I’ll sketch out some basic outlines. I’ll be recording each of the new videos on Instagram live here and afterwards I’ll add them to the Stash Dive KAL playlist on youtube here.


21 thoughts on “Stash Dive KAL

  1. Hi Carol, I got so excited watching your video on Sunday with the thought of finally being able to use random skeins on something other than a hat! I have never considered knitting something without a pattern, but your confidence and teaching style have me wanting to join in!
    I really like your top down, drop shoulder concept to utilize my yarn. How do I know how much yarn I will need? Thank you!

  2. Carol, as you dive into the next stage of planning could you offer some advice on how much yarn to reserve for the sleeves? I’d like to go for a matching fade in the sleeves, but worry about running short. I’ll try not to be too obsessive over it, but a general guideline would be useful–I’m guessing 60-40 ish? 60% for the body and @ 20% for each sleeve maybe?

  3. Hello, from Florida, USA.
    I’m excited about your Stash Busting blog/videos. However, I live in a very warm climate, so I will be using cotton for my yarn. What I am excited about is that I have been trying to make my own simple design, very similar to what you described in your video. However, I’m not good with numbers and struggle with how to get it right.
    I’m probably an intermediate knitter, my question is: will I be able to follow along and if I get stuck, can I ask you for help?

  4. I’ll be putting up some basic equations you can use to calculate the stitches you’ll need. PLUS as I’m planning on doing it top down you can easily try it on and check the sizing as you go, tweeking as needed.

  5. Hi Carol,
    I am keen to join in and I pulled some lovely yarns from stash that have possibility. I will get onto swatching with them soon.
    Do we need to register with you to join the KAL?
    This is a great idea and feels both encouraging of creativity and empowering at a time that is quite difficult.! Thanks. I look forward getting started.

  6. I have tried to do this type of knitting when attending Jane Thornley workshops and your project sounds like fun, but I have discovered that in this time of my being totally isolated, I need patterns that can give me a sense of accomplishment by reaching certain stages or finishing. Thank you for doing this, though. I am sure there will be many who will enjoy your KAL.

  7. How did you wind the fine yarns containing mohair into balls? I have a skein of 80% kid mohair and 20% polyamide that I want to use. Do I need to hand wind it or can I use a hand cranked ball winder?

  8. I have several skeins of lovely fingering weight yarn that I have been wanting to collect into some sort of sweater. This KAL sounds perfect and enticing, and I will try to join along. I say “try” because, so far, I am still working, and I am also about 1/2 way through a Hitofude, and sometimes it is hard to have two major projects going at once. But this is such a great idea, and such a great way to understand/learn sweater construction, I am hoping that I will have the time and energy to keep up.

  9. I am really excited to watch this. Unfortunately I do not have access to my yarn stash right now. But looking forward to learning more.

  10. I found out late about this KAL so I am still in the swatching fase. This is so full of playfulness – experimenting with various yarns to see how they look together, with a relaxed attitude to the whole project as something I will do just for fun. Love it!

  11. I’m skipping the swatching..I figured some of the yarns are different anyway…am I being arrogant. Having said that I am thrilled at the stash idea. I just discovered your website a little while ago and love it. I just today finished the pattern Thirsty Rose and it’s gorgeous.
    Thank you Carol.

  12. Swatching is also needed to know how many stitches you need to cast on! However if you’ve got a vague idea of the gauge you can use that and modify as you work.

  13. Hi Carol,
    When you add the texture yarn in stockinette stitch, is that together with the main colour yarn? If so, does it not come out too wide?

  14. I added it with the main colour yarn. It does make it a little wider but I found it just gave a ‘thick/thin’ quality to the fabric that I found works with the general casual style? The smaller gauge will determine the size of the garment still and the thicker texture sections will bulge very slightly (the yarn isn’t very thick!) adding to the texture effect.

  15. I just discovered this and find the idea intriguing!
    I’m in the Guggen KAL so I’ll probably be way behind the rest of you!

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