Loose Ends, a concept for taking yarn from stash (or LYS shelves) and creating something unique

Loose Ends are easier to measure and cut on a curtain rod.
I cannot take credit for this simple concept. I heard of it from a friend who attended TNNA. As soon as I get the name of the instructor, I will add it here. If you were at TNNA,  know of this workshop, and want to message me, please share. I do want to give credit for this fun idea.

Last Monday, I met up with a friend known only from the internet, at a coffee shop. My family and my muggle friends think I take my life in my hands when I tell them I am off to meet a total stranger whom I met online through my life in knitting. They get a tad dramatic and insist I call or text to alert them that all is well and that I haven't been robbed or abducted. They are so funny... abducted?, don't they know we knitters are all some kind of crazy, but in a good way, like in world peace and domination and such?  I have learned... now I don't relay the story until after I get back from the meet-up!

Imogen is a lovely woman who owns Fig Tree Yarns. (This link will lead you to Imogen's FB page, there you find a link to the website that will soon display the yarns available for order online). Her shop features many yarns from the States that are hard to find on the other side of the pond. I thought that this was a devilish business plan. Just think of the enabling you could do in the name of saving time and shipping? Not to mention your clients could brag on having yarns that are scarcely found in stashes over there. She often comes to Boston to visit her son, who is working on his Ph.D at Harvard. Imogen lives and works in Jersey (of the Channel Islands off the coast of England, not our stateside NJ Jersey).  Imogen has a yarn shop tucked into a studio attached to her home (Imagine... ? I swoon...). She is an opera singer by training, and a voice teacher by profession. And she knits. Why not combine the two? I was imagining the change in acoustics with the addition of all that wool!

In one of the many topics we covered in our short time together, she shared that she had just returned from TNNA. I queried in my awe as to how it was, who she saw, what vendors she visited, and all that. (If you know me at all, you may have witnessed the rapid fire questions that ensue when I WANT TO KNOW!). She shared info about a class and I have renamed it Loose Ends, read on.

Close up of colors and yarn weights as they vary.
The premise was pitched to yarn shop owners as a way to promote the use of yarn in the shop that has not been selling. You select yarn of the same weight, and in the case of the LYS owner, it could even be the same brand. You cut lengths of yarn and join them randomly as you knit. The description of the process I was given was the skein is wrapped around your elbow to hand and then cut in half. I wanted a longer run and used a curtain rod to drape the yarn and cut it. It is a bit over two yards in length. The designer of this concept described having the yarn lengths draped over your shoulders, and as you knit, you randomly select a strand, and use a Russian Join or Magic Knot.

Loose Ends Quaker Yarn Stretcher
Pattern: Quaker Yarn Stretcher by Susan Ashcroft
Yarns: Assorted worsted to bulky weights on size 11 needle.
I gathered the ends of many balls of yarn, some are from the swap tables at SPA and Fiber Camp. others are leftovers in my stash. I broke rule (or suggestion) number one in that my yarn weights vary. If you like that look, you can do the same, but I will stay closer to one weight in my next project. The other suggestion I took liberties with is the join; my new Loose End is joined at the edge of my work for a cleaner look.

This Quaker Yarn Stretcher pattern goes so quickly, have you made one yet?
I have some pretty bulky weight yarn lengths in this project but I like the textural quality it lends. Some might call my color choices garish, but that IS how I roll in color preferences, hence the leftovers! As I knit, I think of how warm and cuddly this will be in the cold winds of fall and winter.

Here are some patterns that might showcase the yarns well.

ZickZack Scarf by Chrisy Kamm
Cattywampus Hat by Elizabeth Green Musselman
Quaker Yarn Stretcher by Susan Ashcroft
Yarn Optimizer by Susan Ashcroft
Ritalin Cowl by Shelley N Brander
Simply Rippled by Susan Ashcroft
Pleat Up! by Hanna Maciejewska
Union Square by JumperCablesKnitting
Bias Before and After Scarf by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas
I confess, I am a Susan Ashcroft fan, her patterns teach me new techniques and I find they turn my knitting on its side a bit. I have made three Quakers so far. Each one is unique and they work up so quickly. In the Union Square pattern above, I would suggest using the Loose Ends method along with a full skein of yarn in a complimentary or contrasting solid yarn in the same weight.

These are the hues in my second Loose Ends project.
My second hank of Loose Ends is more of a neutral collection of colors. I may remove the bulkier strands now that I know how much texture it lends to the item. I plan to cast on a Cattywampus Hat and see if the yarn concept and the pattern will meld well. I will share it on a Wednesday or Friday, depending on how speedy my needles fly!

Cattywampus Hat, image imported from Ravelry pattern page.
Let me know what you think? And, if you know of the person who taught this workshop, please share. I do want to give her the credit for this fun, new way to use up stash. Leave a comment and your Ravelry ID if you want a response from me!

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