Wednesday, 9 January 2013

My 2013 Stash Challenge

So, how to bust my yarn stash ( and make a dent in the fabric stash too) by the end of this year.

The Problem: I have a lot of very nice high quality yarn,much of it is organic cotton, but it is all single balls or part balls. They are balls left over from previous projects and they are piling up, and causing me some concern.
There are not a lot of things you can knit with just one ball of yarn other than baby hats and mitts and multi coloured blankets and it would take a population explosion in our family to be able to use all this up!
I want to put it to good use, and I want to make things that are attractive and worth making with it and I want to feel motivated to use it.
The Solution: There is a charity called Greenfields Africa which I heard about through Loving Hands, a charity knitting group to which I belong. Greenfields Africa  help the poorest of families in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa by providing basic clothing and neccessities for the first few months of a newborn's life. To try to reduce the mortality rate of babies and mothers in childbirth, the pregnant mothers are encouraged to attend 3 antenatal classes. They are then entitled to a Mama bag in their last month of pregnancy.
The Mama bag is a drawstring bag about the size of a pillow case and contains a baby vest, a babyro, a knitted hat, a knitted cardigan or jumper, knitted booties/socks and a knitted blanket. It also contains toilet soap, Vaseline, cotton wool and surgical gloves for the birth as many babies are born at home in basic huts and nothing is provided by the State.
Knitting and sewing for this charity would be a wonderful way to use my stash!!
The single balls will make plenty of hats and booties, and I have a few balls that are large enough to make a newborn cardigan ( their website does say they have enough cardigans for now, but I shall still knit what I can as this is a whole year challenge I've set myself, and they may need them again by December!)
Blankets only need to be 36" square, so i'm sure I can sort the oddments into colour groups to make some reasonably attractive blankets. I've also read that fabric blankets are ok, so I can make some with a patchwork front and a brushed cotton backing - sort of mini quilts without wadding - a brilliant way to use up all those tiny scraps that are lurking in a storage unit somewhere.
I can also make Mama bags with the larger pieces of fabric.
This is a great solution to my stash problem, and there is enough variety to keep me motivated. It is important to me to try and make nice things with my leftovers as this is going to take up a lot of time and I want to feel I'm not just knitting for the sake of it.
So, my 2013 challenge to myself is this: I'm going to try and knit or sew 52 items for the Mama bags, including the bags themselves over the 52 weeks of this year. The challenge is to make them as attractive as possible using just stash, without  buying anything extra.
I've made a start using the 4 ply yarn as it's my least favourite - it works up so slowly! The pink/orange is the sleeve of a cardie and the granny squares will make a blanket.

I'll post photos of each and every item as I make them so you'll be able to see how I'm getting on.
I hope you'll cheer me on when it's going OK, nag me when the posts are behind schedule and suggest variations when I'm sick of knitting baby hats!
I hope to be able to take the comment moderation off soon. I have been getting an awful lot of ridiculously stupid spam comments which has meant it is neccessary to moderate. Please don't let it put you off commenting. I do love to hear from people who aren't spammers!


  1. I think this is an amazing way to use up your stash - how fabulous! And, well done for picking up your needles to make someone else's life better :) I'm going to investigate Greenfields now too, x

  2. This is so cool! I'm going to go check out that site and maybe use up some of my own stash.

  3. I hope you both found the site. They also have a Facebook page, which I've joined. I think it's a great charity. You feel good about your knitting as you know its going to a good cause. I'm hoping to sew a few clothes for older children too!

  4. I have just started a stash buster challenge with Ana BC and have invited the ladies on LH to join in, it will be great to share our idea's with blogland and hopefully get more members you have a lovely stash there :)

  5. Thanks for telling me Linda. I've joined you. Should be great fun :)

  6. Welcome to the Stash-Buster Challenge! I see you already have big plans... I agree on making beautiful things, even if it is with leftover yarns. I am also planning on doing things for charity. We will try to find ideas and encourage each other.
    See you soon...
    Ana BC

  7. I just found your blog through Loving Hands and I love it. The picture of all your wool is priceless.

  8. I somehow don't think I'm alone with an oddment pile that big, but I might be the only one brave enough to admit it!
    The worry will be if it's still that big this time next year. Oh I do hope not!!

  9. What a great challenge. Love your colourful granny squares!

  10. Wow julie - this is an incredibly good idea! I can knit now (but only very very basic) and will bear this in mind for the futre. Well done - I'm looking forward to seeing all your beautiful creations, lvoe and hugs Nicki xxx

  11. PS My fabric stash probably rivals yours - but I have only 3 balls of any kind of yarn! :-)

  12. Give it time Nicki, I guarantee you'll have more than 3 balls of yarn by the end of the year!


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