I’ve made about 20 Stash Buster Blankets over the last 10 years or so. I absolutely love them because they’re like painting with my stash yarn. They are made with the odds and ends of leftover and forgotten yarns that I can't bring myself to donate but never seem to use either.
Usually, I use yarn that I would never want to wear: eyelash yarn for example. But they look fun as home decor. (And I still have a ton of stash eyelash yarn that’s a decade old!)
Last year I moved from a cold place to a warm place (Hello Florida!!!). I needed a new throw for the couch. Something lighter than the blankets I used to make in California. And in colors reflecting my new sub-tropical attitude.
I raided my stash for yellows, oranges and little pops of pink and red. If you're familiar with my Stash Buster blanket design, you know it’s based on my 3 Color Tunisian Technique. You're always switching between 3 yarns as you stitch the project. These yarns can be single strands or many strands held together. The key is that you are working with 3 "groups" of yarn.
I've gotten so many questions over the years on how I choose my colors. My favorite blankets all had a "main yarn" that contrasted with the rest of the changing colors and textures. This main yarn (or yarns!) provided a backdrop of continuity for all the change in the rest of the blanket. So when planning yarns for my current project, choosing this “continuity yarn” and making sure I had enough of it was a critical first step.
Let me explain what this means by showing my yarn choices for each of the 3 "yarn groups" in the project.
Yarn Group 1
I used a single strand of a bulky yarn here - Lion Brand Homespun to be exact. This is one of my “continuity yarns” and I use it throughout the blanket as the only strand in Group 1. In fact, I only had one ball in my stash, so I went out and bought 2 more just to make sure I had enough yarn to last for the whole project.
It’s not a yarn I love and I’ve been really disappointed by how it frays and pills with wear. But - when combined with several yarns in a blanket like this, that problem just isn’t that distracting or obvious. It’s a great low-budget “backdrop yarn” for this kind of project.
I had enough white eyelash yarn to use throughout the project, so this is one of my “continuity yarns” as well.
I hold it always with another strand of orange yarn that changes as I use up my stash. The effect is that this group of yarn changes subtly as I work since one strand is always the same while the other changes.
Yarn Group 3
I hold 3 strands of yarn throughout this group. I just used whatever I had in my stash, but I had a rule about how I did that.
I always used one red yarn, one sparkly yarn and one orange yarn.
This group of yarn changes gradually throughout the length of the project in a rather subtle way since only one of the 3 will change at any given time.
Besides a balance of continuity and change, I try to pay a lot of attention to the yarn weights when I switch yarns out. If you replace a thin yarn with a thick one, you will change the gauge (and thus the width!) of your blanket. You may have made a stash buster blanket with wildly varying width. What happened is that you didn’t keep your yarn gauges consistent as you switched out your yarns.
The other thing I've started doing is crocheting an edging on my stash buster blankets. The edges of these blankets can get a little floppy: especially the starting edge of the row. Edging the blanket helps balance out any width differences. Even more important, it just adds a nice frame to the controlled yarn mix chaos that unfolds within the blanket.
The edging you choose depends on your blanket. What finishing touch goes best with the blanket you make? For this project, I like something that's simple and made with basic stitches. To me that’s in keeping with the spirit of the blanket project itself. I think there's just so much going on in the body of the blanket, I want to put a nice frame on that. I also want to firm up the edges and add a little weight to them so my blanket drapes well over the edge of my sofa.
Make sure you have enough yarn to make the edging! My approach is to use my “continuity yarns”and try to bring everything together.
So without further ado, here are edgings that I swatched with a little explanation for each. I'm still deciding and plan to swatch a little more. Based on what I've shown here, which one would you choose?
First, I did the simplest edgings possible: a row of single crochet. The difference between the 2 photos is that the photo above is with the S hook (same size hook used in the project), and the bottom version is made with a hook that is half the size, working 2 stitches in every edge stitch.
Then I played with ways of adding a second row to the first.
Top Edging: 2 rows of single crochet with the smaller hook.
Bottom Edging: 1 row of single crochet, 1 row of reverse single crochet with small hook. (compare to big hook below)
Even though my goal was to keep things simple, I decided that I really needed to spice these edges up.
I decided to throw more yarn into the mix.
Top edging: First row single crochet with big hook, 2nd row double crochet (double the stitches) with smaller hook and some orange/peach yarn, last row single crochet worked in between ever 2 dc.
Bottom edging: All done with the smaller hook, first row single crochet, 2nd row single crochet with the peach/red yarn and top row reverse single crochet.
It was after I did the bottom edging that I decided that my accent yarn needed to include the white eyelash and the red so that it blends well with the rest of the blanket.
Here I'm beginning to experiment with the white eyelash and red accent yarns. I'm also liking how the smaller hook and greater amount of stitches in the 2nd and 3rd rows of the edging adds an extra weight to the edge of the blanket.
Top Edging: First 2 rows done in single crochet with big hook. Reverse single crochet with smaller hook and double the stitches for 3rd row.
Bottom Edging: It’s almost the same as the top edging. The only difference is that the 2nd row is also done with the smaller hook and double the stitches. This gave the edging a little more substance.