The Ultimate Stash-Buster: Modular Knitting!

Ingrid Brundin's modular-knitted arm warmers from the Summer 2010 issue of Spin-Off

I've invited Amy Clarke Moore, editor of Spin-Off magazine, to introduce you to a fabulous project from the most recent Spin-Off issue: Ingrid Brundin's modular knitting using shell shapes as building blocks. Here's Amy to tell you more!

Like my mom and her mother before her, I'm a saver. If I have a little bit of yarn left over from a project, I save it. I might need it some day! A lot of my knitting and spinning friends are the same way. Are you like me? Do you save your bits of yarn?

When I first met Ingrid Brundin at SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat) a couple years ago, I knew I had met a kindred spirit. She is also clearly a saver. She was sporting these colorful arm warmers (a modular knitting project that she made with some of her first handspun yarns) and was brimming with ideas for even more projects made with small bits of yarn.

Modular knitting is perfect for using up the leftover bits of yarn from other knitting projects.

One thing led to another, and before long we had the project scheduled for the Summer 2010 issue of Spin-Off magazine.

Seeing Ingrid's shells made me itch to make some myself. What a perfect excuse to pull out my clear plastic shoe boxes of colored bits of yarn saved from various projects (organized by color, of course) to try out the pattern and dream about what my shells could become—a scarf, a hat, a small baby blanket, or crazy leg warmers for my five-year-old daughter.

While the kids were playing in the yard on a beautiful summer day, I selected some colors and cast on. I chose bright green hues to reflect the verdant green of our yard after three days of rain (unusual for our normally arid climate).

Here's the pattern for one of the shells (there are a couple more shell patterns in the magazine, so check out the whole article there!).


Here's a visual that shows how the individual shells become a unique fabric.

Cast on 33 stitches (or pick them up from your knitting).
Row 1: Purl.
Row 2: Knit.
Row 3: K2tog tbl across until 1 st rem; end k1 (17 sts rem).
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: Purl.
Row 6: Knit.
Row 7: Purl.
Row 8: Purl.
Row 9: K2tog tbl, k1; repeat from * until 2 sts rem; end k2tog tbl (11 sts rem).
Row 10: Knit.
Row 11: Purl.
Row 12: Knit.
Row 13: K2tog tbl, knit to last 2 sts, and end row with k2tog tbl (9 sts rem).
Row 14: Purl.
Row 15: Purl.
Row 16: Knit.
Row 17: Purl.
Row 18: Purl.
Row 19: K2tog tbl, knit to last 2 sts, and end row with k2tog tbl (7sts rem).
Row 20: Knit.
Row 21: Purl.
Row 22: Knit.
Row 23: K2tog tbl, knit to last 2 sts, and end row with k2tog tbl (5 sts rem).
Row 24: Purl.
Row 25: K2tog tbl, k1, k2tog tbl (3 sts rem).
Row 26: Purl.
Row 27: Sssk, cut yarn.

I love modular knitting. It gives me a sense of accomplishment—each piece made is like a stepping stone on the path to completing the project. It reflects my life, too, which is full of little bits of borrowed time to work on knitting projects—a couple minutes here and there to watch the stitches slide from one needle to the next with the small bits of yarn that I've saved just for this day.

Enjoy your summer!

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