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Better than a pearl necklace!

Quick Holiday Gift
Stashbuster Stole

Like many of us, I tend to acquire yarn whenever I see it—even if I have no idea what I'll do with it later. The yarn often arrives one or two skeins at a time, which makes using the yarn a bit more tricky.

From that habit, and from my tendency to delay knitted gifts until the last minute, came this pattern. It's as simple as they come, a ribbed neckwarmer that serves as combination scarf, necklace, stole, and turtleneck depending upon the occasion and how you wear it. (I call it the Stashbuster Stole because Stashbuster Scarf/Necklace/Stole/Turtleneck doesn't have the same ring...) It knits up quickly and is a perfect tribute to all those orphaned skeins in your stash.

The Materials
The stole pictured above is the first Stashbuster Stole I ever knit. I liked it so much that I kept it as a model for all future ones—of which I've made many over the years.

It was made using two strands of yarn held together, with approximately 80 yards of each. One skein was Mondial Ricci e Capricci, an elaborate now-discontinued novelty yarn with gorgeous flecks of color mixed with mohair; and the other was Tahki Sable, an also-discontinued DK-weight merino/angora blend.

For the buttons I used two mother-of-pearl buttons from my grandmother's collection. Again, the stole is a great way to use up those unusual buttons you may have collected over the years.

What yarns should you use? I particularly like the effect of pairing a fluffy novelty or brushed mohair or alpaca with a strand of similar-colored DK-weight yarn (which is essentially what I did with this stole). The first gives you texture and drama, while the second adds strength and structure to the fabric.

Some interesting pairings could include:

These are just a few ideas. When going through your yarn stash, try sorting the yarns by similar color theme. Then choose one color group and start stranding different yarns and textures together until you see a combination you like. You may be surprised!

The Needles
For the stole pictured above, I used size US 7 needles. Since you'll be stranding together two random yarns from your stash, you'll need to figure out the most appropriate needle size for those combined yarns.

To do this, pull out a foot of each yarn you'll be using for the stole. Hold them together, fold them in half, and run this combined, doubled strand through the holes in your needlesizer until the yarn fits the hole without being too tight or loose.

Whatever hole it fits most comfortably is the needle size you'll want to use. I intentionally made my fabric a little bit tighter so that the stole would have more form and structure. If you want to do this, use one needle size smaller than the needlesizer specifies.

The Gauge
The goal here is to achieve approximately 3 stitches per inch in K1, P1 rib pattern, which gives you bulk while maintaining some degree of detail. If you're in love with your pairing and it knits up at a different gauge, just modify the number of stitches you cast on so that the finished width is still approximately 4 inches.

The stole has a finished size of 21 x 4 inches.

The Pattern
With both strands, CO 12 sts

Next row, begin K1, P1 rib pattern (RS [K1, P1] to end; WS [K1, P1] to end)

Continue in pattern until stole measures 21 inches or desired length

Bind off all stitches and darn in ends.

Attach two buttons to one end, approximately one inch from bottom and side edges. The rib pattern should accommodate buttons that are at least 1/2-inch in diameter without you having to add button holes on the other side.

As I said, this pattern is as simple as they come. The magic lies in the materials you choose.

Yarns that may seem like strange bedfellows in a basket can knit up beautifully on the needles. So don't be afraid to experiment and see where it leads you.

Want more? Check out the Shawls, Scarves, and Ponchos section of our forum, with links to more than 100 free patterns on the Web.