After knitting all my ponchos and scarves I had a lot of oddments of Lion Brand Homespun yarn left over in various different shades. http://cache.lionbrand.com//yarns/homespun.htm There was not really enough of any skein to knit anything much, so I decided that I would knit some place mats and use it all up. This would make another good beginner project as it's just garter stitch through and through.
To start I took two strands of contrasting Homespun, cast on and started knitting them together. When I had knitted a band about 3 or 4 inches wide, I dropped one of the yarn strands and joined on yet another shade of homespun, continuing with one of the original strands as well. I continued knitting again with two strands. After knitting another band about the same size I dropped the very first colour, and joined in yet another shade and knitted with that and the third colour that I had chosen. By dropping one strand at a time, each colour overlapped into the next knitted band, creating a nice tweedy effect. I continued in this way until the placemat looked about the right length and then I cast off. The pattern throughout is good old no frills Garter Stitch and by kitting with double strands it makes the mats much thicker(and they are washable). You can knit these mats as long and as wide as you like. My mats are about 13 inches wide by 18 inches long. They are so easy to make and you feel very good about not wasting all those lovely oddments of yarn! I used number 11 circular needles for my set and I love my new placements. I actually kept them myself instead of giving them away! I am sure you could use any kind of yarn to make these - just go with the flow. Homespun actually worked very well with this project and I would use it again.
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