Top Five Radical Things to do with Your Leftover Yarn

If you’re like me, you can’t bring yourself to throw yarn in the trash, no matter how small your leftover pieces might be.  If you’re like me, you wish there were something you could do with that ball of yarn you’ve been holding onto that’s too small to make a hat but is such a nice color.  If you’re like me, you’ve got bags and bags of half-finished projects that will never be complete, half,-, quarter-, and even less balls (and wads) of yarn with nowhere to go, and it’s kind of becoming a problem…

What to do with Leftover Yarn?

Well…Here are some things I’ve done, and some other things I’d REALLY like to do…

scrappy-hats5) Make Scrappy Hats

I love scrappy hats.  Thanks to circular needles, it’s easy.  I love hats that looked like someone pulled them out of the fuzzy and colorful abyss.  The scrappy and uneven look that comes from using odd and hard to eyeball amounts of different colored and textured yarn is pretty fun.  I’ve also made scrappy scarves.  Call it train-hoppin’ hot!  Actually, if you put the word scrappy in front of most things that can be made from yarn, you’re good to go for radical idea number five!

4) Make a Freaking Blanket!

I’ve been working on the same giant freaking blanket for about three years. Whenever I find myself with yarn that won’t fit elsewhere, leftover yarn that needs a home, or a long road trip in the winter in Trick and my 79′ camper

Currently in a pile in the corner of the closet.  Blanket Monster.

Currently in a pile in the corner of the closet. Blanket Monster.

van with no heat that we feel safe using, it’s blanket time!  My goal was to make a blanket big enough to cover me, Trick (who is six feet tall), and his three little ones for camping time snuggles.  So far, it can fit Trick and I, but the kids keep getting bigger and hopefully I’ll finish it before they’re too cool to cuddle with us.  Either way, it’s fun to look back across the blanket and remember old projects.  It’s like a memory quilt.

Also, on the blanket note, they make excellent wedding presents.  I’ve had the pleasure of crocheting a wedding blanket for two dear friends, and another not-wedding-but-whatever blanket for another couple of kick-ass friends.  So much compersion!!!

crochet-mushroom-necklace3) Mushroom Necklaces

Disclaimer: the mushroom necklace is the most conspicuous place you could possibly put your drugs….ever!

These make great gifts, you can pump them out in like twenty minutes, and no matter how many you make, they can always be different.  This is the perfect project for those ridiculously small amounts of yarn that we’re insane for holding on to.  You crochet a mushroom cap, and then the stem is removable, and the stem is hollow so you can put stuff in it.  Crystals, lighters, secrets…

Just google crochet mushroom necklace patterns, you’ll find written instructions and video tutorials, but they’re pretty intuitive to begin with.

This is what it looks like in its full glory.

This is what it looks like in its full glory.

2) Infinity Scarves…Forever!

I watched with voyeuristic delight as my roommate-soulmate from college, Kelsey, made one of these out of her leftover yarn (this girl can make anything out of yarn…and if she can’t yet, she will soon).  She used circular needles to first knit a 120 stitch by 12 stitch circle – like a tiny scarf in a necklace suit.  She cast off, then she looped the circle she’d just made in two (in a figure-eight stacked on top of itself, you know looping it once…why is it so hard to explain right now!?) and cast on another 120 stitches on her circular needles, then put the needles with the stitches cast on through the first circle (now in infinity form) and just kept knitting.  It’s really simple, I promise.  Just hard to explain without a visual.  Anywho, you just keep adding 120 stitch by 12 stitch circles until you reach the thickness you like.

1) Warm Up America! and Other Charities

My friend’s mom is addicted to this.  I don’t blame her.  Knitting or crocheting for Warm Up America! repurposes leftover yarn and scraps from old projects and also is the perfect excuse to practice new stitches.  All you need to do is knit or crochet a 9″x7″ rectangle and send it in to be assembled into blankets and clothing for those in need.  Their website supplies patterns and stitches too.  There are oodles of charities you can knit for, all though not all of them are the best for leftovers.

Of course, if Warm Up America! can do it, there’s no reason you can’t get together a knitting circle of your friends, each throw down some rectangles, and construct a collective monthly blanket for a friend or loved one in need of some extra warmth (by the way, knitting can save the world, starting with you and your friends).

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