The week before last was Fashion Revolution Week, with this years call to action encouraging you to ask #WhoMadeMyClothes. Adding self-made knit or crocheted items to your wardrobe and using sustainable fibres, such as Stitch & Story’s non mulesed 100% merino wool yarns, is a great start. Now, more than ever, it’s important that we look at the impact our personal actions are having on our world and, as well as being conscious of where our clothes are coming from and who is making them, we need to examine throw away habits and the amount of textile waste we produce. So in light of all this, we thought we’d put together a few fun ways you can lessen your fibre waste by using yarn scraps, left over from knit or crochet projects, to create something new - waste not, want not.
Garlands are a great way to add some colour and fun to a room, or to decorate with for a special occasion. Small knit or crochet projects can be made multiple times with scraps of yarn and strung up together to make a beautiful custom-made garland. Why not try knitting colourful triangle shapes for a woollen take on traditional bunting? Or you can download this fun FREE Easy Crochet Cupcake pattern, perfect for a kid’s bedroom or birthday party, to make a sweet treat inspired garland - mixing colours and yarn scraps to create all kinds of ‘flavours’.
Bows are such a quick and easy item to knit, with so many uses, which makes them ideal for using up yarn scraps. You can download this FREE Bow Pom pattern that uses Stitch & Story’s The Chunky Wool, but works for any yarn and needle combinations. You could use the bow to decorate a hat, jumper or cushion cover; attach it to a dog’s collar; or even make a garland from them or use as Christmas tree decorations - the options are endless. Here are a few more ideas for what you could do with a knit bow pom made from yarn scraps:
Who doesn’t love a pompom? One of the quickest ways to use up yarn scraps; pompoms are incredibly versatile. You can mix colours, yarn thickness and type to create varied and totally unique pompoms. Karina @missbananacrafts used yarn scraps to make variegated pompoms for her Stitch & Story Sprinkles Hats. Pompoms look great attached to bags or baskets, added to cushion covers, hung as decorations or even used for gift wrap. Pompoms are easy to make using circles of card but if you plan on making multiple pompoms then a pompom maker is the quickest option. You can purchase four different sized Stitch & Story pompom makers here.
Like pompoms, tassels aren’t going out of style any day soon, and are a great way to add a little something extra to your knit or crocheted items while using up scraps of yarn. At Stitch & Story we love a tassel - our Skye Tassel Throw and Maggie Tassel Cushion Cover are evidence of this. In addition to adorning throws and cushion covers, tassels look great on scarves, baskets or combined with pompoms to make decorations. Try mixing yarn types and thickness for added texture.
Wool, particularly The Chunky Wool as it is roving, will felt under the right conditions. Wet felting is a technique particularly suited for yarn scraps, which can be used to turn the scraps into flat shapes. It just requires some water, dish soap and a bit of friction. Felted flat shapes make unique coasters, or could be framed as works of art, or used as hanging decorations. There’s really no limit to what you could use them for. This is also a fun project to get kids involved with.
You will need cookie cutter shapes, dish soap, cold water and scraps of yarn at least 1 inch or 2.5 centimetres long.Start by teasing your strands of wool apart. Place a cookie cutter on a plate and stuff with your teased wool scraps.
Wet the wool down and add more wool. Add a drop or two of dish soap - you don’t need a lot - and, with your fingers, start poking the soap and water into the wool creating friction. Keep pushing and poking until the soap is well distributed and the wool starts to matt and felt. The more friction you create, the more the wool will felt together.
Once you are happy the wool has felted enough, carefully rinse out the soap and gently squeeze out the excess water, reshaping the wool in your cookie cutter if needs be. Leave to thoroughly dry out and you’re done.
A simple and creative way to use up yarn scraps is to make a colourful wall hanging. All you need is a stick or wooden rod to hang the yarn from, either by knotting, or looping and weaving the yarn. Then you just need to let your imagination loose. Experimenting with different yarn weights and textures, braiding and wrapping can result in a really unique piece of wall art. You could even add other leftover craft supplies such as beads.
Perhaps the least exciting but practical way to use up yarn scraps is to make test swatches with them. Yarn scraps are perfect for trying out a new knitting or crochet technique, or experimenting with different hook or needle sizes before starting a new project. Swatches give you a chance to test out a stitch pattern and get comfortable with a new technique. By using yarn scraps to practise, instead of a new ball of yarn earmarked for your project, you avoid spoiling the yarn - particularly if it’s expensive or fragile - through frogging and tinking.
Hopefully the next time you’re tidying up your yarn stash you’ll be inspired to create something new with all the scraps before reaching for the bin. Remember that small efforts by many people can have a greater impact than big efforts by just a few. This list is certainly not exhaustive so if you have any great ideas for what to use leftover yarn for or have made anything particularly exciting with scraps of yarn please share in the comments below and don’t forget to tag us on social media #stitchandstory #yarnmazing.