Saturday, January 19, 2013

Battling the Scrap Yarn Monster

I'm sure you've seen the bumper sticker: "She who dies with the most yarn wins".

I'm in the running. I have tote after tote of yarn in the basement. There's an ottoman by my husband's chair that's filled with yarn. Another tote in the living room closet. And the ever-present basket of scrap yarn by my chair.
It's the little balls of yarn that I have left over from projects, or received from people. Too small for most projects, but too big to throw away. I'm always looking for projects that will help keep the scrap yarn from taking over.

I was making progress on the basket above, so I went down to the totes in the basement to restock. This is what I found:
It took an hour to get it untangled, and then another hour to sort the yarn out into colors and get each color into a separate zipper bag, but now it's organized and ready for projects!

In the past week, I've come up with two favorite patterns that work up quickly and use up scrap yarn!

The first one is what I call "Scrapper Hats". They use up about 2 ounces of yarn per hat and size 13 needles (circular and double-pointed).

Cast on 48 stitches on circular needle. Connect and work in K2, P1 ribbing for 20-24 rows (depending on how much yarn you have and how long you want the hat).
Row 1 of decreases: K2 together, P 1 around
Row 2 of decreases: K2 together
Cut yarn, leaving a 4-6" tail. Pull tail through remaining stitches and draw tight. Tie off. Add pom-pom to top of hat. I love my pom-pom makers (pictured below)

Here are some of the hats I've made using this pattern:

 The other project that I've been making with scrap yarn is infinity scarves. These are made on a really big circular needle (size 17). The pink scarf was made on my size 13 needles, and is a little smaller. I grabbed a couple of colors that looked good together, with each ball of yarn weighing about an ounce and a half.

I cast on 77 stitches and knit in a K3, P3 pattern. Since 77 is one less than a multiple of 3, the rib gets shifted over one stitch each row, and makes a slanted rib pattern.

Basically, I just keep on knitting, not really keeping track of the beginning of rows. When it looked like my yarn was running out, I started to cast off. (Confession time... in the red/gray scarf I'm wearing below, I ran out of gray yarn while casting off, so the last six stitches are red yarn only.) With the big needles, the 77 stitches makes a scarf about 48" around. With the size 13 needles (pink scarf), it came out to 38". I just got a set of size 15 knitting needles, might try a few scarves with those, too!

I have a craft show coming up in March. We'll see how these sell! In the meantime, my neck is cozy warm!

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