Understandably, I’ve seen a lot of talk on social media this week about stashbusting crochet projects and I for one am a fan! So I thought I would put together my quick guide to shopping your stash!
*disclaimer, the image at the top of this post is not my yarn stash (one can dream!), it’s a photo from a yarn festival I went to last year, but it was too pretty not to share!
Whilst we’re all at home, a lot of us will have more time for crochet than we may normally do. But, we might not want, or have the means to spend a lot on new yarn to support this habit! So it’s the perfect opportunity to work through that stash of yarn we already have.
I’ve listed a few tips below on getting the most out of your stash, followed by some project ideas, categorised by project size (so whether you have a small stash or a large one bulging out of every cupboard in the house, there is something for you!
How to shop your stash
If you’ve been crocheting for a while, I expect that you have a bunch of part balls and left overs you were never sure what to do with. That’s the first place to start with stash busting, but there are other ways you can make the most of what you didn’t know you had!
The first thing to do is make a bit of an inventory and work out exactly what you have – this in itself is pretty satisfying!
I store my yarn In plastic boxes by weight (and then fibre) and any part balls I have and left overs go in a little bag. Below is my acrylic dk in all it’s messy glory as an example!
Now I write that down it seems I’m more organised than I thought I was!!
When you organise your yarn this way, it’s great so see what you have most and least of. So say you’re thinking of making a granny square blanket, you can easily see all the bits for the squares and then see if you have enough of one other single colour for joining. If not then you can take another approach and just let the colours do the work!
Use your scraps!
What about those little scraps which you could barely make 10 stitches with?
Well, how about creating your own yarn from them? You can use the magic knot to tie them end to end (this is a great way of joining yarn without wasting much!) and over time build up a ball of yarn to make your very own colourway which will be a testament to all your other projects!
Have a wip purge!
Another great source of yarn is all those abandoned wips you have. Time to get real – if you’re not gonna finish that project, just frog it and use the yarn for something else!
That said, now is also a great time to actually finish all those wips in time out too!
Use the posh yarn!
I don’t know about you, but every now and then I treat myself to a beautiful hand dyed hank of yarn in some delicious blend of fibre. The trouble is, it sits there in my stash because I’m so scared to use it and not like what I create.
Here’s the thing, just like using the good china, use the good yarn!
Yes, be thoughtful about what pattern you use it with (check out this post about choosing your yarn if you need some help!), but work it up – let it fulfil its purpose!!
Mix and Match!
Stash busting is a great opportunity to mix and match yarn weights and textures, clashing colours and prints, and generally get experimental. The Bisou Pillow I designed was made with random yarns from my stash.
Tapestry crochet is a great way to mix it up! In this pattern, I experimented mixing cotton with mohair (worked double) and really liked the result!
Stash-busting crochet project ideas
Okay, so you’ve been through your stash and know what you’ve got, or maybe have some ideas about a particular yarn you want to use up. What to make with it?
Below are a bunch of ideas to get you started. I’ve ordered the project suggestions in the amount of yarn requred. You can use part balls or smaller leftovers for all of them.
If you want even more pattern ideas, you could also check out my Stashbusting patterns board on Pinterest
Small stash busting crochet projects: <100g yarn
There is so much you can do with small amounts of yarn. Scrappy granny squares are a great place to start. They look great in a mish mash of colours and textures, and are really simple to join (even if they aren’t all quite the same size!).
Facecloths, scrubies or dishcloths are brilliant ways to use up small amounts of yarn.
You have to be a bit thoughtful about your fibre here. Acrylic yarn is out – it’s water resistant so will just move water about rather than soak it up. Cotton and bamboo work really well for cloths. Try the free happy face cloth pattern for a bit of whimsy, or simply make a large swatch. These mindful crochet stitches are all great for cloths.
When I was a kid and my mum tried to teach me to knit, it would always involve knitting a dishcloth for my grandma for Christmas or birthday. Alas my knitting skills have not improved much since then but I think it definitely sewed a seed – these are great projects to get the kids involved with!
Scrunchies are another fab way to use up left overs and are incredibly popular right now. My Thank Scrunchie it’s Friday pattern is one of my most visited pattern tutorials and is a great place to get started!
Small favour bags or coin purses are great for stash busting too. Check out this free drawstring bag pattern And tutorial which I used to make lavendar sachets for my wardrobe – so useful!
Amigurumi often only require small amounts of yarn and are another way to get creative! I’m thinking a toy with multicoloured hair to use all those ends!
Appliqués and small motifs (think mini stars or hearts for example) are great for using up small amounts of your, You can add them to a hand made greetings card, use them as a gift tag (they look fab hung around necks of bottles!) or string them together to make a garland or bunting, perfect for home made party decor or cheering up a kids bedroom!
One of my favourite little patterns is my pin me sunshine pin cushion. This is a happy quick and easy pattern
It’s a bit less crochet specific, but pom poms and tassels (see my 5 minute tassel tutorial here) are also a really good way to use up bits. Use a pom pom maker to make it easier to get the most out of your short bits and have fun seeing what patterns you can make!
If all else fails, smaller ends make great stuffing for amigurumi or small pillows! Let nothing be wasted!
Medium stash busting crochet projects 100-200g
I’m thinking scarves, cowls and hats here. They are fairly quick to make, flexible and make great a gifts
Anything with stripes in lends itself well to stash busting because you only need enough of each colour to complete one stripe. Though of course you can always rework solid pattern with your own stripes!
Scarves and cowls are also great because they can also be made in any yarn weight. I’m working on some patterns which mix yarn weights for effect which (when they eventually get done) will be great for using up your stash!
Market bags are great patterns for using up small amounts of yarn too. There are loads of free patterns for these on Pinterest and all help reduce our plastic waste!
Small homeware projects like baskets and wall hangings work really well with a mixture of yarns too. For baskets, try holding different yarns double for a unique effect.
Cushions are also a really nice medium sized project too. Scrappy mixed fibres crocheted tightly look great on a sofa!
Large stash busting crochet projects 250g+
For larger projects you’re going to mainly be looking at blankets, rugs or garments.
We mentioned making granny squares in the small project section, but you could also make the ultimate granny square blanket… just keep going and going on the same square until it’s as big as you want it or you run out of yarn. Likewise the granny stripe blanket works really well with this too (though for that you’ll need to have an idea of your width first.
If you want something a little different, have a look at the free bobble pop blanket. You can crochet the circles with all your small amounts and you’ll then need a bit more of a single colour to join it (or join it in scraps too for a colour collision!)
For years I’ve been wanting to create a rug just of all my left overs. Start at one end, crochet a meter or so in width, then keep adding to it, Using free form crochet to keep a rough rectangle. Perhaps now is the time for me to put my money where my mouth is and get started!!
What about garments?
Well, here it’s more important to consider your yarn weight as ideally you’ll be sticking to a gauge if you’re following a pattern. Though you can totally wing it with a simple drop shoulder design sweater (make a front, a back, 2 sleeves and join it together!). which would look amazing!
If you have a lot of the same weight yarn, you can pretty much turn any pattern using that weight into a scrap buster.
I actually designed the Stash to Treasure batwing sweater specifically to use up small amounts of yarn.
I created a ‘behind the scenes’ set of videos for my IGTV whilst designing this which shows you the design process and also how hard I found it to mix the colours… but also how rewarding! You can see part 1 here and follow on for parts 2 and 3!
One of my other designs which started life as a CAL (crochet along) is my Maslow’s Rainbow top. This is a super simple top which can be made in any yarn weight.
It’s a bit of a stitch sampler too, so great if you want to try some new stitches with your left overs! Click here the intro and materials section and to learn more about the design.
I hope that gives you some good ideas to get moving.
There really are no hard and fast rules with stash busting. You can use any pattern and mix up the yarn and colours and see what happens. Have some fun with it and don’t be afraid to experiment!
Happy stash shopping!