8 Thrifty Yarn Tips

Apr 22, 2013

Today is Earth Day, a day when almost 200 countries worldwide demonstrate their support for environmental protection. With Earth Day coming a week the U.S. tax deadline, I have been researching ways to save money on yarn, including methods of recycling yarn. I asked members of the Crochet Me Facebook page for their suggestions for saving money and recycling yarn. Here are some of their best suggestions.

  Check out Sarah's blog and find great ideas for organizing your stash.

1. Don't toss the leftover few yards of yarn when you finish a project. These bits work great for embellishments and striped projects. Kas saves all of the left over ends of her skeins, then joins them using a Russian join to create her own variegated yarn.

2. If you are looking for yarn on a budget, several crocheters suggested checking out your local thrift shop. Keep your eye out for miscellaneous bags of yarn. You can't beat the price. This yarn might not still have its original ball bands, so research ways to determine a yarn's fiber content. Sue also finds yarn at estate sales and auctions.

3. Carol suggests using PDF crochet patterns to save on paper and printing. You can read PDF patterns on many phones, laptops, and tablets and many magazines, including Interweave Crochet, are available as digital downloads.

4. Leona makes her own "yarn" by cutting old tee shirts into strips. She uses this yarn to create crocheted rugs.

5. Check out crochet and knit pattern books from your local library.

6. Another great suggestion from several Crochet Me members was to use raveled yarn. Buy finished sweaters from the local thrift store, then ravel them and use the yarn for your own project. You can also ravel works in progress that you are no longer excited about.

7. I love Dawn's comment. She said,"Crochet and knit in public tends to lead to people just giving me yarn." I may have to try this approach, but you will also find that family members or friends may have stashes of yarn that they will not use and would be happy to donate to your next project.

8. A great idea from is to set up a yarn swap with some of your fellow crocheters and knitters. It's a great way to clean out your stash at the same time as finding the perfect yarn for your next project.

Best wishes,

P.S. What ideas would you add to this list?

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fl_mom wrote
on Apr 22, 2013 9:14 PM

Ovet the past 10 years i have recycled those thin plastic bags from the store into rugs by cutting them in to 2 inch wide strips and joining them together. Now it's now it's now as plarn

~Nanette in FL

dragonkeeper wrote
on Apr 27, 2013 5:25 AM

I raveled an old sweater dress,made a warm winter hat and had lots left over

amora76 wrote
on Apr 27, 2013 5:41 AM

When I worked in Vegas, I had a 2 hour bus ride to work. I used my knitting machine to make hat 'blanks' from scrap/odds&ends yarn and then finished the top shaping and back seam on the bus ride. The intention was to clear up my stash (much inherited from my grandmother) and donate the hats to the homeless shelter. Well, people wanted to buy the hats. And other regular riders started giving me yarn. I made about 30 hats that reached donation and another $40. Only I ended up with 3 garbage bags of yarn, where I had started out with 2! So much for reducing my stash....

on Apr 27, 2013 8:31 AM

Cut plastic bags into strips and tie them together, then you could make reusable shopping bags!

jillywilly wrote
on Apr 27, 2013 9:34 AM

I am always on the hunt for old sweaters at thrift stores and garage sales. I knit almost exclusively with recycled yarn now. It's funny - you call it "raveling", but I call it "unraveling" - what's up with that?

on Apr 27, 2013 9:56 AM

Thank you so much for the tips.  I just learned a new method of joining bits of yarn.  Cannot wait to try it.  

devisonbraun wrote
on Apr 29, 2013 5:09 AM

This seems to be very important post for recycling yarn.Thanks for these useful tips.

ilehlia wrote
on May 21, 2013 9:32 AM

I have a friend who gets all her yarn at yard sales and thrift stores.  She makes the most colourful and cheery afghans, sometimes in squares and sometimes in the mile-a-minute technique.  I have a couple knit sweaters slated for the unravelling technique right now. (I also say "unravel" ???)  I've never tried it before, but the yarn is too nice a cotton not to reuse, and I already have a couple patterns in mind for it.  I also have some old sheets that I plan to cut into strips and crochet into a round rug for my bedroom floor.  My mom, having grown up in the Great Depression, and being Scots to boot, was doing recycling long before it had a name.  She would unravel things and reuse the yarn, and save the buttons off old shirts and dresses.  So I've been practising her lifestyle for 50 years!