Traditionally, handicrafts were born out of invention and necessity. People needed warm blankets for their bed so they learned to weave threads and eventually how to make quilts; they needed clothing so they learned to make fabrics and sew them together. Today’s handicrafts are similar for many of the people who believe that sustainability of our planet is a big issue for those living in our current times. The idea of recycling is often practiced in craft work through the reuse of yarns, fibers and fabrics.
While it is fun to browse around your local craft or yarn store looking at all the variations of yarn skeins you can buy, it is also important to take the time to look around you own house, and your ever growing yarn stash, and use up those left-over yarns from previous projects. Each of those skeins of yarn at your local store has had to be grown, processed, created, shipped, etc… and each task has taken its own small toll on the earth we all live on.
While buying yarn is a necessity for those of us who choose to knit or crochet, it is important also to use the yarns we already have, and those others have cast off at the local thrift and charity shops as well, when we can. It is just as important to also use knitting needles and other supplies to their fullest usefulness as well.
Wasting your scraps of yarn is simply throwing money out the proverbial window. A much better option is to find a project where you can best utilize your scraps and make them into something beautiful and useful. What this is depends on what scraps you happen to have lying around the house.
Start by sorting your yarns by color. This can help you to make new project such as scarves and blankets where you can mix and match colors in new and unique ways. Look at each color combination and think about the projects you could make with them.
Dealing with yarns of different weights can be an issue if you attempt to knit them using techniques like stripes. However, you can knit them in other patterns where they will flow nicely together and the variation in weight is an added bonus. One of the best stitches you can use for combining variations in weight is the granite stitch.
Take your scrap yarns and make some quick swatches. Combine colors and techniques to get ideas about what you could make with all of the scraps you have of one color or another.
Another fun way to deal with yarns of different weights, colors, and textures is to knit granny squares and then combine them all into a blanket or shawl. With this application your variations will enhance your project and not take away from it.
As you become more and more skilled at knitting and crochet you learn that free-form projects allow you to craft and create new and exciting items which are 100% unique and one-of-a-kind. Use a free-form technique and see what you come up with.
Whether your ultimate goal is frugal living or saving the planet, you can make great strides by shopping in your own yarn stash before you hit the craft store or yarn shop. Challenge yourself to use up your odds and ends and see what you can come up with!