Okay, with the New Year soon upon us, I decided to tackle that important issue we all face; what to do when you’re <GASP!!> out of yarn. I know, I know, it’s not something we like to talk about but there it is, out in the open. There are those days when your fingers are itching to crochet (or knit which I don’t do out of concern for the safety of others) and you are completely out of yarn. Happily, there are solutions. I haven’t tried all of these but give them a go.

  • Recycled old sweaters. Okay, not only sweaters. Remember that horrid sweater you got from that aunt who’s always tipsy at Christmas? Well, break it down and you have yarn. I’ve seen an afghan made of ugly sweaters and it was amazing. You can even recycle old scarves, hats and mitts. For information on how to recycle sweaters, check out this site; http://dawnprickett.blogspot.ca/2008/01/recycling-sweaters-for-yarn.html
  • Licorice Laces. This one I saw some time ago and now cannot find it again. Someone had taken licorice laces; those long, thin strings of licorice; and crochet it into a fun little hat. Of course, you can’t wear it but it’s still fun. Just wash the hooks before you do this.
  • Twine. I’ve just recently started using twine and it’s great. Go to your local version of the dollar store and pick some up cheap. It’s great for coasters to go out on the summer patio. Also works well as a heat pad for hot pots to sit on. I have also tried to make bowls out of it. Twine works well for this as it’s nice and stiff and holds the shape well. The only problem with twine is it’s stiff. It can be hard to work so if you have any problems with your hands, I don’t recommend it.
  • Recycled silk scarves. We all have them. That silk scarf we love but simply don’t wear. Or, go to the thrift store and you’ll see them by the binfuls (yes, that’s a word now). Be careful that you’re getting silk and not polyester or nylon, although those fabrics can be put to other uses as well. If you’re going for silk, keep it pure.
  • Recycled clothing. Kids are growing up and growing out of their clothes. Don’t throw them away!! Hubby still has that shirt that reads “Beer Meister” on it that no longer fits. All that can be put to great use. Turn it into yarn. It’s a simple process and the items you make from these clothes have a texture you can’t get from store bought yarn. Here’s a YouTube video to explain how to make shirts and things into yarn (works for the silk scarves as well):
  • Rope. Rope is easy and cheap. You can make wonderful baskets and bags from rope. The only problem is with thicker ropes you’re going to have to finger crochet instead of using a hook. Yet it can be done and looks great. Here’s one example of a rug you can make with rope; http://whollykao.com/2012/06/22/diy-rope-rug/http://whollykao.com/2012/06/22/diy-rope-rug/
  • Pet hair. Yes, now you can take those endless clumps of pet hair and turn it into yarn. There are places like Countryside Reflections who will spin the hair for you or you can do it yourself. Of course, doing it yourself takes more work but for some it’s a new skill. I’ve felt pet yarn and it’s soft and silky, just like the pet. No, it doesn’t have the pet smell (especially if you wash it) and sweaters made with it are wonderful connections to your furbaby.

So, the lesson here is that if you’re out of yarn, don’t panic. There are lots of alternatives. In short, if it’s long and stringy, it can be used in crochet (or knitting, I suppose). Take a look around your house. We crochet addicts can upcycle or recycle anything. All it takes is a little ingenuity, a little imagination and a desire to try. Have fun and crochet well. Happy New Year.