This has been the most enjoyable crochet project I completed in some time! My scrap yarn crochet blanket has been perfect, stress free relaxation at every stage, and an end product that gives the family pleasure every day.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like a crochet challenge – crafting a new design so it’s exactly right, or finally completing an intricate pattern you’ve been working on for some time are both very satisfying, and it’s my bread and butter. But during my annual break I wanted to get back to something much more basic, and enjoy the simple pleasure of crocheting without the brain work.
I also decided it was time to use up more of my yarn stash. I’ve been working on this throughout 2020 with both my Little Conkers yarn and my personal yarn. I’ve created mini yarn skein sets featuring some lovely eco-friendly yarns, and I’ve been finding some great crochet projects that require less than 10 metres of yarn.
For this project I wanted to use up some of my DK wool and wool-blend yarns, of which I had some longer lengths: up to half a ball of some colours. Most of these date back to my first ever crochet project when I was at school, when I made a granny square blanket featuring some rather peculiar colours which are inevitably the colours that are left (I’m looking at you, ugly acid green). I’ve been too hesitant about using them up, I think, always thinking I should keep them for something “better”, because these days I rarely buy yarn for personal projects except when absolutely essential, but I finally persuaded myself that the lap blanket I had in mind was the best thing I could do with this yarn – we are all always cold in the living room!
To join the yarns, I simply knotted the ends together, leaving generous equal tails of about 25cm. The length of tail you leave will depend on the weight of your yarn – this suits DK yarn held double. This means that this project and method is not suitable for the very shortest scraps of yarn – you really need a minimum of a couple of metres of any given colour.
I know all about clever, invisible join methods. Elsewhere I am making carefully-curated magic balls using a mixture of Russian joins and braided joins for particular effects, but this takes a very, very long time and is not something I enjoy. (Using magic knots would be quicker, but I don’t trust them and never use them.)
My plan here was to achieve a usable, robust blanket, and I was determined to enjoy every step of the process, including making the yarn ball and not having to sew in ends. I was comfortable knowing the tails would show in the loose stitching of the blanket. I think it’s rather lovely in this family project that the process shows – like visible mending on woollen clothes.
I cut the larger balls of yarn I had into three or four roughly equal pieces (I didn’t measure anything in this process) in order to not have very large blocks of colour, and to balance the overall look of the blanket. This is probably what I struggled with the most, cutting up quite large amounts of yarn, but it was the right thing to do – the end result looks almost planned!
Making this magic yarn ball took me less than an hour! I then chose a neutral yarn to work with it.
I liked the idea of blending my scraps with a neutral colour, to tone down the contrasting colours and harmonise things a bit. I saw Kate Polizzi’s Speckled Scrap Blanket, and knew this was exactly what I wanted to achieve, as by using the scrap yarn and the neutral held together, you can use a very large hook to create a thick but light blanket that works up very quickly. White wasn’t really what I wanted though, and I thought grey would be my best bet, but then I saw this variegated grey yarn and realised it would work brilliantly.
Using too small a hook was one of the things I regretted in my granny stripe blanket – I wanted this blanket to be loose and lofty.
The neutral yarn I chose is a DK yarn, the same as my scrap yarn. I weighed my magic ball, and it was about 240g, so I bought 300g of this yarn (a secondhand bargain on an auction site). I wanted something that would be very stable to support any weaknesses in the scrap yarns, and as it’s a baby yarn it’s also very soft and easily washable.
The beauty of using a variegated yarn is that it breaks up the solid colour blocks and makes the colour changes in the scrap yarn less abrupt – I particularly like how it works to subdue the horrible yellow here.
For this blanket, I simply worked rows of htrs [US: hdc] of the width I wanted the final blanket to be, and worked until it was the length I wanted it to be based on the Golden Ratio, which wonderfully turned out to be just 30cm less than the length of my Magic Ball of yarn!
Scrap Yarn Crochet Blanket Pattern (such as it is!)
Main Body of Blanket
Holding two strands of DK yarn together I made 58ch with a 12mm hook.
Continuing with a 10mm hook, I worked 1htr [US: hdc] in the third ch from the hook and every ch to the end = 56sts
I then worked rows of 56htr [US: hdc] back and forth until the length of the blanket was around 1.618 times as long as the width.
Whenever I came to a join in the scrap yarn, I just laid the two tails along the top of the yarn from right to left in the direction of crochet, and crocheted over them both. The very ends of the yarn will inevitably peek out, but that’s to be expected (there’s no point trimming them, as new ends will just appear when you wash the blanket).
I used two strands of the neutral yarn held together to finish the blanket with a border. I tried a few different stitches, but they all looked too dense or fussy against the simple body of the blanket, so I went with two rounds of htr [US:hdc] on top of a foundation round of dc [US: sc] stitches.
The finished blanket is very soft, light and mobile. It was keeping me warm even whilst I was making it and it has been in constant use ever since – you can’t ask for better than that of anything you make!