Athlyn Green is an avid crocheter and knitter. She designs and sells handcrafted goods.
How to Make an Odds and Ends Crochet Afghan: Turn Yarn Scraps Into a Colorful Scrapghan
As yarn prices climb, crafters, who in times past may have discarded their yarn leftovers, are reevaluating every piece of yarn. You may have a stash of odds and ends. What to do with it?
I was in that boat. I had a whole container of strands and small balls, which I didn't care to discard, but . . . how to make use of it? It had been years since I'd made an afghan. My mindset was such that I wanted something that wasn't overly demanding stitch-wise and that I could pick up and work on in spare moments—in other words, a simple project that would be a relaxing way to pass the cold winter evenings and one that would net me another warm blanket for my home.
An afghan is always a practical item around the home and is often used for many years, so converting "throw-away yarn" into something so practical was an idea that appealed to me.
If you are interested in an easy project, read on for tips on how to make a colorful and cozy blanket from yarn scraps.
- Size 5 crochet hook
- Regular weight yarn
Before You Begin
- After the usual foundation chain, this afghan is worked in one stitch, hdc. (How easy is that?)
- You alternate two colors along each row.
- For each successive row, you choose two different colors from your yarn scraps.
- Blend any colors of your choosing from your yarn leftovers as you work on this afghan. The result is a rock-in, fabulously colored afghan.
Recommendation for Starting Chain
- Make a foundation row of chain stitches to the width desired for your afghan.
- Work some extra chain stitches. (If you reach the end of your second row and decide your afghan isn't wide enough, it is an easy matter to work additional stitches into the remaining chain stitches to obtain your desired width.
How to Crochet This Afghan
Here's a step-by-step tutorial to crocheting this afghan.
Make a foundation chain using one yarn color.
Second Row in Half Double Crochet
On your second row, start and end with the same color block. For this afghan, I started my second row continuing with the green from the foundation chain, then switched to a salmon color, alternating those two colors all along the row. I ended that row with stitches in the green.
The second row is worked by working 4 hdc in 4 chain stitches (1 hdc to 1 chain stitch), alternating colors in 4 hdc blocks (see the video below to refresh your memory on how to do hdc, if needed). Work 4 hdc, add second color and work 4 hdc. This continues for the entire row.
Continue choosing two new colors and alternating them for each row thereafter.
Continue in this fashion until your afghan is the desired length.
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Adding the Next Color
- You will notice that you don't finish your fourth hdc. Instead, you pull your next color through the last three loops. This ensures that your color block looks solid.
- As you work the next four stitches in the second color, you carry the first color along and incorporate it into the work by working your hdc around the yarn strand so that it is carried inside the stitches. This way, when you need to work the next set of four stitches with this first color, your yarn strand is at the ready.
How to Work Half Double Crochet
No Knots Along Row
You will be alternating your two colors, every four stitches, so rather than tying them off, you simply work them right into the work.
In this next section, we will look at images as a visual guide for working a row of hdc in the hdc row underneath.
- If you run out of the color you are using, simply find another yarn strand a similar color and keep on going. Because this afghan uses so many different colors, you likely will run out, and if you have to change colors mid-row, this is not a problem.
- For better results, space out your colors. It helps to do a visual before choosing the next two colors for each row.
- Normally, when working hdc, at the end of each row, one would ch 2 but because of the color changes, this is not necessary.
Okay, you've worked a block of 4 hdc into the row of hdc underneath. Go through this process again with your next color. As you will see, you use the identical method.
Working the End of Each Row
End each row by working 4 hdc into the end color block. Pull up new color to start next row, ch 1 and continue working 4 hdc, alternating your two colors across each row.
Yarn Ends at Edges of Work
As you come to the end of each row, you will need to cut your two yarn ends and tie them. The ends can be woven in later, through the hdc stitches.
Tips for Scalloped Edging
Your scrapghan will have four edges, two that are uniform and easy to work your edging into and two that are a bit trickier.
- You will have to decide on which edging you choose to use. As can be seen from the photos, I opted for a scalloped edge.
- If you go for scalloped edging, you will have to decide on how big to make your scallops and use either taller or shorter stitches.
- If you are concerned about being precise, you can count stitches along two of the edges and adjust your edging accordingly, so that all matches up at the corners.
Ideas for Finding Surplus Yarn
If you have lots of yarn scraps on hand, you are partway there. But what to do, if you need more yarn to complete your scrapghan?
- Ask friends to donate. Many times, people are happy to get rid of leftover yarn, especially when they have no idea what to do with it.
- Some communities have local radio stations that offer community bargain and buy & sell info.
- Free ads can be an effective way to scare up yarn.
- Check to see if your community is represented in a Facebook group. Bargain/trade/free groups are springing up there and these can be a great resource.
- Check out yarn exchanges.
- Trade with someone for their left-over yarn.
© 2014 Athlyn Green
Claudia on November 15, 2018:
Make hats, mittens out of old sweaters.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on January 25, 2017:
This is such a lovely project, and your instructions and photos are so clear that it gives one courage to do it. Your scrapghan is very beautiful.
Athlyn Green (author) from West Kootenays on December 09, 2016:
Hi Diane, you asked: Question, 1. do you change the yarn at the end of one row, or 2. Are you tucking in the ends or tying the changing color together.
I changed the yarn when I started each row because I wanted staggered colors. When you add a new color to start a row, you can either tie it to create a fringe or weave it in, depending on your preference.
Diana on December 09, 2016:
Good idea. Question, do you change the yarn at the end of one row, or 2. Are you tucking in the ends or tying the changing color together.
Athlyn Green (author) from West Kootenays on September 05, 2016:
Thanks to all of you for such great feedback. It's wonderful to read your comments and see your enthusiasm.
Athlyn Green (author) from West Kootenays on January 19, 2015:
This is an idea that's time has come. With yarn prices climbing, more than ever many crafters are thinking of ways to use up yarn scraps.
Lisa Auch from Scotland on October 07, 2014:
absolutely LOVE this!
CherylsArt on August 30, 2014:
Athlyn, my mother used to crochet a lot too. She made lots of afghans. My first creative job when I was a kid was crocheted potholders from rug yarn. I sold door to door in the neighborhood.
Athlyn Green (author) from West Kootenays on August 30, 2014:
Cheryl, I meant to write, what a nice project to do with your daughter. It is amazing what good memories are created when these type of crafts are passed from one generation to the next. I have such good memories of my grandmother and mother sitting and working on projects and this is what got me interested in what has become a life-long hobby.
CherylsArt on August 30, 2014:
No grandkids yet.
CherylsArt on August 29, 2014:
What I liked the most is all the colors! I made one big large granny rectangle before to use up various yarn. My daughter was little and it was for her. I let her pick the next color as I made. She loved helping that way and loved the finished afghan too.
dragonflycolor on April 03, 2014:
I love crocheting but I hate how long it takes. You really have to be committed and I am so amazed when people create these functional works of art. My favorite type of crocheting is yarn bombing. These people are dedicated like you.
Amy Kemp from Vermont on March 19, 2014:
I love this. Great idea, photos, and detailed directions. A great way to save money and craft too!
FlourishAnyway from USA on March 19, 2014:
Truly unique! I like your creativity and the detailed instructions you provide. Voted up and more, plus pinning.
Athlyn Green (author) from West Kootenays on March 19, 2014:
Thanks everyone. I'm really enjoying this project.
Athlyn Green (author) from West Kootenays on March 19, 2014:
Hi Suzanne, yes it is very easy. I will be posting more pics. as it progresses.
Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on March 19, 2014:
Never seen this before but it looks really easy and fun to do with all the colourful yarn I buy at op shops! Voted interesting.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 18, 2014:
This is a very good and creative idea to make something beautiful with yarn scraps. The pictures are really helpful. Thanks for the tutorial!
Voted up and shared!
Nicole K on March 18, 2014:
Oh Wow, this is such a good idea! I have so much yarn, it's ridiculous! I am seriously going to try this. Thanks for the tips! The videos are going to help a lot as well. Awesome hub! :)
Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on March 17, 2014:
lol Very creative name! This is very interesting. I bet this blanket is super soft!
Shasta Matova from USA on March 16, 2014:
This is really cute. Keeping the pattern consistent keeps it from looking too busy or disorganized. I have a lot of leftover yarn, but don't really know how to crochet. Thanks for the great instructions.
CraftytotheCore on March 16, 2014:
That's really pretty. I have never been able to knit or crochet. My mother-in-law and aunt are pros at it. Putting together scraps certainly made a beautiful and unique afghan.
Claudia Mitchell on March 16, 2014:
This is really beautiful. Love all the vibrant colors. I just need to learn how to crochet! Shared around.
Donna Herron from USA on March 14, 2014:
Such a great idea! I love projects that use my scrap yarn. Your photo instructions are great too. Thanks for sharing. Voted up, beautiful, and pinned!!
Priyanka Estambale from United States on March 14, 2014:
I have made a similar kind of scrapghan!!