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Make a "Scrapghan" — Crochet a Colorful Afghan From Yarn Scraps

A Colorful Afghan Made Entirely From Left-Over Yarn

What A practical way to use up yarn scraps.
What A practical way to use up yarn scraps. | Source

How Yarn Scraps Can be Turned into an Colorful Afghan

As 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.

Many great items can be made using leftover yarn. This article looks at one way of using up your stash. If you are interested in an easy project, read on for tips on how to make a cozy blanket.

Janie's Scrapghan Idea

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Waste Not, Want Not

Another crocheter, Janie Laswell, came up with a great idea for using up yarn scraps. She posted pics of her scrapghan and I was so impressed with her work, I decided, why not?

Blankets are always a practical item around the home and are often used for many years, so converting "throw-away yarn" into something so practical is an idea that's time has come. In recent years, as prices have climbed, more people are getting back into crafting as a means of saving money.

Before You Begin

• After the usual foundation chain, this afghan is worked in one stitch (how easy is that?).

• Blend any colors of your choosing from your yarn leftovers.The result is a rockin' fabulously-colored afghan.

What You'll Need

  • A size 5 hook
  • Medium weight yarn

Recommendation for Starting Chain

By working 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 to your desired width.

If desired, 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, then ended the first row with 4 hdcs in the green. Visually, this looks better.

How to Crochet This Afghan

First Row

Make a foundation chain, using one yarn color. Determine the desired width of your crocheted afghan and make your foundation chain to that length.

If you are planning on edging your afghan when done, that will also add to the width and length. (Edging can also be used to widen an afghan if the completed work is shorter than anticipated.

Second Row in Half Double Crochet

The second row is worked by working hdc in the chain stitches, 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 and for each row thereafter.

Continue reading to learn how to alternate your colors and carry your secondary color along row.

How to Work Half Double Crochet

Foundation Chain and First Color Block Worked in HDC

First Half Double Crochet
First Half Double Crochet | Source

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 blocks look solid.
  • As you work the next four stitches, you carry the first color along and work it into the work by working your hdc around the secondary yarn strand, so that it is carried inside the stitches. This way, when you need to work the next set of four stitches with the other color, your yarn strand is at the ready.

Adding Your Second Color, Pulling Through Loops

Adding Next Color in Half Double Crochet
Adding Next Color in Half Double Crochet | Source

Tip

Make sure that as you alternate colors and carry your yarn, you pull on the carrying strand, so that it doesn't loop or bunch up along the back of the work, which would detract from the look of the afghan. Periodically check to make sure that you don't have surplus "looping."

Working first HDC in Next Color

Adding Second Color
Adding Second Color | Source

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. This eliminates excessive knots. Yarn is carried along the back of the work (inside the stitches) across each row.

Troubleshooting

• If you run out of the color you are using, simply find another in 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.

PULLING UP NEXT COLOR--pull next color (blue) through the remaining three stitches of your fourth HDC

Adding Second Color to Row
Adding Second Color to Row | Source

CARRYING COLOR--gently pull on yarn strand (rust) and YO (blue) color

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Insert hook through first HDC, go under carried color (rust) and YO blue

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Pull yarn under carried color and pull back through first HDC

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Blue Yarn has Been Pulled Through First HDC (teal)

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YO (over top of rust strand)

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Pull through loops on hook, completing first HDC of alternating blue color

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How Would You Rate This Crochet Project After Seeing the Photos on How to Alternate Colors?

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Now Rust

Okay, you've successfully alternated colors. Go through this process again, with the rust-colored yarn. As you will see, you use the identical method.

SWITCHING COLORS--When you've worked four HDC, pull alternating color through last three stitches on hook, then work as you did previously

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Have You Ever Made an Afghan From Yarn Scraps?

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Reminder

Make sure that, as you work across the row with the two colors, you pull the yarn that is being carried. This prevents the carried yarn from bunching or looping at the back of the work and helps to hide it as it is incorporated into the work.

As You Work Your Rows, a Neat Checkerboard Pattern Emerges

Alternating colors creates a neat effect.
Alternating colors creates a neat effect. | Source

Subsequent Rows

Finish each row, working 4 hdc into the end color block. Pull up new color to start next row, ch 1 and continue working 4 hdc and alternating your two colors across each row. Continue adding rows until your afghan is desired length.

More Colors Added

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Favorite Ways to Scare Up Yarn?

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Ideas For Finding Surplus Yarn

If you already have 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.

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 at the end of each row. Alternatively, the ends can be woven in later, through the hdc stitches.

A Word About Fringe

If your scrapghan is smaller, as in say, a throw, a fringe may do nicely. You just tie your yarn ends and cut to a uniform length and you are done.

Tied Yarn Ends

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A Word About Edging

You may choose to go around the outside edge of your afghan with an edging. This adds a nice definition and helps to tidy edges. This may prove a little trickier and the hard part will be deciding on what color to use. I used Red Heart Mexicana, which matched my colors nicely.

A Crocheted Edge Finishes This Afghan

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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.

My Finished Scrapghan

Finished Scrapghan
Finished Scrapghan | Source

What Appeals to You the Most About This Crochet Project?

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Adding Coziness to a Spare Bedroom

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After Reading This Hub, Would You Make an Afghan Out of Yarn Scraps?

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All Done

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial on making a scrapghan. Please leave your comments or questions below. Thank you.

© 2014 Athlyn Green

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23 comments

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 4 hours ago from West Kootenays Author

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 10 hours ago

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 profile image

Athlyn Green 3 months ago from West Kootenays Author

Thanks to all of you for such great feedback. It's wonderful to read your comments and see your enthusiasm.


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 22 months ago from West Kootenays Author

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.


LisaAuch1 profile image

LisaAuch1 2 years ago from Scotland

absolutely LOVE this!


CherylsArt profile image

CherylsArt 2 years ago from West Virginia

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 profile image

Athlyn Green 2 years ago from West Kootenays Author

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 profile image

CherylsArt 2 years ago from West Virginia

No grandkids yet.


CherylsArt profile image

CherylsArt 2 years ago from West Virginia

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 2 years ago

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 profile image

Amy Kemp 2 years ago from Vermont

I love this. Great idea, photos, and detailed directions. A great way to save money and craft too!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Truly unique! I like your creativity and the detailed instructions you provide. Voted up and more, plus pinning.


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 2 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Thanks everyone. I'm really enjoying this project.


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 2 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Suzanne, yes it is very easy. I will be posting more pics. as it progresses.


Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

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!


kiddiecreations profile image

kiddiecreations 2 years ago

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! :)


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

lol Very creative name! This is very interesting. I bet this blanket is super soft!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 2 years ago from USA

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 profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

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.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

This is really beautiful. Love all the vibrant colors. I just need to learn how to crochet! Shared around.


purl3agony profile image

purl3agony 2 years ago from USA

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!!


Wonder wool profile image

Wonder wool 2 years ago from United States

I have made a similar kind of scrapghan!!

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