Tag Archives: crochet tips

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips

Who wants to talk about Thrifty Crochet Tips? In this post, I’m going to reveal all my tips and tricks for saving money on crochet accessories. From stitch markers to stuffing, we’re covering it all!

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: a pile of yarn scraps, various safety pins, thumbtacks, and button badges, as well as a homemade cardboard pom-pom maker.

Some things in life feel difficult to start because of the financial barrier of entry. How am I going to learn to sail or snowboard if I don’t own a boat or a snowboard or any of the supplies and tools? Thankfully yarn crafts like crochet have a low barrier of entry and I’m hoping to smash additional barriers here.

What do I need to get started with crochet?

To crochet you simply need a hook and some yarn.

Having time, curiosity, drive and desire also helps but those things are almost always free. If you’re like me, once you start a fiber craft you might notice that there’s a lot more stuff involved (like tools and accessories) that people use and talk about all the time that you didn’t really know about before starting. That can feel intimidating. 

The following is a list of thrifty crochet tips that can help elevate your crochet projects without you having to buy a lot of accessories so you can have money to buy the hooks and yarn you really want. 

1. Thrifty Crochet Project Bags 

I never considered keeping my works-in-progress projects in a bag until this past year. For a long time, I just wrapped the project a few times in the yarn I was using and threw it into whatever purse, backpack or bike bag I was using at the time. When I was introduced to the idea of a project bag, it felt like someone turned on an extra light in the room. Oh right, yeah, that’s nice. 

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: a blue background with a canvas crochet bag filled with blue yarn and a zip pouch with crochet hooks.
Weekend Plans Tote Bag by WeCrochet

Thrifty Crochet Project Bag Ideas:

  • Bedsheet Bags: Sometimes when you buy sheets for your bed, they come in a fabric bag that is perfectly sized and just begging you to put your project in. Thankfully I have been saving these random bags for awhile so I had a few on hand ready to go as I accumulated a ton of Works-In-Progress (WIPs).
  • Clear Plastic Bags: I also like the clear plastic bags that sometimes have a snap or zipper that sheets or home goods come in. Also, don’t forget old reliable zip-top bags! (Quart or gallon size works well for a variety of WIPs).
  • Old Gift Bags: If you’re the type to save old gift bags for reuse, they make dandy project bags.

Crochet Your Own Project Bag:

You can also crochet your own project bag. Crochet is a craft that is wonderful for making bags. This seems obvious but I think it’s worth mentioning. It’s actually a super fun reminder of your creative prowess. It’s also an opportunity to practice new stitches, techniques or even yarn. Also, it’s a great way to put your thrifty crochet into practice!

Sew a Project Bag:

You could also sew a quick project bag yourself. There are actually a lot of great tutorials and Youtube videos on how to make a bag out of an old t-shirt without sewing. Or if you’re someone who has a sewing machine and some extra fabric lying around, consider this option and just make your own project bag.

2. Thrifty Stitch Markers 

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: Magic Crystals Stitch Markers from WeCrochet.
Magic Crystals Stitch Markers by WeCrochet

Stitch markers are so handy for both beginning crocheters and experienced crocheters. I don’t love counting during crochet and when I realized that about myself I leaned into using stitch markers to help. While the ones available to buy are nice, I don’t often have them when I need them.

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: Items to use for stitch markers

Thrifty Crochet Stitch Marker Ideas:

I have used

  • paper clips
  • safety pins
  • Bobby pins and
  • even scrap yarn as stitch markers. 
  • Concert and political buttons could work in a pinch.

3. A Thrifty Cutting Tool

It can feel frustrating when you need to change yarns or finish a project and you need to cut the yarn but you don’t have a cutting tool. I often try to break the yarn with my brute strength but sometimes the yarn is stronger than I am. While a pair of scissors won’t break the bank, if you’re like me, sometimes you just don’t have a pair of scissors in your hour of need.

(Image description for above photo: one of TLYarnCrafts’ instagram posts, a flatlay showing a bit of a crocheted project, along with a hook and some pretty scissors.)

Thrifty Crochet Tip: How to Cut Yarn Without Scissors?

I usually keep a pair of nail clippers in with my hooks so that when I need to cut some yarn, they’re there. Usually you can get several nail clippers in bulk and then you can put one in each project bag so that they are there when you need them.

4. Making pom-poms and tassels, the thrifty way

Honeycomb Backpack, a crochet pattern by WeCrochet

Adding pom-poms and tassels to a project can really make it seem extra special. It’s also a fun activity to do with kids and can help to stash-bust, or use up leftover yarn. I add removable pom-poms to a lot of hats but I don’t make a lot of tassels. As my project queue grows and I start adding more shawls and blankets, I’m sure I’ll start needing more tassels.

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: a cardboard circle being used as a pom-pom maker.

I didn’t know what pom-pom makers and tassel makers were until I was much older in life. When I was a kid I simply made pom-poms from cut cardboard. Having some card board around can really help with a lot of crafting projects (and gardening projects.) For making pom-poms from cardboard I simply cut two doughnut shapes, a circle with a hole in the middle. I would cut a slit to create that inner hole like in the picture above.

You can make tassels by wrapping yarn around a cardboard rectangle. Remove the yarn and tie a knot around the middle of the bundle to create the tie. Then tie off the head of the tassel. You can find lots of good tutorials for making tassels with a quick internet search.

5. Thrifty Project stuffing

When I started crocheting stuffies (or Amigurumi) I learned that most people fill theirs with polyester fiberfill, aka stuffing. I didn’t have any fancy fiberfill on hand but I realized what I did have was a large amount of scrap yarn and some old cotton balls.

Use Scrap Yarn to Stuff Crochet Projects

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: a pile of yarn scraps. A photo from Laura Taylor on Flickr.
Scrap Yarn by Laura Taylor on Flickr

I’m someone who is very aware of the waste I create in the world and where it goes, so I have always kept that scrap yarn in some small containers at the bottom of my craft closet. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I knew it would be useful to me someday. One of those days came when I needed stuffing for a narwhal I made for my kiddo, so I used up my scrap yarn pile.

When I say scrap yarn, I’m talking about the 3- to 24-inch pieces of yarn cut off from projects that I’ve saved. Different fibers, different weights, densities, plys. Basically the yarn that was too short for a stash-busting project.

A crocheted unicorn with a rainbow mane and hooves

Depending on its use, you can stuff crochet projects with other things too. For instance, excess plastic shopping bags make a great stuffing for some things (like a stadium seat, or some ottomans). Heather has used the stuffing from old pillows for some of her amigurumis.

Bonus tip: A lot of amigurumis and stuffies looks best sitting up and beads are one way to do that. I like the cheap plastic pony beads best. Put the beads in a closed plastic baggie and stuff it into the correct area of the stuffie to make it sit upright. Fill the rest with other stuffing.

Historically people have used beans or rice for this, but using organic items limits the option for washing your stuffies, as dried food items will be ruined if they get wet (and will ruin your finished object).

6. Securing projects

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: The Hook Nook Skein Savers, which are ball-ended elastics wrapped around yarn skeins.
The Hook Nook Skein Savers are inspired by 1970s ponytail holders

I definitely abuse my WIPS, throwing them in this bag or that. I am somewhat of a compulsive tidier that doesn’t want a lot of clutter and my yarn projects often are victims to this. I do not recommend this. Things come unraveled and I often lose my place if following a pattern.

I find it can be helpful to use hair clips or small binder clips to help secure my yarn, hook and project together. I’ve even used hair ties to keep everything together in my project bag.

7. Blocking mats

Blocking Mat Alternatives - from the WeCrochet blog

I’m a newer convert to the school of blocking. I now look forward to that final step and sculpting and finishing a project through blocking.

You might also enjoy: How to Block Your Crochet Projects

That said, I didn’t use to be a blocker and one of the reasons is because I didn’t have all the tools to do so. I didn’t have blocking mats and I didn’t have T-Pins. BUT I did have my kid’s play mats and I did have button badges.

Cardboard boxes also work as blocking mats. Cardboard is especially nice for larger projects like shawls. Break down a cardboard box and lay it flat to create a great surface for blocking your crocheted items. You can use standard sewing pins to pin the blocked item to the cardboard.

Which brings us to…

8. Buttons and pins

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: T-pins, which are T-shaped metal pins used for blocking projects.

T-pins are very nice and useful tools that keep your blocked items safely attached to your blocking board, but so is the collection of concert and political buttons I used to use to adorn my favorite denim jacket. I ended up using these badges to pin my items to my kiddo’s play mat, and it worked (see photo in section 7 to observe these buttons in action!) This was a hack I discovered out of the utility of needing to block a protect and not having all the right tools. It worked.

And, as mentioned in item #7 before, standard sewing pins will work in a pinch if you need to block something. The reason T-Pins have become the standard is because of their strength, and the T-shape on the top keeps items with larger holes (like crochet) stuck, but you can still use other kinds of pins too.

9. Plarn!

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: a knitted swatch alongside a ball of plarn (plastic yarn made of recycled plastic bags).
Knitting with Plarn, by Emma Nagle on Flickr

Plarn is plastic yarn made out of recycled plastic bags (or other plastic items, like party tablecloths).

I mentioned earlier that I spend a lot of time thinking about waste and where it goes. This obsession occupies a lot of my daily life including collecting plastic bags so I can make plarn. Plarn is cutting up plastic bags and winding it up to create a ball-of-yarn-type material.

According to Vickie Howell, one plastic shopping bag can be recycled into approximately 9 yards of plarn. <–Follow that link to find out how to make plarn from shopping bags!

Plarn is best used for items that need to be heavy duty, and don’t need to be soft and cozy. Try plarn for making outdoor sleeping mats, outdoor rugs, or reusable shopping bags.

10. Upgraded Yarn: Add Fancy Yarn to Basic Yarn

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: The Skyward Kerchief, a crochet pattern by Toni Lipsey.
The Skyward Kerchief crochet pattern by Toni Lipsey, uses two yarns held together to give the project a luxe texture

I currently love holding a “pricier” yarn with a “cheaper” yarn to help make it seem more special. I made a series of Brava Beanies holding Aloft which is lace weight mohair with Brava worsted acrylic yarn. I’m currently using Aloft to assist in many of my gifts to add a special halo effect.

This tip has been around probably long before I was on this earth. Crafters are pretty crafty. I’m including this tip because it has really elevated some of my gift knits and crochet projects.

Hopefully this roundup of Thrifty Crochet Tips has helped open your eyes to the fact that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have all the tools you need for crocheting.

If you want more, Heather and I talked about Thrifty Crochet Tips in a podcast episode we did earlier this year called Hooks Down, Level Up .

Do you have any great thrifty tips?

10 Thrifty Crochet Tips from the WeCrochet Blog at crochet.com. This photo shows: text that says "10 Thrifty Crochet Tips to save you money" and shows an image of assorted safety pins, clips, and tacks used for blocking crochet projects.

What to crochet with faux fur yarn?

We’ve noticed a distinct trend this fall: crochet with faux fur yarn! Maybe we’re just noticing it because we love our fantastic faux fur yarn: Fable Fur, but we think faux fur crochet is here to stay! Faux fur yarn is a natural choice for fall and winter crochet because it’s so touchable and warm.

Many of our crochet friends are working with faux fur yarn, so we’ve collected all those projects for you to check out below. But first…

About Fable Fur:

fable fur from WeCrochet -- crochet with faux fur yarn
Fable Fur stats and care instructions

A luxuriously soft faux-fur effect yarn, Fable Fur is perfect for bringing a touch of elegance and snuggly softness to your latest projects. Add a stylish trim to your next accessory, or work up a gorgeous wrap or afghan exclusively in this premium, 100% polyester yarn. What makes it premium? This grade of polyester holds it’s shape well and doesn’t shrink. Projects will work up fast at this super bulky weight, so you’ll have a menagerie of cozy accessories and home décor projects in no time!

Faux Fur Crochet Projects

A model wears a hooded fur vest

We’ve been so excited and pleased by all the wonderful designs we’ve seen in Fable Fur! Check out some of our favorites:

Mika Vest by Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts

A model is shown wearing a hooded fur vest

The Mika Vest is a festive hooded faux fur crochet vest pattern, the perfect piece to bring opulence and fun to your winter outfits. Designed by Toni Lipsey, this garment features special touches like generous pockets, cozy hood, and shaping on the armhole opening to give a comfortable fit.

Inspired by her experience working with Fable Fur, Toni also has an article with 6 Pro Tips for Crocheting with Faux Fur Yarn. Check it out to learn how to have a simple and seamless experience crocheting faux fur yarn.

Fable Fur Koala Keychain by The Loopy Lamb

Ashley of The Loopy Lamb has designed several adorable crochet patterns that use Fable Fur, including this sweet Koala Keychain, and a Koala Bear Stuffed Animal. She also has Tips for Crocheting Faux Fur.

Fur-Ever Infinity Scarf by Ashlea Konecny of Heart Hook Home

Ashlea models her faux fur crochet infinity scarf

Ashlea Konecny is one of our favorite crocheters, and she used Fable Fur to crochet the Fur-Ever Fur Infinity Scarf. You just need three skeins of Fable Fur (Ashlea used the Kuma colorway) to make the scarf. Then you will have enough left over to make ear warmers or several pom-poms.

Related: Ashlea also has 6 Tips for Working With Faux Fur Yarn

Crocheted Brimstone Faux Fur Cowl by amylmason on Ravelry

A dress form displays a tan faux fur cowl.

Ravelry user amylmason made the Crocheted Brimstone Faux Fur Cowl, inspired by the knitted cowl by Claudia Maheux. Find out how to make the crocheted version of the cowl on her Ravelry project page.

Faux Fur Ear Warmers by Nicole Riley of Nicki’s Homemade Crafts

You only need half a skein to crochet Nicki Riley’s Faux Fur Ear Warmers — a great quick holiday gift. Make them for everyone on your list!

Crocheting Faux Fur Tips from Nicki:

Nicki has designed a couple of different crochet patterns featuring Fable Fur, and she has a couple of tips:

  • Feel for the special band that holds the faux fur together, making it easy to find crochet stitches.
  • Try using a wooden crochet hook if you find a metal or plastic hook is too slippery.

Crochet Faux Fur Pom-Pom Pattern

A woman holds a faux fur pom pom in her hand

We crocheters love our fur pom-poms, and Nicki has also written a pattern for a crochet faux fur pom-pom. You can make several pom-poms from a single skein of Fable Fur, and they’re the perfect topper for your favorite crocheted hats.

4 Ways to Make Pom-Poms by Bethany Dearden of Whistle and Ivy

Plaid tartan hat -- a crocheted plaid beanie hat in shades of red with a big fur pom-pom

It’s no secret that we are huge fans of Bethany Dearden of Whistle and Ivy.

Check out our article featuring Whistle & Ivy:
7 Plaid Projects to Crochet.

Here’s another reason to love her: she shared 4 ways to make pom-poms, including instructions for how to crochet pom-poms using our Fable Fur.

“Faux Sho” Fur Boot Cuffs

If you have a partial skein of Fable Fur, you have enough yarn to make Heart Hook Home’s “Faux Sho” Fur Boot Cuffs.

Where did these cuffs get their cute name? Ashlea writes: The “Faux Sho” Fur Boot Cuffs are the latest in my pun-filled adventures. I hope you love them and that the name gives you a giggle each time you put them on. “Am I wearing my Faux Fur boot cuffs today? FO SHO I am!”

Bonus Project: Fable Fur Hood

I worked up a quick and simple faux fur hood using Fable Fur, with the free pattern available over at my blog.

What do you think? Are you ready to crochet Fable Fur? Show us your projects and let us know if you have tried it in the comments!

What to crochet with fingering weight yarn?
A colorful crocheted blanket is draped on a green chair
Wildflowers Baby Blanket by Michele DuNaier, made in Stroll Tonal Mini Packs (Wildflowers)

There are many different weights of yarn, ranging from very fine weight (crochet thread or lace weight), on up to super bulky. In honor of this month’s yarn of the month, Stroll, which is a versatile fingering weight yarn, we are featuring some great patterns you can crochet in fingering weight yarn.

Sometimes crocheted garments get a bad rap, especially when they are made in certain weights of yarn. We’ve heard people say crocheted sweaters look chunky or unattractive, depending on the yarn, the stitch, the design, etc. However, just because crochet has a reputation for resulting in less-than-desirable garments, doesn’t mean that it’s true!

The yarn you choose does make a difference when it comes to crocheted garments — yarn can affect the drape (or stiffness), the weight (as in the literal heaviness of the garment), and the final look of the garment.

To combat a lot of the stereotypical problems with crocheting garments, look for patterns that are designed for lighter weight yarns! Fingering weight yarn is a great place to start to help you create lighter, more drape-y sweaters. Which brings us to:

Monthly Yarn Sale: Stroll 20% Off

An image that says "Monthly Yarn Sale - 20% off - Stroll Yarns" and shows examples of different Stroll yarns.

This month, all Stroll yarns are 20% off.

Stroll is made of 75% fine superwash Merino wool and 25% nylon for strength and durability. Warm, cushy, and versatile, this yarn is wonderful to have in your stash when crochet inspiration strikes. In addition, Stroll is ideal for gifts since the recipient does not need to worry about special care instructions.  There are over 100 colors of Stroll, in seven distinct lines:

Stroll, Stroll Glimmer, Stroll Gradient
Stroll Hand Painted, Stroll Tonal, Stroll Tweed

Crochet Sweaters – Trending on Ravelry

In our first crochet pattern collections, we made sure to include several excellent crochet sweater patterns. This choice turned out to be the right one, as all our sweater patterns trended on Ravelry for days after we released them. [end horn tooting!]

Look ma, our crocheted sweaters were in the top 5 popular patterns on Ravelry!

And guess what — some of these sweater patterns are good choices for crocheting with fingering weight yarn, like Stroll! And don’t forget, you can crochet just about anything in fingering weight yarn.

Crochet Patterns to Make in Fingering Weight Yarn:

A woman wears an oversized pink crocheted sweater
Effortless Oversized Top crochet pattern by Tiam Safari

Effortless Oversized Top

First we have the Effortless Oversized Top, a modern crochet sweater design by Tiam Safari. With a super-relaxed, oversized fit, this slouchy top is perfect for throwing on for any casual occasion – pair it with jeans and sneakers for a weekend chic look, or snuggle in leggings and cozy socks for a night on the sofa.

The simple shaping and construction of this design allow for an easy project for a beginner crochet garment maker.

Light Touch Pullover

An image of a female model wearing a dark red version of the Light Touch Pullover, a free crochet pattern from crochet.com
Light Touch Pullover crochet sweater pattern by Natasha Robarge

Next we have the Light Touch Pullover, a design by Natasha Robarge. This lightweight pullover exudes softness and feminine charm, featuring a subtle lace pattern composed of petal clusters. Open neck, gentle pattern curves, relaxed fit, and cashmere content of the yarn, all create a luxurious garment.

Fingering weight yarn is great for all types of crochet projects, though, not just sweaters!

Snow Mountain Hat

A model's head is turned to the side to display a crocheted hat in neutral colors with a white pom-pom. The pattern is Snow Mountain Hat, a free crochet pattern by crochet.com
Snow Mountain Hat crochet pattern by Michele DuNaier

The Snow Mountain Hat by Michele DuNaier is our next fingering weight yarn crochet pattern suggestion. Whether you’re spending a day on the ski slopes or need a cheerful accessory to wear on your daily commute, coordinated colors combined with a variety of stitches and texture make this hat a perfect choice.

Wildflowers Baby Blanket

A colorful crocheted blanket is draped on a green chair
Wildflowers Baby Blanket by Michele DuNaier

The Wildflowers Baby Blanket by Michele DuNaier is made with the beautiful colors and exquisite softness of Stroll Tonal yarn. Colorful flower motifs with a cheerful dance of golden shells along the edging make this a one-of-a-kind blanket for a special someone.

Louisa Crochet Shawl

A model wears a triangular red crochet shawl around her neck.
Louisa Crochet Shawl by Sara Hartmann

Looking for a pretty shawl to make? The Louisa Crochet Shawl by Sara Hartmann is a pretty option! You’ll enjoy crocheting this rhythmic pattern with its interesting shaping details that blend double crochet with fancy corner shells, ending with a gorgeous border of fancy picots and shells.

Neasa Shawl

A model wears the Neasa Shawl, a turquoise crochet stole that is wrapped around her shoulders.
Neassa Shawl, a crochet pattern designed by Brenda Bourg

The Neassa Shawl by Brenda Bourg is another great-looking crochet shawl pattern designed for fingering weight yarn. Easily worked from side to side with the trim added after the main body is finished, Neassa is the perfect addition to any wardrobe!

Edith Wrap

The Edith Wrap is a crochet shawl with an openwork square grid. This photo shows a dark yellow version of the shawl draped on the shoulders of a model.
Edith Wrap crochet pattern by Elly Doyle

The Edith Wrap by Elly Doyle hugs the shoulders for cozy, stylish comfort. Work in a bright color and pair with a Little Black Dress for a pop of eye-catching elegance.

Forest of Dean Shawl

A model wears a triangular green crochet shawl draped around her neck.
Forest of Dean Shawl crochet pattern by Michele DuNaier

The Forest of Dean Shawl by Michele DuNaier is inspired by the ancient woodland of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. Rows of DC stitches represent a deep forest of trees, lacy shells and V stitches evoke leafy treetops and shrubberies, and the chain space line suggests a river running through the forest.

These are just a fraction of the great crochet patterns for fingering weight yarn we have available. Check out crochet.com for dozens more, like our plaid Ancel Wrap!