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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.

16 Perfect Picot Crochet Patterns
3 colorful crocheted scarves + text that says "Stitch & Hustle: Perfect Picot Blog Hop. 16 free crochet patterns, sponsored by WeCrochet."

We’re so excited because we’ve partnered with Stitch & Hustle for the 2020 Perfect Picot Blog Hop. We were able to send some of our favorite yarns to some amazing crochet designers to see what they would design. We were not disappointed! So many pretty designs (don’t worry, we’ll show them all shortly).

But First, the Giveaway

3 blue crocheted items (a scarf, a shrug, and a cowl) + text that says "Stitch & Hustle: Perfect Picot Blog Hop. 16 free crochet patterns, sponsored by WeCrochet."

You can win all you need to make some of these designs! Head over to Stitch & Hustle’s Giveaway to enter.

The giveaway runs through Stitch & Hustle’s Rafflecopter and ends on October 9, 2020.

 The prizes are grouped in sets of 3 so each winner will win “All The Yarn To Make” the 3 things in that group and there will be FIVE winners total!!!  FIVE WINNERS!!!

Now, the 16 Perfect Picot Designs!

6 crocheted items (a yellow shawl, a light blue cowl, a dark blue cowl, a red and yellow striped scarf, a teal and gray capelet, and a red and yellow scarf wrapped around a mannequin) + text that says "Stitch & Hustle: Perfect Picot Blog Hop. 16 free crochet patterns, sponsored by WeCrochet."

Picot Crochet Shawl by Briana K Designs

Picot Crochet Shawl pattern by Briana K Designs. A model wears a large plum-colored crocheted shawl around her neck. It has fuzzy tassels at its points.

Isn’t this shawl gorgeous? It’s a FREE picot crochet shawl pattern made with Hawthorne Fingering Yarn paired with Aloft Hand Painted (our mohair-silk blend). Check out those adorable fuzzy tassels!

Picot Crochet Shawl pattern by Briana K Designs. A model holds the plum-colored crocheted shawl out behind her to show its wingspan.

Citrus Wrap by 2 Bossay Knits

Citrus Wrap by 2 Bossay Knits. A model wears a bright yellow crocheted wrap around her shoulders. It has an avocado green picot edging.

Next up, a beautiful crochet wrap design by Michelle Tharpes of 2 Bossay Knits featuring Chroma Twist + Brava Worsted. Check out that picot crochet edging, and oh yes, there are some beautiful tassels too!

KoKo Cocoon Cardigan by Crystalized Designs

KoKo Cocoon Cardigan by Crystalized Designs. A model wears a gradient blue crocheted shrug.

How about more Chroma Twist to crochet up a pretty crochet cocoon, by Crystalized Designs. If you’ve never made a cocoon, you really should — it’s so much fun to crochet a rectangle and then transform it into a wearable shrug!

Diagonal Sunset Wrap by Joy of Motion Crochet

Diagonal Sunset Wrap by Joy of Motion Crochet. Around her neck, a model wears this sunset-colored crocheted scarf edged with black.

Chroma Twist is one of our favorite yarns, so we’re happy to see another lovely design featuring this yarn! This one is the Diagonal Sunset Wrap by Janne Kleivset of Joy of Motion Crochet. This design really shows off off those long gradient color changes so well! (And look: this design was inspired by Janne’s dahlias in her summer garden!)

Picot Edge Scarf by 5 Little Monsters

Picot Edged Scarf by 5 Little Monsters. A crocheted blue-green gradient scarf spread out on the ground, with a ball of Chroma Twist in the background.

Looking for another great design for Chroma Twist? Look no further than this eye-catching Picot Edge Scarf by Erica Dietz of 5 Little Monsters. We love the use of picot crochet for a nice lacy edging.

Hayloft Capelet by Detroit Knots

Hayloft Capelet by Detroit Knots. Natalie models the capelet on her shoulders. It is gray and teal striped with a cowl neck.

Next we have a design for you Tunisian crochet lovers! The Hayloft Capelet is by Natalie Thomas of Detroit Knots, and she was really innovative in the way she used her yarn. This capelet is made in Hawthorne fingering and Aloft mohair. The Aloft is held double with itself, and alternates 2 rows with the Hawthorne, which creates these intriguing stripes.

Boxed In by ACCROchet

Boxed In crochet shrug pattern by ACCROchet. A top-down view of the Boxed In shrug - it has a sunset colored gradient thanks to Chroma Twist yarn, and is surrounded by sparkly fall leaves.

And now, another pretty Chroma Twist pattern! This is Boxed In, a lovely boatneck pullover pattern by ACCROchet, which really highlights the lovely fade of this yarn.

Contessa Cropped Pullover by Sincerely Pam

Contessa Cropped Pullover by Sincerely Pam. A model wears a plum-colored cropped pullover topped with openwork crochet mesh. She's holding a bright yellow tote bag and wearing sunglasses.

The Contessa Cropped Pullover by Pamela Stark of Sincerely Pam showcases pretty Hawthorne Fingering yarn in an easy-to-wear cropped pullover style. (We love how it’s styled with our WeCrochet Tote Bag in Saffron!)

Simple Crochet Baby Bonnet by love.life.yarn

Simple Crochet Baby Bonnet pattern by love.life.yarn. An adult hand touches a newborn baby who is wearing a lavender crocheted baby bonnet.

(How cute is this model?!!) Next, check out this Simple Crochet Baby Bonnet, designed by Amanda Saladin of love.life.yarn. This is crocheted in Lindy Chain, our fingering weight chainette Linen/Pima Cotton blend. This is the perfect quick-crochet project for any new babies in your life.

September Mandala by Oombawka Design Crochet

September Mandala by Oombawka Design Crochet. The corner of a round crocheted mandala made in layers of tan, navy, yellow, and spring green.

If you’ve been wanting to make a crochet mandala, the September Mandala crochet pattern by Rhondda Mol of Oombawka Design Crochet is for you! She designed it in Mighty Stitch worsted, and suggests two different colorways for you to choose from (although of course, picking your own color palette is always fun too!)

September Mandala by Oombawka Design Crochet. Folded in half, a crocheted mandala made in layers of tan, navy, yellow, and spring green. Next to it, another half mandala in cream, purple, magenta, and lavender.

Picot Me Up Ear Warmer and Cowl Set by The Loopy Lamb

Picot Me Up Ear Warmer and Cowl Set by The Loopy Lamb. Ashley models a light aqua-colored crocheted headband and cowl with lots of good texture.

The Loopy Lamb designed the Picot Me Up Ear Warmer and Cowl Set, made in Swish Worsted in Wonderland Heather. This set is a great weekend crochet project and something to add to your holiday “to make” gift list.

Sleepy Sunrise Amigurumi by Underground Crafter

Sleepy Sunrise Amigurumi by Underground Crafter. A half-sun with a face stuffed crochet toy.

If you’re looking for a cute crochet toy to make, look no further than the Sleepy Sunrise Amigurumi by Marie Segares of Underground Crafter. It’s made in Mighty Stitch worsted and is as cute as can be.

Tropical Sunset Fingerless Mitts by The Stitchin’ Mommy

Tropical Sunset Fingerless Mitts by The Stitchin' Mommy. Two hands reach out to show off these sunset-colored crochet fingerless mitts.

Back to Chroma Twist Worsted and a set of pretty Tropical Sunset Fingerless Mitts by Amy Ramnarine of The Stitchin’ Mommy. These will make great holiday gifts, or a gift for yourself as the days start to get colder.

Josephine Cloche by M2H Designs

Josephine Cloche by M2H Designs. This crochet hat pattern features a blue hat with a band of blue with purple and pink colorwork and a flower accent.

Practice your crochet colorwork in a pretty cloche hat that will dress up your fall wardrobe. The Josephine Cloche crochet pattern is by Andee Graves of M2H Designs and is made in Swish worsted.

Picot Trip Cowl by Moogly

Picot Trip Cowl pattern by Moogly. A blue crocheted cowl on a dress form.

If you’re looking for a snuggly cowl to make, check out the Picot Trip Cowl by Moogly. It’s crocheted in Chroma Twist Bulky so it will work up super quickly, and it is accented by lots of nice texture thanks to the picot stitches throughout.

Atlantic Waves Shawl by Stitch & Hustle

Atlantic Waves Shawl by Stitch & Hustle. A sunset-colored crocheted shawl draped on a dress form.

Finally, let’s wrap it all up with a wrap made in Chroma Worsted. The Atlantic Waves Shawl by Michele Costa of Stitch & Hustle is the perfect picot crochet accessory to keep you warm AND brighten up any outfit.

We don’t know about you but we are sure inspired to start some new crochet WIPs! What did you see that you want to make?

Visit all these crochet designers (click on each picture in the list above to find your way to the pattern for that design), let them know how much you like these designs, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a ton of WeCrochet yarn!