How to make a scrapghan

April 28, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Posted in blogging, pattern | Leave a comment
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Someone commented on one of my older blog posts and asked me for a pattern for the creation of scrapghans. I can’t really write down the pattern I use, because there isn’t one. But I can write out a sort of recipe so you can see my process. So here goes…


Ingredients— Lots and lots and lots of yarn scraps. If you’ve ever knit or crocheted a blanket, you know it takes a lot of yarn. Since a scrap blanket is made from small lengths of yarn, be prepared to collect a lot of them.

My single criteria for a piece of yarn is that it is long enough to tie a knot on either end of it to connect it to the rest of the yarn. You might choose to be a little more selective than this if you don’t like tying lots of knots. The larger the piece of yarn, the longer stripe it will make. A “scrap” could be anything from a few inches to half a skein or even more.

Potential sources for scrap yarns include: leftover pieces from your other projects, ribbons and strips of fabric, friends and family members (I have trained mine to save their leftover bits for me), thrift stores (people often donate their leftover yarn), etsy (sellers will sometimes put up a “destash” listing of unwanted yarns), unraveled sweaters (gather the small connecting pieces for your scrap ball while you are deconstructing the body of the sweater for other uses), etc.

Note on fiber contents: I will combine any type of fiber into my scrapghans because I love to have as much assortment as possible. However, different fibers do have different washing instructions. If you want a machine-washable blanket and don’t want parts of it to get felted, then you might choose to avoid wool and other animal fibers.

Optional ingredient: A large amount of one or two other yarns. In some of my blankets, I have worked with one strand of a single color held together with one or two strands of scrap yarn. This will give your blanket a more unified look. For instance, this one has the same gray cotton throughout the blanket, worked together with a restricted palette of scrap yarns. You can see it looks very different from the scrapghan at the beginning of this post, which is only scrap yarns.

oct 2011 078

Step One: Organizing your yarn

Once you have collected your scrap yarns, you need to decide whether you want to arrange the colors at all, or whether you prefer complete randomness. Obviously there are lots of different options for designing your blanket, so think about how you would like it to look as a finished product.

If you want wide stripes, you would group like-colored yarns together. Here is an example where I did that. For this blanket I made a separate bag of scraps for each color, then blended them together as I went along.


To have a more random assortment of colors, my usual procedure is to start knitting or crocheting the blanket when I only have a little bit of yarn, and then I just attach new scraps as I acquire them until the blanket is as big as I want it.

You could also collect all your yarns first, then draw randomly from the bag each time you need a new color, or you could wind them all into large balls of scraps. The large balls are fun because you forget what’s inside so you don’t know what’s going to come next as you’re knitting along, but they can also be a little unwieldy.

You can also restrict your color assortment, as in the gray blanket above. It will take longer to collect the yarn if you are drawing from fewer colors, of course. But you might choose to do this to make a blanket that matches a room’s color scheme, or as a gift for someone in their favorite color, etc.

Step Two–Creation

A scrap blanket can be made with any standard blanket pattern, but simpler is better. A complex pattern won’t show up well against the backdrop of color changes, and more complicated stitches might be hard to do with the thicker lengths of yarn. I usually do either garter stitch or single crochet. I have also done a few giant granny squares, one wide-ribbed knit, and my current project is the zigzag blanket in the picture at the top. When choosing between knit or crochet, keep in mind that knitted fabric uses less yarn and is stretchier and thinner, while crocheted fabric works up faster, uses more yarn, and is thicker and sturdier. Both make excellent finished products.

I always work with at least two strands held together because this helps to unify the varying weights of the yarns. You will need a large sized crochet hook (I am using a K on my current blanket, and I could easily go up a size or two), or for knitting you will need a large circular needle with enough length to hold lots of stitches.

Since you are going to have a lot of knots, I find it easiest to just leave the ends sticking out, and I like the way it looks as well. If you don’t like the knot ends, you may choose to join your yarn differently, or to fold them in as you go along.

I would recommend starting with a throw-sized blanket for your first scrapghan so you can get a sense of what you like before moving on to a bigger project, and so you can be finished faster! Really, the most difficult thing about making these is the time commitment, because it does take a while to collect and organize all those little pieces of yarn. It actually amazes me to think of how many scrap blankets I have made since I started them!

Finishing touches

Since a scrap blanket is, by nature, a jumble of many different yarns and colors, you might like to add a crochet border in a contrasting color around the edge to pull everything together. I think this looks nice and makes the blanket feel more finished, and it also helps to give a little more structure to knitted blankets. Here is one of my crocheted blankets with an added border of blue and black:

yarn 171

And I think that’s everything! These blankets are a lot of fun to make, and I love to think of other people putting their own spin on the idea. I’ve loved every picture I have seen of other crafters’ creations of scrap yarn blankets. In fact, I think it was a picture on another blog that inspired me to make my very first one, several years ago. So, I hope this write-up is helpful to anyone who was thinking of trying one, and I am happy to answer any questions in case I missed anything here.


Quick update

August 24, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Posted in blogging | Leave a comment

Hi folks!  August has been a really busy month for me and I haven’t had time to write any blog posts, but I’ve got some good stuff to write about that I hope to have up here very soon.  This month has included two different trips, one to NYC to visit my best friend, and one to the NY side of Lake Champlain to spend some time with my family.  These trips included some wonderful crafting moments, including my first trip to the WEBS yarn superstore.  That was the first trip, and during the second one I got to watch my aunt working on one of her awesome beaded pendants.  Among other things.  Pictures soon!

a sense of humor pairs well with creativity

June 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Posted in blogging, other people's awesome crafts | Leave a comment
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I highly recommend this blog.  It is very funny.  But don’t click if you’re offended by profanity.

I will be adding this to my blogroll over there on the sidebar —–>

I may even try some of the ridiculous yet entertaining craft projects!  I actually really like these paper-covered balls, although they are pointless:

To quote the blog: “Great, now what the fuck do I do with them?” And then she lists them on etsy, which is the perfect response to that question, because selling pointless items is exactly what etsy is for!

I do, for real, like these balls.  Maybe I could buy them to throw at someone in the office if they were being too loud while I was on the phone?

I’ve been interviewed!

November 10, 2011 at 12:36 am | Posted in blogging | 1 Comment
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On a beading blog.  I thought it was really cool that they asked me to be featured, since beading isn’t my primary form of crafting.  But I do use beads in a lot of my creations, and I do enjoy making fiber jewelry, so I was able to find plenty to say in response to the interview questions.

Check it out!

The one thing I forgot to mention in the interview is that beads also make excellent beady little eyes.

Check it out: purple

June 4, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Posted in blogging, other people's awesome crafts | Leave a comment
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paintbrushes and stencils

September 7, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Posted in blogging, gifts, projects, selling | Leave a comment
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I just fabric-painted a whole bunch more shirts.  Six, I think.  They’re out on the porch draped over the drying rack and the bicycles right now.  Once they’re dry I will iron them, then wash them, then mail them to people.  And maybe list a few on etsy, if I can’t find an appropriate gift recipient.  Or if I don’t decide to keep the extras for myself.  But most of this batch was made with specific people in mind, so they pretty much all have homes waiting for them.

Anyway, I realized that I still don’t have pictures of most of the shirts I’ve painted, and I really should post some on this here blog since the “screen printing alternative” post a while back is one of my most viewed pages.

For now, here’s a link to the one shirt I listed on etsy from the first batch of shirt-painting.  I really like how that one turned out, even though I’ve since decided that light-colored shirts work better because the colors show up more vibrantly.  It was a little too small for me, though, so hopefully it will find another home.

And tomorrow I promise that I will try to get pictures of some of the new shirts.

calling out

July 8, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Posted in blogging | Leave a comment
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If my sister Treeb is reading this, I would like her to know that I think she should post in her craft blog some more.  Cuz I want to read it.  🙂

Love, me.

Also, gratuitous etsy link to awesome object: wiener-unicorn!

an honor

March 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Posted in blogging | 1 Comment
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The snake I pictured in my creature post a few days ago has been featured on a blog all about recycled wool!

Check it out!

indecision and a new look

March 1, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Posted in blogging, selling | Leave a comment

1.  I made a little crochet pouch the other day and I think it turned out kinda ugly, so now I’m not sure what to do with it.  S says she likes it, but is she just being polite?  Mostly when I don’t know what to do with something I’ve made, I put it up for sale on etsy, but since I don’t like this particular creation, I sort of feel like it would be a detraction from my “image.”  Is that just really silly of me?  Maybe I could put it up at a discounted price.  I just can’t decide!

2.  I decided to change the look of this blog!  It’s very greeeeeeen now!  In honor of impending springtime, of course.

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