Yarn scrap challenge #3

Introduction

This is my 3rd post on ways to use up those pesky scraps of yarn rather than throwing them away. As with previous times where I've challenged myself to use up my scraps of yarn, there are ideas to use for longer and shorter scraps. I've limited myself to posting about just 3 ideas this time.

1 Christmas tree decorations for an amigurumi tree

With one of the bags of scrap yarn I was given, there was a little bag containing several little beads. I decided that they might be of use at some point but they were all a little different and I wasn't sure what to do with them. I have experimented in the past with adding beads to my crochet projects so I decided to use the beads with some of my longer scraps of yarn (1-2 m lengths) to make some strings of ornaments to decorate the mini pine tree that I made (you can find my pattern here).

There are two ways that you can add beads to your crochet. The first is to thread all of your beads onto your yarn before you start to crochet. The other is to add them when you get to the point you want them.

If the hole in the bead is wide enough for a yarn needle and yarn to go through then I would definitely think about adding the beads to your yarn before you crochet as it is a bit easier to have them all there first (at least in my opinion). The only downside to this method is that if you want to crochet them in a specific order then you need to work this out in advance plus you have to keep pushing the beads down your yarn until you're ready to use them. The photo below shows some beads that have been added to yarn with a yarn needle. The beads say they are "kids' craft beads" so I suspect that's why the holes are large enough for the yarn needle and dk yarn to go through the centre of them easily.

If the hole in the beads is too narrow for your yarn needle to go through (as the beads I was given are) then you need to use a small steel crochet hook to pull the beads onto the yarn. I was lucky enough to be given a couple of my grandmother's steel hooks. For these decorations I used a 0.75 mm hook. I'm not sure how everyone else threads beads on but the way I do it with a crochet hook is to put the bead onto the hook first (1), yarn over with my yarn (2) then pull the bead back over the hook onto the yarn (3-4).

 

It can be a little tricky to do this without destroying part of your yarn (at least it was for me with the 0.75 mm hook when I was trying to get beads onto DK weight yarn) so I like to try to add all my beads on first so that if I've made a mess of my yarn with the hook then I can just trim off the end.  

I made 3 little strings with beads on them for my tree. The first was using a long length of fine purple yarn (~19 WPI), the second ~1.6 m of thicker blue yarn (approximately DK weight, 14 WPI) and the last 2 shorter lengths (0.67 m each) thin yellow yarn (19 WPI). I used a Russian join on the yellow yarn to make it into a single, longer strand figuring that it was fine enough for the beads to go over the join.

For each strand of Christmas decorations I began with a ch 3, *added a bead in the next ch, ch 4* and repeated until the strand was either nearly full (a similar amount of yarn to the starting tail remained) or I had made it long enough to cut the yarn and tie it off. 

2 Small beaded flower

 

I had a few beads left over from making the Christmas tree decorations so I was going to make a beaded little snowflake to go on top of the tree. I messed up a little in my design and came up with a little flower design instead. I kind of like it, though it might look a little better if I used the same type of bead all round rather than lots of different ones. However, I kind of like how it has turned out. I think it might look kind of cool worked in a row as a little crown (obviously with a bit more structure at the bottom and I'm working on a pattern that will be added to the blog at a later date).

I used a fine yarn (19 WPI) and threaded 10 beads onto the yarn before I began using my 0.75 mm steel hook. I'm not sure how much yarn I used for this pattern. If I repeat it at some stage then I will measure how much yarn was required. The pattern below is just an untested written down version of what I did. I'm not sure how easy it will be for someone else to follow. If I get a chance at some later date I will write it out properly (including yarn quantities) with better photographs and instructions so that it is clearer how it is made.

Notions

Fine yarn (19 WPI)

10 small beads, threaded onto the yarn before beginning (using a steel hook)

2.25 mm crochet hook

Instructions

With your yarn ch 6 and sl st to the first st to form a ring.

Rnd 1     Into the ch 6 space: (sc, dc, ch 2, picot adding a bead into the picot, ch 2, dc, sc) 5 times. Join to the first st with a sl st.

Rnd 2     Ch 3 (counts as first dc), slip in a bead, dc in the next sc, ch 5, sl st to the picot, ch 5. *dc in first sc, add bead, dc in next sc, ch 5, sl st to picot, ch 5* 5 times. Fasten off and weave in ends.

3 French knitting

OK, so you probably need a little more yarn for this than some of the other scrap yarn projects. I remember doing French knitting as a kid and now one of my own kids has shown an interest in trying it out. He's actually not too bad and when he's in the mood for it, he's creative with what he uses the things he's made for. I thought it would be fun to try out a few different knitting techniques. I found a video where someone had used a much bigger loom to make a brioche hat in 2 colours and wondered about testing out the technique on a smaller scale (ie with just 8 prongs on the French knitting loom). I had some variegated yarn that someone had given me (I don't know how much sadly, as I forgot to measure it) that I think is about DK weight so I used that to try out some different stitches. The easiest one is knitting all the stitches to give a stockinette stitch look (and this is usually what you see when people make things on a French knitter, it is equivalent to knitting the first row and purling the second though I'm guessing if you're working in the round then you just keep knitting each round).

The next technique that I tried out was a brioche stitch where, in the first round, you *knit one, slip stitch one* all round. Then, in round 2, you "slip stitch one, purl one* all round and then you keep alternating those rounds until you have the length you want. This took much more work to figure out (I had only learned the knit stitch on the French knitter as a child), though half the battle for me was figuring out how to do the purl stitches (I tried the brioche stitch before learning to purl - definitely not the way to do things) and once I could purl, it was relatively easy to figure out how to do the slip stitches and pick them up in the next round.

The last technique that I tried was doing all purl stitches. As I said, this was much trickier work out how to do thank a straight knit stitch. However, the resulting product looked like it had been done in garter stitch (where you knit each row or purl each row). 

The resulting 3 little swatches that I made looked really cool and I just happened (by accident) to make them about the right length for 3 of my fingers (well, actually 2 fingers and a thumb to be more precise) so I wondered if I might have the makings of a glove pattern where you'd make the finger parts with the French knitter and then crochet or knit the rest. To date, though I haven't tried this out, I'm more enjoying my little swatches for the sense of achievement that they've given me in having figured out how to do the stitches. Unfortunately, I can't find the purl swatch at the moment to photograph it but you can see my knit and brioche crochet swatches in the photo below (knit on the left, brioche on the right).