Yarn scrap challenge #4

Introduction

As I've said before, I hate seeing leftover yarn just thrown away, so I've been trying to think of some more creative ways to use my leftovers. This week's list of ideas is slightly more crochet-related than some of my previous ideas. The ideas this week are mostly things to go into a dollhouse. Some use short scraps of yarn (like the kind left from weaving in ends) and others require a little more yarn. I have quite a few ideas but have tried to limit myself to 3 with this post, partly because the post was starting to get quite long as there are some basic patterns in it. 

Idea #1 Weaving a little rug for a dollhouse.

After making some rope from yarn scraps with a cardboard wheel (see this post on the topic), I wondered if you could actually weave something with leftover yarn tails (at least the ones from my friends as my ends are usually too short for that). My first attempt I used a couple of slightly longer scraps of yarn (1-2 m in length) to crochet some stitches (about 12 x 20 sc). I then attached several shorter scraps of yarn to the loops and then attempted to weave strands together in both directions. It kind of worked (see photo below) but I wasn't 100% happy with the result. I thought it might be nice as a woven doll shawl but decided to reuse the yarn to attempt my weaving again (and used the two longer strands for something else).

I then wondered if I could make my own mini-loom using some scrap cardboard. I made my loom using the top section of a half-dozen egg carton. I cut slits regularly on opposite sides of the length of the carton at the top and then some slits on one of the other sides thinking that I'd anchor the threads in both directions.

This, it turns out, wasn't the ideal way of doing things as it limited the number of strands in my weaving (see photo above). After I had tied the strands together in pairs on one side, I was able to add more strands to my loom and as I got close to the end I started using a yarn needle to weave the strands (see photo below).

The second attempt was a little better. I tied strands in pairs at one end before adding them to the loom (the black strands in the photo below).

I then also tied the other strands in pairs and wove one "over, under..." and the other "under, over..." so that they anchored each other together. The only problem with this approach was in having the first (black) strands tied together at the beginning since you couldn't push the horizontal strands together tightly enough while they were on the loom.

My final attempt at this was the best in terms of strategy. I added my first set of strands similarly to what is pictured for the black strands except that I didn't tie them in pairs to begin with, but left enough at both sides to tie them together tightly later on. I did tie the strands in pairs going in the other direction first and again wove them the same way as I did before (in the photo below you can see two strands tied together and woven the opposite way to each other).

I used the yarn needle to push all the strands together to give a tight weave (so much so that you can hardly see the base strands in the final product except at the ends where they're tied off) as you can see below.

 

When I had finished weaving the strands I tied the strands in pairs as close to the woven fabric as possible on the 3 sides that had not been previously anchored and then cut the threads to all be about the same size (2 cm approximately).

My kids were quite happy with the finished product and one wanted to use the first rug (not my best version) as a blanket for their little unicorn.

Idea #2 Making very basic mini dolls 

I made a basketweave old-fashioned doll pram and cradle for my kids for their dollhouse (patterns for the pram and cradle can be found here). However, they didn't have any dolls to go in it or any dolls for the dollhouse. I thought using up a few scraps of yarn would work for making some dolls for this. I decided that the dolls could be quite basic, I was thinking of making just a round shape for the head and a cylinder shape for the body. My inspiration for these dolls were things like the shape of the original Duplo figurines (a circle on a basic shape for a body), clothes peg dolls, game board pieces etc. I used the waistcoat stitch (WST aka the "knit" stitch or "centre post stitch") for the most part with the dolls so that I wouldn't have to worry about seeing a step up transition when changing yarn colour. However, this would easily work using single crochet everywhere that it says WST. All dolls were also stuffed with scraps of yarn leftover from weaving in ends in other projects. 

Please note that the patterns below have not been tested by anyone but me (since I made a few of them). If you spot any mistakes, feel free to let me know.

Basic pattern for baby doll

The baby doll was made using scraps of flesh coloured yarn and a small amount of pink or blue yarn. The size of the body was dictated by how much of the pink yarn was available (ie how many stitches I could squeeze out of it) plus fitting it into the doll pram. I have no idea of the brand or type of yarn that I used for the body of the first little baby doll (one of the pink ones). I think it was probably Sport weight (it was about 15 WPI on a pencil) and the length was approximately 4.6 m. I used 2.43 m of the flesh coloured yarn (DK weight, 4 Seasons Marvel 8 ply) for the head of the baby doll.

Notions

3.5 mm hook

Scraps of yarn in flesh colour and whatever colour(s) you wish to use for the body of the doll. I used 2.43 m of the flesh coloured yarn (DK weight, 4 Seasons Marvel 8 ply) for the head of the baby doll and approximately 4.6 m of sport weight yarn for the body.

Yarn needle and scissors

Fibrefill or other stuffing (I used scrap yarn tails)

Scrap of yarn as a running stitch marker (optional)

Abbreviations

US terminology used

Ch(s) - chain(s)

Sc - single crochet

Sl st(s) - slip stich(es)

WST - waistcoat stitch

WST2tog - waistcoat stitch two together

Important instructions

The pattern is worked in continuous rounds. Do not slip stitch at the end of a round unless instructed to in the pattern. You may wish to use a stitch marker or scrap of yarn as a running stitch marker to mark the end of your rounds.

Instructions

With flesh coloured yarn make a magic ring

Rnd 1        6 Sc into the magic ring (make sure these stitches are loose if you are doing WST for your next rnd). (6)

Rnd 2        WST in each st around. (6)

Rnd 3        *2 WST in the first st, WST in the next 2 sts* repeat once more. (8)

Rnd 4        WST in each st around. (8)

At this point, you might want to add some eyes (French knots) and a mouth (embroider stitches to form a 'V' shape) using some scrap yarn. I left my dolls with blank faces.

Rnd 5        *WST2tog, WST in the next 2 sts* 2 times, change to contrasting colour in the last pull through. (6)

Rnd 6        2 WST in each st around. (12)

Rnd 7        *2 WST in the first st, WST in the next 3 sts* 3 times. (15)

Rnds 8-9    WST in each st around. (15)

Rnd 10       *WST2tog, WST in the next 3 sts* 3 times. (12)

Rnd 11       *WST2tog, WST in the next 2 sts* 3 times (9)

Stuff, fasten off leaving a long tail to sew the bottom together.

Basic pattern for adult doll

For the adult dolls, again, I let the amount of leftover yarn determine the height of the first doll. I had intended the dolls to be rather stout so that they would stand up easily. However, I also wanted them to be tall enough to look like they could push the little pram with their non-existent hands. 

The first doll was made with some leftover fuschia coloured yarn, DK weight (about 14 WPI). There was about 7 m of fuschia coloured yarn and I used this scrap to dictate the approximate size that all the little dolls would turn out. I also used some flesh coloured yarn (3.12 m) to make the head.

I made a second doll using yellow yarn for the body which was a little taller (I added extra rounds since I had more yarn available).

I also realised that these dolls could make good finger puppets if you don't do the last 2 rounds to close them off (and of course if you don't add stuffing).  One of my children also requested one in school uniform colours for a "grandma and grandpa" party his class was having (his teacher does it once a year when all the kids have had their birthdays) and I made that one a finger puppet complete with grey hair.

The last doll was made with lots of little scraps of yarn all less than two metres in length (the last colour I had several scraps of the same colour). I didn't try to keep the stripes the same all the way around as I was keen to use as much of each scrap as possible. I probably mixed some DK and Sport weight yarn for these little dolls but I don't think it mattered at all in how they turned out.

Notions

3.5 mm crochet hook

DK yarn in flesh colour and your choice of any other colour or colours (I used about 7 m of yarn for the body and 3.1 m for the head)

Yarn needle and scissors

Fibrefill or other stuffing (I used leftover yarn tails)

Stitch marker or scrap of yarn as a running stitch marker (Optional)

Abbreviations

US terminology used

Ch(s) - chain(s)

Sc - single crochet

Sc2tog - single crochet two together

Sl st(s) - slip stich(es)

WST - waistcoat stitch

WST2tog - waistcoat stitch two together

Important instructions

This pattern is worked in continuous rounds. Do not slip stitch at the end of each round. You may wish to use a stitch marker or a scrap of yarn as a running stitch marker. 

If you wish to make a finger puppet instead of doll then finish off after round 15 instead of round 17 and do not stuff the doll.

Feel free to make the doll taller or shorter or use as many different colours in the body section. The doll pictured below this pattern is the stripey one made used with lots of scraps of yarn.

Instructions

With flesh coloured yarn make a magic ring.

Rnd 1        6 Sc into the magic ring (make sure these stitches are loose if you are doing WST for your next round). (6)

Rnd 2        *2 WST in the first st, WST in the next 2 sts* 2 times. (8)

Rnd 3        WST in each st around. (8)

Rnd 4        *2 WST in the first st, WST in the next 3 sts* 2 times. (10)

Rnd 5        WST in each st around. (10)

At this point, you might want to add some eyes (French knots) and a mouth (embroider stitches to form a 'V' shape) using some scrap yarn. I left my dolls with blank faces.

Rnd 6        *WST2tog, WST in the next 3 sts* 2 times, change to contrasting colour in the last pull through. (8)

Rnd 7        *2 WST in the first st, WST in the next st* all round. (12)

Rnds 8-15  WST in each st around. (12)

Rnd 16       Working in BLO, sc in each st around. (12)

Stuff

Rnd 17       Sc2tog 6 times. (6)

Fasten off leaving a long tail to sew the bottom together.

 

Idea #3 Hair for small amigurumi projects

This is related to my second use for leftovers. While I often use my leftover scraps of yarn as stuffing, there are some colours that aren't great for that, mostly the black yarn. I don't tend to make many amigurumi projects with large parts of black in them (car wheels being the exception, but not a big user of scraps). As much as I hate the idea of using scraps to add hair to a doll, when you have lots of little scraps of black yarn to use up and a small doll head to add it to, this actually makes some sense. With the little adult sized dolls I made for the dolls house, I used lots of scraps of black (about 30 scraps) and grey/brown (about 40 scraps) to add hair to my first two dolls. As you can see in the photos below, the scraps are all different lengths and that is, of course, exaggerated a bit with where the scraps have been placed on the doll heads. I suspect I will trim the doll hair a bit at some point. 

The photo below shows the 'grandpa' finger puppet that I made using the same pattern but leaving off the last 2 rounds (and of course leaving out the stuffing). It was made using school uniform colours and shorter scraps of grey. I don't recommend using very short scraps like these as they were tricky to add. It would have been easier if I'd used longer scraps and then cut them to length. My child managed to lose it at school, however, I still have plenty of scraps to make another one at some point (maybe this time with longer scraps of grey).

My children requested a doll with blue hair so the stripey doll ended up with blue hair. All the strands were about 12 cm in length (though the odd one was shorter or longer). The process for adding the hair is shown in the photos below: 

1: Insert your hook where you want your yarn scrap to go, fold the yarn in half and put it on the end of the hook.

2: Pull through the loop of yarn.

3: Yarn over with both tails of your yarn scrap (making sure you have more space on your hook than you normally would need for making a stitch).

4: Pull through both loops and then pull tight.

Repeat this process for all the scraps of yarn you want to add to your doll. As you can see, a few strands are a little too long compared to the other strands of hair so this one may require a haircut at some stage. 

In the meantime, I had fun plaiting the hair in a French braid and tying the end of the plait with another scrap of yarn:

 I also made a couple of dolls for one of my nieces for her birthday and decided to split the ply in each scrap of yarn used for the hair after I'd added the strands. It gave a bit of volume to the hair but I'm not sure if I liked it as much as the originals. I also cut a fringe (bangs) for the first of them but I'm not sure that I'd recommend it on a doll as small as this. The photo below shows one of the dolls (the one with a fringe, though you can't see it in this photo) alongside the doll pram, cradle (obscured by adult doll) and one of the baby dolls that I made to go with it.

Of course, doll hair is not the only place you can add your scraps in this way. I have some other patterns that I'll be sharing at some stage where you can add yarn tails in this way but they haven't been written up yet.