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Turn Those Single Balls into a Spectacular Afghan

January 15th, 2013

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I’m one of those people who has a tendency of buying yarn without really knowing what to do with it. I buy one or two balls here, a skein there…

Soon, I find myself with a lot of single balls of yarn with no particular project in mind.

Of course, much of that yarn is well-used in one-skein projects. In fact, if you listen to our most recent episode of YarnCraft (the Lion Brand podcast that I co-host), you’ll get lots of ideas for great ways to use up single balls of yarn.

But if you’re looking to make a bigger project with all those disparate single balls, a crochet “mega granny square” afghan like our Afghan Squared pattern is an awesome way to go. Here, I’ve taken single balls of Vanna’s Choice®, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Extra Soft Wool Blend, Wool-Ease®, and Superwash Merino Cashmere and turned them into a beautiful gift for my cousin’s wedding.

Afghan Squared

Because they’re all machine-washable, worsted weight yarns, the blanket will be easy-care and non-yarncrafters won’t notice the difference in textures much.

How I designed my color scheme: While it may be feel daunting to make a variety of random colors harmonious, I found that it was best to look for colors that were similar in tone for 2-3 rows and then change to a color that provided contrast. In some areas, like the center, you’ll notice that I alternated between a single color (in this case, gray) and then one of several other colors, and then back to the first color to give it a more grounded look. I repeated the gray several more times throughout the afghan to give the color scheme some consistency. I think it turned out pretty well!

Now that I’ve taken a photo of it here in the office, I’ve put it in the mail for Jennifer and Harry to enjoy!

What have you made with single skeins or balls of yarn? Leave a comment and share your ideas!

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  • vicki

    Great idea! I tend to do the same thing, I will buy one or two skeins of yarns without knowing what I am going to do with it. I will make either some donated items or amigirumi for family and friends.

  • Lizzette Nogueira

    Can you share the instructions for this afgan. Really beautiful!!

  • Char

    I made an afghan for my son very much like this many years ago. I had a lot of browns at the time and used them like you did the grey to ground the piece. He still has it and still uses it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=837399571 Nicole Ferrara

    Any idea on what to do with multiple small balls of Homespun left over from projects?

    • Wendy

      I was wondering the same thing, and was thinking that a multi colored scarf would be good. I haven’t made it yet though.

    • melodie

      Nicole, what I do with my yarn is drum roll please………………! I make it in to a ball hope that helps.

    • Jeanie

      Nicole, I’m currently making a crochet granny square afghan with all my scraps, mostly from baby blankets. It’s coming out really cool and fun. I plan to keep it as a memory of all the blankets I’ve made and babies they went to. I also plan to use it as I go on and eventually make it a really large adult afghan.

    • melodie

      Sorry I had to eat dinner. What I do with my leftover yarn. Is I use in my washcloth. Just make a washcloth with your leftover yarn I just made a washcloth with my multiple small balls of yarn. Hope that helps you,

    • allie

      Know any little girls who would love a granny afghan for their dolls?

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      Hi Nicole, I think Wendy’s idea of a multi-colored scarf (or even a cowl) is a great one. Here are a few patterns to get you started:
      http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/L10583.html
      http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/90305AD.html
      http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/70325AD.html

    • http://www.facebook.com/beth.watkins.77736 Beth Watkins

      Depending on the amount of yarn available in those “small balls”, you could make an easy fringed chemo or lap blanket to donate or keep by “working from side to side” rather than end to end. A good finished size for the stitched portion is about 48 inches. You will start and finish each row with a tail about 6-8 inches long. Either knit or crochet a “side” row beginning and ending with a tail the same length. Then tie on the next yarn piece (Make a tail the same length and tie them together.) and continue across the row to the end then tie the two tails together. Pick up the next piece and do the same, repeat till the blanket is wide enough to suit you. You are making the fringe as you go, so when you have finished the rows… the blanket is done (no weaving in ends), …with one exception, if using Homespun or other yarns that fray, make sure you tie a small tight knot in the end of the fringe. You can use any and all scraps and the more colors, weights and textures in the yarns used the better!! Just be sure to use compatable fibers in each blanket for ease in washing. I did not originate this idea, but have made several and they were beautiful, textural blankets that were easy to make and brought much joy to the recipients!!
      Keeping in mind the washability factor, you can also make household items like: table runners, placemats, coasters, hot mats, area rugs, etc., depending on the length of the scrap pieces. Just keep in mind that a fringe is not desired on things like pot holders!
      Any project that can be done in stripes will have real eye and touch appeal when done this way. Use the colors and textures like an artist pallet to create your one-of-a-kind masterpiece!

  • Mjean

    I’ve made three crocheted “Stashbuster bags/totes”. Check out the Knitting Paradise site for a pattern and lots of examples, or just figure out your own pattern of sc, dc, hdc stitches. It’s really fun to watch how it develops. You can use shades of all one color – blues or purples or reds, etc or you can just make a magic ball of whatever comes out of your leftovers bag.

    • melodie

      Thank you

  • Wendy

    This afghan is cool. I have made two similar ones in the past, one Multi (scraps) and ivory, and one that is Multi colored with black trim. I think Royal blue or Gray would also be excellent in between colors to go along with Multi colored scraps.

    • melodie

      Thank you

  • Sibyl

    at 73 I”m trying not to buy more yarn and to use my stash.(tho I know I can.’t live Lon enough to use it all :). I have been doing scarves, hats and love to come with color combination for slipper-socks,have been thinking about an afghan,too. love this one. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ginger Elliott

    I had many,many pieces of skiens. Left overs from many projects. When my sister was diagnosed with cancer I made her some chomo caps. They were so easy I am useing up all my “scraps”to make different styles and donating to the local Cancer Clinic for their patients.

    • melodie

      Oh! Is your sister O.K?

    • Michael R

      I would love to get the pattern you used for the hats. I have been wanting to do this for some time but haven’t found a pattern I like.

      • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

        You may also want to check out the patterns on LionBrand.com–just type “chemo cap” into the search box and press “go.” Hope that helps!

  • Esther

    Years ago I made an afghan for my dad using up all my scraps. With a size Q hook and two strands of worsted weight yarn I simply crocheted in single crochet, switching colors as I came to the end of each strand. It turned out much larger than I expected, but my dad loved it. He was a diabetic and had lost both legs, so the afghan was perfect for him to wrap up in whenever he lay down.

  • Nanna CC

    I took my small scraps and used a size 10 needle to knit a 20X20 inch baby blanket for my Grand daughter. I told my daughter that she could use it as an when bundling her up on cold winter days, but they have told me that since she kicks all blankets over her head when she naps they are most comfortable using it as the feel she can breathe through it. So I knit a larger 1 skein blanket, 30X40 for her to sleep with in a self striping yarn. Fast and easy!

  • pam-da-gram

    made this giant granny also, here is a tip= after about 3 rows , finish off and go the other way, it will stop from jogging in one direction. I made mind with 3 row of the same color, then one black., One of the neatest and most colorful afgans ever. EX- light green, med. green, dark green, black, Lt.purple,med. dark pr, black. and so on. I promise,! you and everyone else will love that.

  • grandma

    I made several of these grannies when my boys were playing baseball. The Ladies Auxiliary usually had a carnival at the end of the season and to raise money we chanced of various items donated by the local businesses. I made a granny the first year using all of the ends of yarn the the women donated (plus my own, which were quite substantial) and the next year I made one in red, white and blue for the bicentenial year. I guess I’d better make another one or two or three to use up the scraps of yars that I’ve accumulated over the years

  • Ted A. Hunt

    Your big granny is lovely, Zontee, and they’re such fun to make. Small multi-colored grannies or other motifs, either knitted or crocheted, are great carry-along projects for the bus, subway or car trips, (as long as you aren’t the one driving ;~).

    Lately I’ve been using the Domino Knitting (mitred squares) method to make patchwork blankets of semi-random colors in garter stitch. I made my needles too. These are very warm, enjoyable to make, and don’t require close attention since the technique is quickly memorized.

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      We’re totally obsessed with mitered squares here at Lion Brand right now (as you can probably tell by all the mitered patterns on our website)–it’s definitely a fun technique!

      • Ted A. Hunt

        On the back cover of Vivien Hoxbro’s “Knit to Be Square” the header to the book’s description is “get addicted to the square”. Not much exaggeration there! I think part of the mitred squares’ appeal is a sense of play. As many of us don’t always have a long period of time to relax , another nice thing about building a project of mitred squares is that we can see we’re getting somewhere even if we can sit and knit for just a few minutes. I save more complicated patterns for when I can afford to spend more time.

        • Ted A. Hunt

          Oops. Part of that got parsed as html, which it wasn’t. I was saying “more guys should try crafting”. It IS relaxing, and can be done in a quiet, comfortable setting. The other things I enjoy on my acres like woodcrafting, gardening, forestry and landscaping are satisfying, but more like work. Good music, yarn, needles and a favorite cat are peace and bliss to me. (~8

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