6 special ways to recycle your crochet

Crochet is a handicraft with a long history dating back to years when people were much keener to make do and mend than to spend, spend, spend.
If you've made a blanket but actually need a marketing bag, we'll show you how to repurpose your work. And, if you have loads of T shirts but actually need a rug, there are ways to use material as yarn.
1. Repurpose those granny squares
Say you've created a granny square blanket but it never gets used. Don't let all that hard work go to waste. You can easily make a sturdy tote or marketing bag out of it, or how about an unusual scarf?
First you'll have to unpick your seams attaching all the squares together. Next decide on your new article. A scarf will be the easiest, as you'll just need to sew the squares into a long rectangular shape. For a bag, either create two sides from the squares and then sew up the seams, crocheting on a strap, or make a large rectangular marketing bag by attaching a straight strip between your sides, running along the bottom and both sides. Add two handles and you're good to go.
2. Project too small? Add a border
Ever made a bedspread, only to find that, oops, it's a bit too short to fit? Don't despair, there's a fix for every snag you hit. If your throw is too narrow, just add a border - or lots of borders if necessary. A few rows of single or double crochet as a foundation, in different colors to add a jazzy note, then a nice chunky shell or scallop stitch usually works a treat. It's surprising how many inches a nicely-worked edging stitch can add on to a final project.
3. Recycle and reuse
What if you've finished your project, only to realise that, well, it just doesn't look too good. For whatever reason, you're not pleased with it. Well, don't worry and definitely don't throw it out - just unravel that precious yarn, rewind it into balls and use it for something else. Try not to look on it as a waste of time, but as a chance to get it right in the future.
4. Thrift shop yarn
If you're fresh out of yarn, and low on funds too, then your nearest thrift shop can be a great source of bargain materials. You'll find handknitted or crocheted items here which can easily be unravelled, then you can use the yarn again in a project you'll treasure for almost no outlay.
5. Sweaters into pillows
I find sweaters very hard to get right - the size always seems to be off. Oftentimes they get unravelled, but occasionally a more drastic solution is called for. I love this idea from Crochet Concupiscence to make lovely sofa pillows out of less-than-lovely sweaters. The ones in her picture look machine made but hand crocheted sweaters would work charmingly.
6. T-shirts into rugs
If you're surrounded by old and unlovely tops and T-shirts, but actually would love a soft and warm rug to warm your toes, then you'll love this clever technique for converting machine-woven fibers into usable crochet yarn. Once you've got a ball of T-shirt yarn to hand you can have fun making great chunky projects like baskets, plant hangers, cat and dog beds and, of course, that rug you wanted.

Crocheting is a great way to create handmade gifts. Learning how to do a few of the basic stitches and how to read a pattern opens up a whole world of possibilities for you. Baby blankets, booties, scarves, slippers, hats, the list just keeps on...
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