Crocheting on a Budget: Using Your Stash!

It’s very easy to spend a lot of money on your crochet when you find a gorgeous yarn in the perfect color for that oversized sweater or queen-sized blanket you’ve been wanting to make. But it doesn’t have to be that way! One of the things I really love about crochet is that is can truly be a very inexpensive hobby. It all depends on your approach to the craft! In this article, I’ll share some tips for keeping this beloved craft as inexpensive as can be by using your stash!

Before starting a new project, take a look through your stash. Be inspired by what you already have!

For those of you who have a large yarn stash, consider keeping a list of the yarns that you own. If you cannot imagine or picture all of the yarn that you own without looking through your stash, you could benefit from this.

Take photos and add them to a notebook (or digital note or document) along with the yardage, fiber content, and weight. If you already have a project in mind for this yarn, jot that down too. If you’re a member of Ravelry (this is a free website for crocheters and knitters) there are special tools for keeping track of your yarn stash that you can use.

Regardless of how you keep track of your stash, when you are ready to start a new project and you’ve got that itch for buying new yarn, shop your stash before shopping at the store!

If you bought the yarn yourself, you must have been excited to use it at one point, right? Maybe you are just looking for the perfect project to use it on.

Or maybe you just inherited a bunch of yarn from someone else, and you don’t quite know how to put it to good use. Even “ugly duckling” yarn can have its swan moment when used in the right design!

First, you’ll need to find out how much yarn you have. Add up all of the yardage on the labels so that you know what you are working with. If you don’t know how much yarn you have, watch this video for help. Do you have enough yarn for a sweater or a beanie? Maybe you only have scraps? No matter the yardage, there is a perfect project for your yarn—you just have to figure out what it is!

Finding the Perfect Pattern

The good news is that there are countless free patterns online to choose from. Creative Crochet Corner has many free patterns, most of them with free video tutorials so you can learn along, step-by-step. If you are a searching for patterns on a larger website like Ravelry, Love Crafts, Yarnspirations, Lionbrand, or WeCrochet, you can filter your search by “crochet,” “free,” “project type,” “yardage,” and “yarn weight” as well! This will help you narrow down the possibilities to find a pattern that will work for your yarn.

But don’t be afraid to look for free patterns elsewhere! Independent designers often have free patterns on their websites, and don’t forget about your local library, too! Pinterest and Instagram are also great places to find inspiration. If you have scrap yarn, look for projects that would work well with multiple colors or stripes.

Below is a photo of the Fall Harvest Cowl made with scrap yarn.

Will this pattern work for my stash yarn?

Often when we want to use our stash yarn, we find a pattern that we like, but aren’t sure if the yarn we have will work for that pattern. First, check to see if the yarn weight is the same. Next, consider the fiber content. The way a yarn is spun and the materials it is made from will affect the drape and feel of the resulting fabric.

The best way to find out if your yarn will work is to make a swatch with the yarn in question. Then you will know if will crochet up to the correct gauge and you can feel the fabric to see if it will be a good fit. You can also look at Ravelry to see if there are projects made using that pattern with the yarn you plan to use.

Another great resource is the website You can use this free website to search for the yarn that was used in the pattern and see a list of good yarn substitutions. Then you can see if any of those yarns are in your stash.

Maybe you don’t need a pattern!

Think about using your stash yarn for a project that you can just make up as you go! This could mean a freeform project where individual parts are made and come together to form a larger piece. Or it could be something simple like this No-Sew Crocheted Zippered Pouch (pictured below).

Other Things to Consider

  • • If you make a project where the finished size can vary, like a blanket, bag, amigurumi, or even a scarf, then you will not need to be as careful with yarn substitutions and you can just go for it!
  • • It might be easier to make yarn substitutions when you are using a pattern written in more of a “recipe style.” For example, in a “recipe style” pattern you might be instructed to make a crochet chain to a certain length, and then work back and forth until your piece measures a certain length. This would be in contrast with a more traditional pattern where you are told exactly how many stitches to start out with and how many rows to work. The Freestyle Beanie uses this style of instruction, and makes it easy to use just about any yarn.

  • Granny square projects, small amigurimi, and colorwork projects are perfect for using up scraps!

  • If you shy away from using multiple colors in projects because you don’t know how to combine them, then check out this blog post for the Scrappy Scarf pictured below.

  • • If you have other friends who craft, or belong to a crafting group (including online groups) you might be able to organize a yarn trade.
  • • Sometimes combining a color that you don’t like with another color will change everything! You might find that you love a color combo even if you didn’t particularly like either of the colors individually!
  • •Similarly, adding a neutral color to colors that do not normally look good together can achieve great results! In the design below, white yarn was held together with many other colors to extend the yardage and also to help the colors look good together.

There are so many different ways to create fabulous crochet projects, without spending much money at all. I hope this has inspired you to create something beautiful! Let us know in the comments how you plan to use your stash yarn!

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3 Responses to “Crocheting on a Budget: Using Your Stash!”


    I like using up my left over yarn for differ things. right know I can not knit or crochet my hand is in a brace and will be there for some time. When I get back I need to make 6 pair of fingerless gloves if you have a easy patterns for them I sure could use them.

  2. Robin Smith

    Many items can be made for those donation situations. Someone will like the color combo, even if you don’t. Amigurumi are great, even any color. Kids love them.

  3. June Lewis

    Inspirational and very helpful!