Keep tiny scraps of yarn for stuffing!
You don't always have to stuff your Amigurumi or Pillows with polyester fiberfill! There are plenty of great stuffing sources around your house that you can use, with the added benefits of reducing your waste output!
Here are some great things you can use in place of regular, store-bought stuffing
1. Cut up old (clean!) socks, t-shirts and jeans! In fact, any old cotton clothing makes great stuffing. Cut it all into pieces no larger than about an inch squared and store it in a bin or bag marked "HOME MADE STUFFING"
2. Scraps of yarn and cloth! If you're constantly making or mending things like I am, the scraps of yarn and fabric really add up! Instead of tossing them out, put them aside in a bowl, bag or bin for later use!
3. Sick of looking at that old pillow? Pillows are often loaded with polyester fiberfill! Open it up, store it in a bag and you can even chop up the pillow fabric and use it too! ***Harder cushions like the type found on your couch are often full of foam bits, this does NOT make good stuffing because it falls apart into tiny bits and gets everywhere!***
4. Balls of yarn you don't like. Yup, we all have them. Maybe you got some second hand, or you have some left over from a huge project and you really don't like the colour anymore...don't throw it away, just put it in your scrap bowl and you can use the whole thing inside a much newer, cuter project :)
5. If you're looking for added weight, instead of using beans you can always substitute old beads. There are old necklaces, bracelets (and remember those beaded car seat-covers?) aplenty out there, full of wooden or plastic beads that are not too attractive anymore. Keep them out of the trash, stuff them into your 'bean bags', paper weights, door jams and draft blockers!
So before you toss your old clothes, your scraps or even your old plastic bead jewelry, give it a second look! It just might make excellent stuffing :)
Tying in New Yarn
On larger projects you frequently have to tie in a new skein of yarn. Or, if you're winding yourself a "Scrap Ball" you want your ends to lie flat and stay together. For the added insurance of not having it unravel later, here is a simple and safe way to tie in your new yarn!
1. Hold both ends together (yarns should run parallel to each other)
2. Tie a basic 'Granny' knot (cross your yarn to make a loop and bring the short ends up through the loop from back to front)
3. Pull both the short and long ends tightly to make the knot as small and tight as possible.
What is "Ply"?
Ply refers to the number of individual strands that are combined together to make up the thread, yarn, string or rope that you employ. When a yarn label says "4 Ply" or "2 Ply" for example, it refers to the number of strands that make up that particular yarn. The yarn picture below is a standard 4 Ply, Worsted Weight yarn.
Yarn has a tendency to hop and bounce around at our feet, fall off tables and become the cat's play thing while we're busy trying to crochet! To keep our yarn tidy, clean and from tying itself around table legs, let's CONTAIN it!
Balls of yarn roll around as they unravel, but if you put them in a bowl, they won't go anywhere!
If you're on the run and can't take your bowl, try an empty plastic food container with a hole drilled through the lid! This will keep your yarn clean, contained and it will feed nice and neatly through that little hole.
Storing Yarn with Labels
You don't always use the whole skein of yarn! To keep your labels from getting torn or lost (since they often have important information on them) simply tighten the label around the thinning skein (by creating a fold in it) and taping into place. This keeps the rest of your skein from unraveling or getting too loose and your label information is kept in the best place possible - with your yarn!