I have a large amount of yarn scraps. They are seeping out of my craft storage closet, slightly organized by yarn weight and amount left. And, somehow, I keep collecting more. My scrap collection also depends on the charitable donation of friends and family who pass their unused balls of yarn off to me, certain I’ll find a use.
When I first started knitting, and yarn was scarce, I almost exclusively knit with scraps. I would piece projects together, using multiple colors in different weights. But as I slowly collected yarns for specific projects, and knit those projects, my scrap collection grew and I knit from it less and less.
Until now! The onset of summer heat and the start of a new job shifted all my usual knitting habits. After I finished my latest sweater, I didn’t rush to cast on the next garment in my queue, rather I picked up some leftovers and imagined what kind of magic they could become.
I ultimately decided that the best use of these colorful scraps would be toys. Not for me, no, I don’t really need toys, but for the many many babies that are suddenly popping up amongst my friends. They need toys. More specifically, they need butterflies. I love the Butterfly & Cocoon pattern by Susan B Anderson. I love this pattern so much that I knit four butterflies and corresponding cocoons with my worsted weight scraps. These butterflies will all travel to their intended homes soon, but for now I love how they all inhabit a space together – like a little butterfly family.
I experimented with different ways to stuff these toys. I tried using only waste yarn and tiny yarn scraps, which produced a stuffing similar to poly-fill. Then I tried shredding knit fabric with my rotary cutter, which produced a more solid and dense stuffing. Finally, I tried shredding woven fabric with my rotary cutter, this method created the most stiff and dense stuffing, which packed down quite hard inside the toy. Of these three methods, using yarn scraps is my preferred way to stuff a toy as the filling is soft and holds its shape well, while shredded fabrics (knit or woven) tend to shift out of place simply by touching the toy, which leaves the toys lopsided.
After seeing these four adorable toys, I decided that I needed my own little knit toy, after all. I chose to make the Black Sheep, White Sheep, a reversible toy also by Susan B Anderson. It was a fiddly little project with its tiny legs and tiny ears and tiny head, but I love the overall look of the toy. This little sheep might make it’s way to my sewing pod at work (more on this later), or maybe live in my car, somewhere where it will bring a little joy to my day.
I’ve knit toys for the past two months, and I’m happy with the amount of scraps I’ve used! But I think it’s time to put the toy knitting to rest for a bit. Or, possibly, change up the pattern and try something new. That’s the best thing about this hobby, the possibilities are endless and I can do whatever I want.