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How to Crochet a Shawl from Scrap Yarn

A Pretty Stash Busting Crochet Project


crochet a shawl

A bag of scrap yarn, a crochet hook, and a basic stitch are all you need to learn how to crochet a shawl.

© Erica Jackofsky

Related Resources: Free Crochet Shawl Patterns | Scrap Yarn Patterns | Crochet Accessories

Skill Level: Easy

I don’t know about you, but I find my scrap yarn pile grows at an alarming rate. If I finish a project and there’s still some yarn left I end up stashing it away “just in case.” How could I part with these lovely leftovers? If you find yourself in the same situation as me than this stash busting shawl might be the perfect solution. It’s a fun, colorful way to put small amounts of yarn to good use.

Choose Your Yarn
When selecting yarn for this project there are a couple things to keep in mind. The most important is weight (sport, DK, worsted, etc.). Not all your yarns need to be exactly the same, but you’ll want them to be similar otherwise the stitches will be tight in some places and loose in others. Determine what range you’d like to work with. You might consider fingering to light DK, DK and worsted, or aran to bulky as places to start.

Another consideration is fiber content. Mixing fibers won’t mean the end of the world, but it will affect care, weight, and even what hook size you can comfortably use.

For my shawl I decided to work with cotton and cotton blend yarns ranging from sport to DK weight.

How Much Yarn?
Unfortunately there is no number set in stone to answer this question. If you take a look at shawl patterns you’ll notice a very wide range of yardage spanning from as little as 300 yards all the way up to nearly 2,000 yards. The exact amount you’ll need will vary depending on the weight of your yarn, your gauge, and what size finished shawl you desire. Remember, since this is a scrap project you can always add rows later on as you acquire more yarn if you run out of yardage now.

Find Your Crochet Hook
You’ll need a crochet hook that works with your chosen yarn. If you’re not sure what size to pick, see if one of your yarns still has its wrapper and check the suggested manufacturer hook size and gauge. If it doesn’t (and really, even if it does), take the time to work small swatches in half double crochet stitches with different hooks using the yarn you’ve selected. Remember that shawls are often worked at a looser gauge than something like a hat would use.

I chose a G/4.5mm crochet hook to pair with my yarn. This hook produced a nice fabric (4 stitches per inch) with plenty of drape for a shawl. I wanted to make sure my stitches weren’t too tight and the fabric was breathable.

2 Locking stitch markers
Tape measure
Tapestry needle

Crochet Abbreviations Used in Pattern
* = a repeat in the pattern
[ ] = repeat instructions within brackets as many times as indicated
ch = chain
hdc = half double crochet
inc(‘d) = increase(d)
st(s) = stitch(es)

Notes on the Pattern Recipe
This shawl is worked from the center of the wingspan out and downward. Constructing it this way means that you can continue until the shawl is your desired size without making any modifications to the pattern.

Use your smaller lengths of yarn first. The rows will get longer as you work, so you’ll want the yarns you have more of later in the project.

Change your yarn colors at random as you see fit. The pattern instructions won’t tell you when to do this. I chose to always switch colors after completing a row so each stripe was a solid color.

Each row of the shawl increases by 4 stitches. There will be 1 stitch increased at each end and 2 stitches increased at the center point. Using locking ring markers to note the center 2 stitches will help prevent loosing your place. The pattern notes when to begin using them.

Scrap Shawl Pattern Recipe
Ch 4 loosely, 2 hdc in 2nd ch from hook, 2 hdc in each of the next 2 ch sts -- 6 hdc.

Row 1: Ch 1, 2 hdc in 1st st, 1 hdc in next st, [2 hdc in next st] twice, hdc in next st, 2 hdc in last st -- 10 hdc.

Row 2: Ch 1, 2 hdc in 1st st, hdc in next 3 sts, [2 hdc in next st] twice, hdc in next 3 sts, 2 hdc in last st -- 14 hdc.

Place locking stitch markers on the center 2 sts. To do this begin counting at one edge and place marker on the 7th and 8th hdc st.

Row 3: Ch 1, 2 hdc in 1st st, hdc in next 5 sts, [2 hdc in next st with stitch marker, replace marker on last st made] twice, hdc in next 5 sts, 2 hdc in last st -- 18 hdc.

Row 4: Ch 1, 2 hdc in first st, hdc in each st to marker, [2 hdc in next st with stitch marker, replace marker on last st made] twice, hdc in each st to last st, 2 hdc in last st -- 4 sts inc’d.

*Continue working Row 4 until shawl is desired measurements. Be careful to place the stitch markers on the second of each increased stitch or the center point will begin to veer off in the wrong direction.

Fasten off and weave in any ends.
Gently steaming or ironing your shawl will help even out any inconsistencies. Be careful to only iron or steam if your yarn allows for it (check the yarn wrapper/ball band for this information.)

Did your shawl come out slightly smaller than you anticipated? If it’s made out of a natural fiber you can wet block it to larger dimensions. To do this simply wet your shawl, pat dry (just enough so it’s not dripping), and stretch out on a flat surface. Gently pull and shape your shawl to your satisfaction.

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