How to Crochet a Shawl from Scrap Yarn

A Pretty Stash Busting Crochet Project

Crochet Stack and Yarn
ppl58, Getty Images 

Scrap yarn projects are designed to allow you use the yarn that you have on end to create something colorful and new. This is great for the earth, since you aren't throwing away that yarn, and great for the bank account since you're using what you have instead of buying something new for a project. One fun scrap yarn project is a crochet shawl. Learn how to make a shawl with what you have in your stash using this pattern recipe.

What Is a Crochet Pattern Recipe? 

A crochet recipe is similar to a pattern in that it tells you how to crochet something. The difference is that a pattern is very precise, telling you what yarn to use and exactly how many stitches to make, whereas a recipe is designed to be a little bit more flexible. The recipe gives you suggestions and guidance for crocheting an item using what yarn you already have. That's why a pattern recipe is better than a crochet pattern for scrap yarn projects. 

Skill Level 

This crochet shawl is designed to be an easy beginner-level project. 

Choose Your Yarn

Since this is a scrap yarn project, you can use the yarn that you already have. However, you do want to keep a few things in mind, including the yarn weight, fiber and color. You may want to use the same yarn weight (sport weight, DK weight, worsted weight, etc.) throughout the project.

Not all of the yarns need to be exactly the same weight, but if they aren't in a similar range, the stitches may end up tight in some places and loose in others. This isn't a terrible thing, but if you want a very consistent crochet shawl design then choose all the same weight yarns - or at least stick with a close range, such as only fingering and sock weight yarns or only DK weight and worsted weight yarns.

The next thing to consider is the fiber content of the yarn. Will this scrap yarn project be made entirely in wool or cotton, or will it include many different blends of yarn? 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, so that's something to take into consideration as you sort through your yarn stash for the right yarn choices.

Finally, there's the color of the yarn. You can combine any colors you want in scrap yarn projects. You may want to stick with all one hue (only your blue yarns, for example), sort them for use in a specific order (ombre or rainbow) or just let the colors fall where they may. It depends on your own style.

How Much Yarn To Use In a Scrap Shawl

Unfortunately there is no number set in stone to answer this question, which is what makes this a crochet recipe instead of a crochet pattern. 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, your hook size and what size finished shawl you desire. The good thing is that this is a scrap yarn project you can always add rows later on to grow the shawl.

Choosing the Right 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.
A good starting point is to use a size G crochet hook for a crochet shawl made primarily with worsted weight scrap yarn. This will usually give you plenty of drape for a shawl. Of course, if you want an extra warm shawl, instead of one that is more breathable, you may go with a smaller size crochet hook for the same yarn weight. Play around with what works best for you as you make this scrap yarn project.

Extras

In addition to your scrap yarn and the right crochet hook, there are a few other things that it is helpful to have when crocheting this shawl:

 

Crochet Abbreviations Used in Recipe

Here are the stitches and abbreviations used throughout this shawl 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 and Tips for this Crochet 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. This is the perfect design for scrap yarn projects. 

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.
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.
The pattern instructions won’t tell you when to change colors, as that depends entirely on how much you have of any given color. Change your yarns as you see fit.

Scrap Shawl Crochet 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 has reached the 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.

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, remembering that you have different yarns within the project and if any react poorly to steaming then the whole shawl may end up out of shape.