Tips and tricks for crafting on a budget .
We’re all feeling the pinch at the moment, with energy costs through the roof and inflation doing its level best to burn a hole in our pockets. But there’s no way we’re going to let that stop us crafting! Read on for our genius tips and tricks for crafting on a budget, from toy stuffing swaps to online shopping hacks, to help you knit and crochet for less.
2. Repurpose your long-abandoned UFOs. If you’d forgotten you had it, you’re probably not going to finish it. Frog it and use the yarn for something new!
3. Store your yarn safely. Don’t let it get tangled and end up having to cut it free from knots – wasting yarn this way is the worst!
4. Swap your stash. Get together with a friend and trade your unwanted yarn for theirs – new yarn, no cost! There are also plenty of Facebook groups you can join that enable yarn swaps with other crafters, such as Yarn Exchange UK.
5. If you’re a prolific toymaker, consider buying cheap cushion inserts instead of actual toy stuffing. Cut them open and use the filler inside – it's the same stuff, and you’ll be able to get more for your money this way. You can find a 41cm square cushion inner for £2.50 from wilko.com
6. Take a look in charity shops, car boot sales, and second-hand shopping apps like Vinted for cheap knitted jumpers and blankets – then repurpose the yarn. Un-pick any seams, then unravel each piece before winding the yarn into a hank and letting it soak in lukewarm water with some washing detergent. This will both clean the yarn and remove any kinks so that it’s easier to knit with. Leave to dry, then cast on!
7. If you’ve fallen in love with a pattern but it uses a super pricey yarn, yarnsub.com is your friend. This handy website compares the texture, gauge, fibre content, colour styles and other qualities of similar yarns, and recommends the best substitutes for you, so you can choose one within your own budget.
8. Air your woollen knits rather than machine washing them where you can. Wool is naturally antibacterial so doesn’t actually need washing as often as you might think. In fact, frequent washing wears clothing out quicker, so you’ll be protect your favourite jumper for longer as well as saving on energy costs.
9. Visit your local yarn shop rather than shopping online. Not only will you avoid postage fees, but having a good feel of the yarn and chatting with the experts in store will help ensure that you walk away with exactly what you need, as opposed to ordering something that turns out to be different than expected – resulting in unwanted yarn and a waste of money. For example, something might look cloud-soft on the screen, but it might turn out to be far too scratchy for that hat you had in mind upon arrival. We find rubbing the yarn under your chin or on your inner forearm is the perfect test for tickly fibres!
10. Many libraries have large collections of knitting and crochet pattern books. And of course, the wonderful thing about libraries is that they’re completely free! Head on down to your local and make the most of what it has to offer.
11. When shopping online, there’s an old trick to getting money off your basket... Add all the things you want to your order, but stop before you check out and leave it for a day or two. Often, companies will send you discount codes to tempt you back. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s certainly worth a shot!
12. Find the freebies! There are so many free patterns out there if you know where to look. For example, most pattern houses will release one or two freebies with each pattern book or new yarn – snap them up! You’ll also find plenty online with a quick Google search. And, of course, topcrochetpatterns.com is full of our very own amazing free patterns, like this cute Koala!
14. “I keep all my tail ends and yarn cut offs to use to stuff little amigurumi toys for my kids. It works like a dream."
15. “I keep all the ball ends for Fair Isle and intarsia, sort them into freezer bags of similar colours and when I want to do a kiddies’ jumper, I just go and pick a bag out of the stash to go with the main colour."
16. “Check local charity shops. They either have donated yarn to sell or will sell their own yarn, which tends to be quite cheap.”
17. “Definitely buying things out of season, e.g. buy Christmas supplies in the new year.”