How to Keep Crocheting When You are Low on Yarn ( 3 ways)

Getting low on yarn doesn’t mean you have to stop crocheting or knitting. Here are three creative ways to keep doing what you love.

If you like to crochet (or knit), running low on yarn can really be discouraging. Sometimes, we just want to be making something, but the yarn stash just starts to run low.

One way to have some variety when this happens is to work on several small projects that don’t use a lot of yarn. This can help, but it doesn’t actually create more yarn to work with.

Below, you’ll find three ways that I have found to stretch or increase your materials so that you can crochet or knit more. Whether you are on a tight budget, can’t get to the store, or don’t have any other means of getting more yarn at the moment, here are three creative ways to give yourself more yarn(or alternatives) to keep being creative

Strategy 1: Unravel Something

The first way that you can possibly “create” more yarn to work with is by unraveling something. Many times, items can be unraveled even a long time after they were made and after being washed many times.

Use your own unfinished projects or something previously done

If you have any partially-finished projects already that no longer have you motivated to finish them, you can consider unraveling(or frogging) that yarn to use for something else.

You may also choose to undo one of your beginner-level projects if you have been knitting or crocheting for awhile. While it’s meaningful to keep your very first project and anything else you may be attached to, I have personally enjoyed taking some “practice projects” apart and seeing how much better the yarn could look by making something new.

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Unravel a store-bought item

Another option for salvaging yarn is to unravel it from a commercially made item. Sweaters are probably the most commonly used items for this, although not every sweater will work.

To see what you should look for in finding a good sweater to unravel and how to do it, you can check out this video. After unraveling something that has been in use for awhile, you may want to wash it gently and lay it flat to dry. This can take out a lot of the kinks and waves from the original stitches and make the “reclaimed” yarn more easy to work with.

Strategy 2: Use Alternate Materials

Another way to get around a lack of yarn is to simply knit or crochet with something else. While this can be a different experience and also require more time, the results can be very interesting. Below are a few ideas to get you started.


Plastic yarn, or plarn, is made from disposable shopping bags. Working with plarn is one way to re-use these bags and keep them from being thrown away.

To make plarn, a bags can be cut in a few different ways. The pieces are then put together to form long pieces, which you can roll into a ball just like yarn. You can check out a lot more information on Plarn in my own tutorial here.

Some ideas for projects with this material are making reusable shopping bags(ironic, but very practical), sleeping mats for the homeless(useful because the mats don’t absorb water and can be easily washed), and baskets.

Fabric Yarn

Worn out or unused fabric is another good candidate for creating alternate yarn. By cutting up or ripping fabric into strips, an alternate yarn can be made in whatever weight you need.

And while T-shirt fabric has become very popular, even woven fabric(like most sheets are made of) can also be used for knitting or crochet. To cut down on the amount of stray threads that come out of woven material, it can be cut on the bias when you are making your strips(check out the full tutorial specifically for fabric yarn HERE.)

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Other types of String

Feel free to experiment with other types of string or cord to work on some crochet or knitting projects. Craft string, twine(like in this twine scrubbie) and even some types of rope can be used for crochet or knitting with some surprising results. You might try:

  • twine
  • macrame cord
  • paracord
  • butchers twine
  • embroidery thread
  • ribbon
  • thin wire(great for jewelry!)
  • elastic

Some things may be more challenging to work with(I don’t recommend using very thick or stiff rope) but looking around at unusual “yarn” can give you a lot of good options to work with.

Strategy 3: Use the same yarn repeatedly to learn

A final way to keep yourself busy when low on yarn is to repeatedly use the same yarn several times to practice different skills. This can be done with whatever small amount of yarn you have, or you can combine it with the other ideas here to “make” yourself some new yarn that you use over and over.

With even a small ball of yarn, you could make swatches of different stitches, learn new techniques, and even try part of a challenging pattern so that it makes sense. Whenever one thing becomes easy, simply take a picture of your work and/or jot down some notes to help you remember what you have learned.

There are so many stitches and stitch combinations that this really could keep you busy for as long as you want. This isn’t the best option for you if you want to create a finished project and leave it, but it can allow you to make a lot of progress by trying and practicing different skills. In fact, your “lack” of yarn may leave you very accomplished!

Final Thoughts (and Some Ideas to take with you)

It’s amazing that you are so driven to keep practicing your craft in creative ways. If you find yourself low on yarn but just itching to keep working on something, I hope these ideas help you and that you are able to enjoy the alternatives to the way you normally craft. When you do get some new yarn, I know you’ll appreciate it even more!

Now before you go, make sure to grab my master list of crochet ideas for some possible projects you can try.

And finally, don’t forget to pin this so that you have it for later!

Keep the crafting delightful,


With a little bit of creativity, you can crochet or knit with little to no yarn. Re-using yarn from other projects, practicing a lot of different skills, and making use of alternate materials are all good options.

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3 thoughts on “How to Keep Crocheting When You are Low on Yarn ( 3 ways)”

  1. Fabulous ideas, will keep a look out for the fabric recycling post as I know we have some old bedding that could be recycled. Thank you Amelia for this post, it is very timely with so much of the world in lock down x

  2. Pingback: How to Make Plarn (Plus Example Results) ~ Amelia Makes

  3. Pingback: How to Turn Fabric into Yarn(a DIY Alternative for Crocheting and Knitting) ~ Amelia Makes

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