As we spin our wonderful yarns and from there create fantastic knitted or woven projects, we start to have little piles of leftovers. Leftover yarn, fiber and roving that is all far too nice to throw away. There is just not enough of it to make something! Or is there?
Hooked rugs are made by drawing yarn through a base cloth of burlap or monks cloth. Often the patterns for the small penny rugs require only a few yards of a particular color of yarn, which is an ideal way to use up leftover yarn. Another technique in rug hooking is to create animals or other textural delights by using locks of fiber that are attached to the cloth then cut with clippers to add a life-like element to the rug.
Thrummed mittens are always a hit. Thrumming is the process of adding locks of fiber to knitted items by drawing a lock of fiber with a crochet hook from the right side of the work to the inside creating an insulated lining. The color will show a bit on the outside of the finished item, so be sure to choose locks that match the knitting yarn.
Needle felting can be a great way to use up both extra yarn and fiber. I have found it works very well to use balls of yarn as the base for needle felting. The yarn can also be wrapped around thick wire to create a pose-able animal or figure. The color of the base will not affect the finished item as long as enough fiber is felted over it.
If you are only using up fiber, a ball can be felted in layers of different colored fiber. This usually works best by wet felting, with lots of soap. As the layers are constructed, try to use high color contrast. Be sure to make it as dense as possible. Build the layers up until the ball is at least the size of a tennis ball. Once it is completely dry, cut it in half with a very sharp knife and you have two pincushions that look a bit like geodes!
Roving that is leftover can be knitted into squares that can be wet felted to create coasters or if it is a large enough square, it can be used as a trivet or placemat. Another option with roving is to weave it on a roving loom made from dowels and a 2x4.
My daughter has a doll house, so it inevitably had to have a spinning wheel. Well, if the occupants are fiber artists, then they must knit. So, my next endeavor will be to break out the sock needles and try to create some sweaters for the doll residents of our house. They may not be finished until the dollhouse has been passed on to some as yet unknown granddaughter, but at least it is on the list!