Or what to do with yarn scraps.

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I like to crochet.

A lot.

Not only do I like to crochet, I like to crochet small and medium sized motifs in lots of colors (the brighter the better) and then join them into much larger pieces as I did with this Hilbert Curve I rendered in crochet:

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A Hilbert Curve in crochet

The Hilbert Curve was an idea I had wanted to execute for several years, and 961 squares later it was a fait accompli which left me with 3,822 yarn scraps and the following question: What is a crocheter to do with all of the ends a project like this generates?

I didn’t have a ready answer, but I was reluctant to simply throw away the yarn scraps only to have them end up in a landfill, so I stored them in a paper bag that over time became fuller and fuller until I needed yet another paper bag.

I continued working on large projects, weaving in ends, and then trimming them. This generated thousands more yarn scraps, and then when my “yarn scraps in paper bags” collection reached critical mass I discovered what some crafters refer to as a “magic ball.”

One part of the magic of a magic ball is the square knot used to tie the end of one yarn scrap to another . The other is that it is a convenient way to upcycle small bits of yarn that might otherwise be thrown out.

When I began my magic ball adventure I didn’t give much thought to how I put them together, I simply tied one to the other and moved on. But as I discovered more yarn scrap crochet, I started to sort my yarn scraps by length: short, medium, and long, and then I assembled them into magic balls that I used based on the average length of the yarn scrap.

While tying yarn scraps lacks what I think of as “the thrill of crochet,” it does have a contemplative grace. It requires no counting and very little thought once you get the rhythm of knot tying down. You can either be at one with the yarn scraps, or you can be miles and worlds away. The choice is yours.

The magic ball also has the side benefit of taking something with seemingly no purpose (the yarn scrap) and creating something that can be used to make hats, purses, pet mats, toys, and blankets.

The only limit: your imagination.

For me, the real thrill of using yarn scraps in this way is taking something that has no easily discernible purpose and turning it into something that transcends the sum of it’s parts.

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