Competent and Clever – Christmas is Coming!!! But first, Halloween…and Thanksgiving

The Craggle Post
The Craggle Post

This is the first time in forever I’ve actually thought about Christmas gifts before I finished finals. And just sake of clarity, finals would usually wrap up a week before Christmas.

However, my thoughts currently fall under “how am I ever going to afford Christmas gifts this year?” Usually these thoughts happen while I’m sitting on my throne of craft supplies.

This year, I’m aiming for at least a 75% DIY’ed Christmas. I need to use what I have, and let’s be honest, my mom started crafting with me as soon as I had the motor skills to so. And like many other crafters, you know that means I have more crafting supplies than I could ever use in a lifetime overflowing out of my work space.

So between now and Valentines Day, I’ve issued a challenge to myself: DIY my way through the holidays. And considering I’m not the only one who has an incredibly tight budget and a limited amount of time, I’m going to share my projects with you. Competent and Clever will be the series focusing on ways to save money for the holiday, and Project Repurposed will be step by step tutorials that correspond with the tips you’ll find here.

I’m so excited to show you what I have planned for Christmas.

For today, I’m going to share a money saving tip.

I love fiber arts – yarn is one of the mediums I’ve been working with the longest. But I die a little inside when I go to Micheal’s and look at the prices of yarn. Not even the fancy stuff. I know I’d need a loan to buy that, so I just stay away.

I’m talking about chunkier yarns, baby yarn and anything made by Lion Brand. I LOVE these yarns, but no matter how fantastic my coupons are, I cannot afford to make large projects out of any of them. If I need more than two skeins, count me out. However, spending far too much time on the internet, I’ve discovered people are trying to soften Red Heart’s Super Saver/hand me down/old yarn (commence Hallelujah chorus).

I’ve tried a few methods, and here’s what I’ve discovered (follow the links for more details) :

Wash and Dry Method: (Method 1)

I found this on Heart Hook Home‘s blog.

Basically you loosen the skein slightly, wash the yarn in a lingerie bag with a load of like colors, and dry with the same load.  Done!

Conditioner Wash after Project Completion: (Method 2)

This idea came from The Blue Elephants.

This one is a little more complicated, you finish your project, give the piece a few soaks in hair conditioner, and voila!

Best of Both Worlds? (Method 3)

This one came from Felt Magnet‘s blog.

And it actually combines both methods. So we’ll see if it actually works.

My Personal Concoction: (Method 4)

I have left over Caster oil conditioner that makes my hair greasy, so why not try it on my yarn?

To start, I washed Method 1 and 3. The Best of Both Worlds calls for the yarn to be washed with fabric softener, which I do not have. I have weird allergies to detergents and fabric softeners, so I consulted Google. It told me vinegar works as a softener, plus it’s more natural. Hopefully Google is right. And then I dried them with a dryer sheet and wool balls.

For Methods 2 and 4, I lathered them in their respective conditioners and let them sit for an hour each. I rinsed them each out and let them air dry.

Here are the results:

The yarn I used for this experiment was vintage and scratchy beyond belief.


The winner: The Best of Both Worlds?

This made it the softest out of all of the options above, however, it did take the most time.

The best: The Conditioner Wash

If you’re looking for a quick, cheap way to soften your yarn before giving a project as a gift, this is the method I would use. It didn’t feel time consuming, but the results were great and it left my yarn smelling like roses…and just like my hair. Hopefully no one will notice.


There you have it! Now go out and soften your bargain brand yarn!


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