Thursday 19 November 2020

Make your own yarn advent calendar

Advent calendars are a big thing in the UK: the original advent calendars had you open a door on a cardboard calendar every day in the lead up to Christmas, at some point these were upgraded to cardboard calendars with a  chocolate behind each door, and in the past few years luxury calendars with *anything you like* behind the doors have become really popular! Obviously these countdown calendars are a huge commercial opportunity, but you don’t have to spend a fortune: if you knit a lot, you probably have plenty of yarn scraps lying around, so you can make your own! If you’re bored of your own yarn scraps, you can arrange to swap yarn advents with a friend, so you get to appreciate their leftovers, and yours get a new and appreciative audience.

Countdown calendars aren’t just for advent, you can also use them to countdown to a big birthday, to cheer up a particularly bleak looking month (hi there, February), or to make your yarn scraps look more appealing!

So, how can you make your own yarn advent?

1. Gather your leftovers!

Anything goes for this step! It is sensible though to make sure all your yarn scraps are the same weight, so choose one weight of yarn (e.g. 4ply or DK), and gather all your leftovers of that weight.


2. Make your scraps presentable

If you’re swapping yarn advents with someone else, you’ll want to agree in advance how much yarn you’re going to include in each package: anything 5 g or larger gives you plenty of opportunity to create something sizeable out of your countdown calendar. 5 g balls will make a good-sized pair of socks; 20 g balls will make a decent-sized lap blanket.

If your leftovers are lots of different sizes, you’ll need to wind off a constant amount from each scrap. You can either do this with a set of scales:

  • Wind off what you need into a neat ball
  • Stop when you get to the required amount
  • Snip the yarn and move on to the next yarn

Or go by length:

  • Create a metre-long guide – use a length of yarn, or a strip of cardboard
  • Measure out the desired length of yarn (e.g. if a sock yarn has 400 m per 100 g, 5 g will be (5 g/100 g x 400 m =) 20 m
  • Wind your yarn into neat balls

You can also make your yarns into mini skeins, but it’s a lot of effort, and they’ll need rewinding so you can knit from them, so you may as well save yourself a step!


3. Grab some packaging materials and any extras

You can use anything you like to package your scraps

  • Paper bags
  • Little boxes
  • Wrapping paper scraps
  • Fabric scraps

I used little paper bags for mine (you can order them in bulk cheaply online).

You might want to label your little yarn packages (totally optional if it doesn’t really matter what order they’re opened in). You can do this using pieces of card tied on with string, or stickers. You can buy stickers pre-printed with numbers, but I used some plain stickers, stamped them with festive designs then wrote the numbers on with a marker pen.

A yarn package is always extra nice if it comes with an edible treat, so I bought some chocolate coins and mini chocolate bars to add to my packages (if you’re doing this for someone else, don’t forget to check for allergies).


4. Package your yarn

Wrap your yarn, one parcel per day. Each of my packages contained yarn and one or two sweet treats. I then used my number stickers to seal the packages.



5. Present your yarn advent

To present your yarn advent, you can:

  • Put all your little parcels in a bag
  • Hang your parcels on a string using little pegs
  • Display your packages in a box
  • Put your parcels in the pockets of a fabric advent calendar
  • Buy a refillable advent calendar with doors or drawer and put one parcel in each compartment

If you’re sending your yarn advent to someone, don’t forget to add a little note or card to say hello, and make sure the outer packaging is nice and secure so none of the little parcels escape.


All done! If you want suggestions on what to make with your yarn countdown calendar, stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post, which will feature a host of pattern suggestions.

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