A friend once asked me what to do with all those small scraps of yarn that are always left over when making a larger project. For some I heard those bits of leftovers are just that: something that’s left over and that will never see the light of day again – or worse: go to the bin! But for me those tiny little balls of colour are a precious source pure joy, as you can make so many different and unique things with them! They are my absolute favourites (as you might already know): those delicious, squishy, eyewateringly colourful bits and balls of leftover yarns that can turn into literally anything you desire. That’s why I hardly ever make things from just one yarn, I always end up mixing and matching yarns to make things more special, even from new balls of yarn.
Also I really love this very satisfying feeling of using up a ball of yarn completely in all its deliciousness and making something unique with it in the process.
I collected a few free pattern ideas for you here, some of which I tried myself and some that are still on my bucket list. But no matter if you feel like knitting something small or fancy a mammoth-project, there’s definitely enough inspiration for all of us out there. So here are my favourite ideas. But first:
What’s your excuse not to use them all to the last centimeter?
- Colours won’t fit together? Are you sure about that? Because what seems not to work together sometimes makes for the greatest projects ever. I collected some examples for small and big projects for you in this post that will make you throw your well-thought-through choices of yarn over board. Just grab any random bit that comes your way and start mixing, blending, mitering, stranding or striping!
- Too many threads to weave in, I hear you say? Not necessarily so! Have you ever tried adding the second thread a few stitches before the old one runs out and knit a few stitches with the old and the new strand of yarn together? It’s almost invisible and you can just go ahead and cut the thread just like that. No weaving in required anymore – problem solved! So, what’s your excuse of not using up all parts of that lovely yarn of yours now?
- Got too many different yarn bases that won’t go together? Why not sort them by yarn weight (fingering, DK, bulky…) and make something that doesn’t require a lot of special care? Like this leftover scarf, that I used all my DK bits and scraps of any base for. It just needed to be approximately the same weight. This is actually my favourite scarf right now. And it was superdupereasy to knit and ate up all those tiniest of leftovers that never would go with anything else. 🙂
Here’s a list of FREE patterns on Ravelry, that will definitely get you started on leftovering 🙂 Enjoy!
You feel like starting with a small project to test out some colourways but you’re not quite sure which colour to take for the project? I usually test my yarns with the Be my Valentine hearts just to see what the colours will be like. Also they make an adorable gift for any occasion. If you are looking for a more advanced combine-more-than-one bit-of-yarn-project try the Celestine Sox : A fun project for an interesting toy or decoration made from various (or just one) leftover. Still on my bucket list but not for long anymore, I hope 🙂 Less advanced but with an equally fun effect the Braided Ball is a fun way to use up scraps and will make any child (or inner child) happy, while the Christmas season might be a good reason to get crafty, too. Why not make a garland of Smittens or tiny socks? There are so many ways to brighten up your knitting life and fill those tiny gaps between projects with something fun, too.
Next step: what about medium sized projects like a hat, scarf or (fingerless) mittens? Basically the same methods can be used for any type of project. Knit stripes, blend yarns randomly like for the Stashbusting Helix Hats or use two strands at the same time and let them run over into each other as for the Simon Cowl, knit stripes or strand it, go for crazy zigzags with two completely unmatchable yarns as for the ZickZack Scarf and see that they WILL match in the end 🙂
And of course the endless variations for socks, where all the tiny scraps suddenly become the main character!
Take any random amount of leftovers and mix and match as you want, using simple blocks of alternating stripes with basically any sock pattern (like the free Hot Waffles socks on this blog) or shuffling colours randomly with the Blender Socks method for not-so-vanilla socks. Or something with a touch more pattern like the Macchia di Colore (one of my favourites! Who can resist those colours??) or do you prefer stranded work like the Parrotweed socks? You could also go for a different type of sock construction like the Carousel socks (I have to say the ones I tried were pretty tight for the instep, you might want to knit them with more ease than usual) or something with just a little extra like the Mitered Windopane socks which knit up really fast, too. Right now I’m about to cast on a pair of these intriguing Patchworksocken Patchis socks (unfortunately the description is in German only, but there are plenty of pictures to help you along). Can’t wait to show you the results!
How about those mega projects like blankets? I have to say I’m always shying away from big projects, but these ones really seem like worth the time. I kept my mitered square baby blanket … well, baby sized and it wass a really fun way of using up my acrylic leftovers from a past long gone (I really don’t like acrylics, anyway, but now they’re in a very cute format :). Any of these seem like a real treat and fun way of using up those big amounts of leftovers that you might have squirreled away somewhere. I’m really thinking about making the log Cabin blanket or maybe the very cool Illusion Cube blanket. But try also the ten-stitch-blanket or it’s round variation by Franky Brown! They are easy to knit and yield striking results! Or maybe something like a mitered square blanket like the one I made two years ago or the next item on my bucket list, the puzzle baby blanket? There is definitely room to experiment with different shapes and colours if you have the patience for a big project.
And if you are feeling very colourful, this might be for you, too: The Crazy Grandpa sweater 🙂
So no matter which method or project size you choose, just get out that bag of wonderful leftovers and don’t let them cower in the dark. They are way more interesting than you might think! If you need more leftover inspiration, come and visit our group on Ravelry, we have a challenge for 2017 to use up all scraps of yarn and make lovely projects with them!