Most knitters have a box, a basket or even a drawer full off leftover yarn from projects. But how do you know how much yarn is left? And what do you do you do with it?

I collect leftover yarn like there’s no tomorrow…most knitters are the same! Keeping track of what you have leftover can be as time consuming as managing your stash.

Recently I have been reviewing my stash to work out a plan of action to stash down in 2015. As part of this stash overhawl I’ve been cataloging my leftovers (though I’m not counting them as part of my mileage stashdown count…just in case a certain person was wondering! Lol It’s just an experiment to see how much leftover yarn I actually have…and hopefully help me focus on projects to use it up).

How do you work out yards left?

The first thing you need to know is work out what the yarn is…if you have a photographic memory like me that’s not too hard. If your a member of ravelry you could work out the yarn by scanning through your projects pages. Worse case scenario you have no idea…then ask your knit buddies…it’s surprising how some knitters just know what the yarn is from having a squish. For the leftovers you have no darn idea what they are we will come to them later…leave that pile to the side…there is other ways to use these up.

Once you have worked out what the yarn is then you’ll need to grab a set of scales and weigh the ball to see how many grams are left. Most households have some form of cooking scales which can work fine. I actually use a mini scale that is sold for jewellery merchants to weigh gold…your probably thinking its just because my yarn is as precious as gold ;-)…but it was so I weigh my yarn more acurately – I can get 0.000grams on the scale.

Once you know what the yarn is and how much is left then you can do a little mathematics to work out what is leftover. For example you have 10gs of yarn that is 150 yards per 50grams.  So 150/50 is 3 yards per gram.  So that would be 3×10 = 30.  So you would have 30 yards leftover.  Yes it’s as simple as that!

To store your left overs you can add a little sticky note with the details of the yarn and the yards left, and pop both into a small plastic food bag.

What do you do with your leftovers?

If your a member of ravelry you can get access to a huge volume of patterns that use small amounts of yarn.  There are a few particular favourites that keep trending on the threads.  Some of my personal favourites are:

1.  The Beekeepers Quilt

Individual little hexipuffs made using left over sock yarn (or any other fingering weight yarn) that can be sewn together to create a blanket or quilt.  They are knit in the round and are very portable projects (just like socks) that can be knit on the train, bus, in a queue or while chatting with friends.  This pattern has been so popular on ravelry there are currently almost 8,000 projects.  Now that’s a lot of hexipuffs!

2.  Vertices Unite

This is a Stephen West shawl.  It was one of three shawls released for Westknits Summer KAL 2014.  The shawl itself is formed from geometric shapes which gives the knitter scope for playing around with lots of colours.  Its built from the centre like a jigsaw and finished with a very pretty i-cord border.

3. Turn a Square

This is a hat design by Jared Flood (AKA Brooklyn Tweed).  It uses worsted weight yarn and as the pattern is striped you can create using your leftovers.  I have made a couple of these myself and it makes a great last minute gift.

4. Care of Magical Creatures Charm Bracelet

There are actually three versions of this bracelet (the link above is for the second one but the other can be easily found on ravelry).  Nothing more I can say than what a cute way to use up your leftovers!!

5. ZickZack Scarf

This is a free download on ravelry for a chevron scraft that can be made with numerous small amount of yarn – think enough for one or two rows at a time.

6. Baby Surprise Jacket

The legend that is ‘Elizabeth Zimmerman’ herself created this baby jacket pattern back in 1968 and it is still a firm favourite among the knitting world. Commonly referred to as BSJ the pattern has an amazing construction – you don’t actually know what its going to look like until the magic folding at the end.

7. POP Blanket

Designed by Tincan Knits through inspiration from American Pop Art this blanket can be made to any size desired.  It uses approximately 35 yards of yarn for per square and is a very portable project for on the go.

8. Saartje’s Bootees

If you need an emergency baby gift then these bootees are the way to go.  They are very cute and you can play with various colours to get different looks.  Then just add buttons, a little sewing of ends and they are ready to keep baby toes snug and warm.

9. Stitch Sampler Shawl

Anyone who knows me well knows that I do loves my shawls.  This one is very good for learning new stitch patterns and playing around with colour combinations.

10. Memory Blanket

Mitered squares individually created and sewn together to form any sized blanket you like.  A nice way to keep little bits of yarn from projects as your children grow as a memory of both the item knitted and the person you made it for.

What about the little pile of yarn you said to leave over to the side?

Well what better way to use those leftovers that you have no idea what the yarn is by making POMPOMS!!! 🙂


  1. you wouldn’t be referring to me in there now, would you? 🙂

    1. Of course not!!! 😉

  2. Great ideas for using up leftovers 🙂 Thanks.

    1. Thanks for the lovely feedback 🙂

  3. We should have a leftover-along at some point! I have leftovers that are years and year old.

  4. Oh not sure where my reply went! I meant have a leftover KAL in the Belfast SnB ravelry group!

    1. I have to approve before they go on the page 🙂
      Love idea of a leftover KAL!!

  5. […] SCRAPS. I love my scrap bag! It’s clearly all stuff I love and I’d like to use again. MinaLoves has a great post about yarn […]

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