Stash Busters: What to Knit with Leftover Yarn

As knitters, we tend to amass a fair amount of yarn. Not all of us have a yarn-hoarding problem, but in my experience, it is the rule more often than the exception. All of the lovely fiber holds the promise of becoming a lovely sweater, or maybe a scarf, or a fantastic shawl. But once some precious skeins are taken from the stash and knit into something, there is likely a tiny bit of that yarn left, too much to dispose of, but not enough to make anything substantial. What is one to do with that tiny ball of remaining yarn? Add it back to the stash? I tend to pile up those tiny yarn-ball scraps until they form a small mountain and I can no longer add to it without it tumbling down. Then, I know it is time to do some serious stash-busting.

When you’re ready to clear out some of those leftovers from your stash, here are a few ideas of what to make.

Cup Sleeves

What goes with knitting better than a nice, hot beverage? Whether you are team coffee, team tea, or drink both, you can appreciate the function and cuteness-factor of a hand-knit cup sleeve. These work up quickly and allow you to pass on the cardboard sleeve. Just stash one in your purse or bag, and you are good to go. They are also a really nice gift item. I like to make a few of these throughout the year and give them out during the holidays.

As is fitting of a stash-buster, these also don’t take much yarn. Another nice option is to make a striped version, using up several different scraps from your stash.

Here are a few free cup sleeve patterns to get you started:

Baby Items

If there is a little one in your life, baby items are probably already on your to-knit list. However, you can also make knitted baby items for hospitals and charities, such as The Preemie Project. I like to make simple baby hats and booties, both of which take up very little yarn. One suggestion when using scraps of leftover yarn is to use a different color for the brim of the hat and the cuffs of the booties. As I mentioned with the cup sleeves, you can also always do stripes to use less of each scrap ball of yarn and stretch it a bit further.

Here are a couple of basic free baby patterns: 

Work-As-You-Go Scrap Projects

If you like to use a lot of the same yarn brand, type, or weight for your projects, a work-as-you-go scrap project might be a great option for your stash-busting. How this works is to start a larger project, such as a scarf or even a blanket, using a scrap of leftover yarn. Then, when you have another piece of the same yarn weight, you add that on to the project. I find this works best when you have the same brand and weight, but it can be done with different brands of the same weight, too, as long as they are comparable. Work-as-you-go scrap scarves or blankets may take a long time to complete, but they can make for some truly unique and rewarding projects.

Check out some inspiration for larger scrap projects here:

Sediment Scraps Blanket

Scrap Yarn Linen Stitch Triangular Scarf

So, what will you do to bust that stash? Feel free to share other ideas, photos, and links in the comments below.

Happy Knitting!

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