Here you’ll learn all of the fun and inspirational things you can do with leftover yarn, so you can clean up your yarn stash without throwing good yarn away. You’ll find a list of some of the best scrap yarn knitting projects out there, along with a selection of knitting patterns that you can work up with just 1 or 2 balls of scrap yarn.
Knitters, crocheters, and crafters all have one thing in common: balls, skeins, and scraps of leftover yarn that we don’t know what to do with.
If that sounds familiar, don’t worry: you are not alone!
Figuring out what to do with leftover yarn can be frustrating. Most of the time, your stash of yarn scraps will be a mix of different colors, fibers, and weights that don’t necessarily match. Even if they do match, there’s typically not enough of it to complete a new project.
So do you throw it away? Recycle it? Or can you actually make something worthwhile with it?
Of course you can.
There are hundreds of knitting projects and patterns that can bring new life to your yarn scraps. You can combine all of your leftover yarn together to make one big project, or you can create lots of little things with individual scraps.
Summary: What You Can Make With Scraps of Leftover Yarn
Here’s a summary of the 15 best things you can make with your yarn scraps:
- Knitted Bookmarks
- Scrappy Hat
- Scrap Yarn Blanket
- Hot Water Bottle Cover
- Scrappy Socks
- Pom Poms
- Granny Squares
In this article, we’ll explain some of the best options there are for using your leftover yarn efficiently without throwing it away.
We’ll list some fun, free, and easy scrap yarn knitting projects that you can make with less than one ball of spare yarn. We’ll also suggest some knitting patterns that are perfectly suited for using up any small bundles of leftover yarn you’ve got lying around.
What’s In This Guide?
- What Can You Do With Scraps of Leftover Yarn?
- 15 Easy Scrap Yarn Knitting Projects
- 8 Hand-Picked Scrap Yarn Knitting Patterns
What Can You Do With Scraps of Leftover Yarn?
If you’re overwhelmed by scrap yarn from previous projects or old hobbies, you don’t have to throw it away, and you don’t have to start a new project from scratch, either.
In fact, there are lots of other ways to put old or leftover yarn to good use. Here are some ideas:
- Practice new techniques. Scraps of yarn are great for testing new stitches and techniques, especially if it’s a type of yarn you don’t like. With just one or two balls of scrap yarn, you can practice more complicated stitch patterns, try different methods of colorwork, or even attempt to learn a new craft. If you make a mistake, it simply doesn’t matter.
- Recycle it. If you’ve decided not to use your leftover yarn, you can avoid throwing it in the trash by sending it in for recycling. Almost any type of yarn can be recycled, as long as it’s clean and free of any long-lasting stains. You can send your unwanted scraps into companies like Hedgehog Fibers, or check with your local authorities to find out how best to recycle textiles in your area.
- Give it to charity. Lots of charities will happily accept donations of unused yarn. Charities like The Magic Yarn Project or Crochet for Cancer use crafts to bring joy to vulnerable people, so your leftover yarn can help contribute to a good cause.
- Combine scraps of yarn into one giant ball. If you’ve got lots of leftover yarn that’s the same weight and type, you can combine it into one giant yarn ball and use it to keep knitting or crocheting.
- Use small scraps for a small project. If you don’t want to follow a pattern or make a big commitment, there are lots of small, fun scrap yarn knitting projects that you can make with just one or two balls of leftover yarn. We’ve listed some of the best options later on in this guide for you to choose from.
- Follow a pattern. Once your scrap pile has grown big enough, you can use it to follow a knitting or crochet pattern that’s specifically designed for scraps. There are hundreds of knitting patterns for patchwork blankets or striped scarves that are great for this. We’ve listed some later on in this article, too!
- Mend clothes. Tiny yarn scraps can be perfect for mending old knitwear. If you’ve found holes in an old sweater or cardigan, try weaving in some similar scrap yarn to patch them up.
- Throw it away. Truthfully, not all scrap yarn can be saved. We strongly encourage recycling or repurposing leftover yarn where possible, but sometimes there’s simply nothing you can do with it. If you’ve had the same yarn lying around for months and you’ve run out of options, forgive yourself and make some space in your stash (we won’t judge you).
What Can You Do With Yarn You Don’t Like?
If you’ve got lots of leftover yarn you don’t like, the best option is to use it to practice new techniques or give it to charity.
This is especially true if you’ve got different types of leftover yarn that don’t match, or you simply don’t have enough of it to make something worthwhile.
If that’s the case, you can put it to good use by knitting swatches or testing out new stitches that you’re less familiar with. If you make a mistake, you can simply discard it — you don’t like the yarn anyway!
15 Easy Scrap Yarn Knitting Projects to Clean Up Your Stash (1 or 2 Balls of Yarn)
Of course, now we’ve explained all of the different things you can do with your yarn without starting a new project, it’s time to get to the fun part.
If you don’t want to recycle your old yarn or throw it away, the best thing you can do is start a new project that will get your creativity flowing and put those scraps to good use.
In this list, we’ve summarized the best scrap yarn knitting projects you can use to bust your stash and make some space in your yarn basket.
These are all smaller projects that you can make with single skeins, leftover balls, and tiny scraps that otherwise seem too small to do anything useful with. Many of them require just one ball of yarn or less.
There’s something for everyone here: practical everyday items, jewelry, toys, and even gifts for your friends and family. These projects are fun, super quick, and guaranteed to use up all of your leftover yarn scraps!
Here we go:
You can knit a dishcloth in a few hours with just one ball of yarn. They’re practical, very easy to work up, and there are tons of great patterns out there to walk you through the process.
If you’ve decided on knitting a dishcloth and you’re searching through your scrap pile, it’s best to use a yarn with a rougher texture where possible. Synthetic yarns make a great choice as they’re often more durable and quicker to dry out.
This is a great choice if you’ve got some old yarn you don’t like — knit up a few different dishcloths and put it to good use!
Just like dishcloths, knitted coasters can take your leftover yarn and make it into something useful for your home.
Whether you follow a knitting pattern or not, coasters are super easy to work up using simple knit and purl stitches or garter stitch. If you’ve got any unusual or novelty yarns lying around, you can use those to add a unique touch, too. Less than one ball will be plenty!
Did you know you can knit your own jewelry? Not many people do!
In fact, you can create dozens of types of necklace, bracelet, and earrings using just tiny scraps of yarn — you don’t even need an entire ball.
These little accessories are simple to make using basic knitting techniques. In some cases, you can simply braid your scraps together by hand to craft a friendship bracelet for those closest to you.
These make wonderful gifts and require very little yarn, so you can make several in no time.
Headbands and Earwarmers
If you’ve got enough spare yarn lying around and you actually like how it looks, headbands are small and simple projects that will only require a ball or two.
This is an especially good option if you want to use your scrap yarn on something you can actually wear, rather than on a practical item like a coaster or dishcloth.
Headbands can be quickly knitted using any type of yarn, but soft and stretchy fibers like merino wool or acrylic blends work best for comfort.
If you decide you want to try out a fully-fledged project that’s similar, check out our list of cowl knitting patterns for some more headgear ideas.
It doesn’t get easier or scrappier than this — knitted bookmarks are an excellent way to use up your leftover yarn in less than an hour.
You can experiment with different stitch patterns or add small embellishments for a personalized touch. If you knit several, you can even give them away as gifts for special people in your life.
There are some beautiful bookmark knitting patterns available on Etsy and Ravelry, but the beauty of this option is that you don’t even need a pattern.
You can simply knit your yarn scraps into a rectangle just like you’d knit a regular swatch. It’s that easy!
Feel like going retro with your leftover yarn? Then embrace the ’90s with some knitted scrunchies! They’re fun, practical, and great for using up scraps in lots of different colors.
If you can, we recommend using old yarn with good elasticity, such as cotton blends or even sock yarn made from a blend with polyamide.
Amigurumi is the Japanese name for the art of knitting or crocheting adorable animals, characters, and toys.
There are endless amigurumi patterns and designs out there to satisfy your creativity. Amigurumi projects vary in size too, so you can create big or small toys depending on how much yarn you’ve got in your stash.
Who knows, your leftover yarn might be the motivation you need to start learning a brand new craft!
Scrappy Knitted Hat
Hats are one of the very few garments that can be knitted with just one or two balls of yarn, which means you can usually knit one up using your scraps. Beanies and knitted beret patterns typically use the smallest amount of yarn, so we recommend giving one of those a try.
This option is best if you’ve got some high-quality yarn leftover that you actually like. Ideally, it’ll be wool or a wool blend that can give your hat the warmth and elasticity it needs. This might be a leftover yarn knitting project, but you still want to make a hat you can actually wear!
If you’re a seasoned knitter, you should be able to knit up a basic beanie without following a pattern. If not, you can find hat patterns designed specifically for scrap yarn on marketplaces like Etsy and Ravelry. We’ve listed some later on in this guide, too.
Scrap Yarn Blanket
Why not transform your yarn scraps into a beautiful patchwork blanket? With this project, you can mix and match different colors, textures, and weights to create something truly unique.
Blankets can be a great way to blast through a pile of half-finished skeins, especially if you’ve got lots of different colors. You simply knit individual squares in garter stitch and then sew them together.
If you run out of scraps halfway through, just wait a little while for your stash to grow again — then carry on!
For some inspiration, check out our collection of patchwork blanket knitting patterns to see our favorites.
Hot Water Bottle Cover
Another practical project you won’t regret: knitting a hot water bottle cover. With a skein or two of scrap yarn, you can knit a textured hot water bottle cover that will help it stay warmer for longer and feel nicer to the touch. What’s not to love!
If possible, we recommend using any leftover wool or alpaca yarn you’ve got in your stash — it’ll provide more insulation and softness compared to other yarn types.
Scrap yarn socks give you the freedom to combine different colors, textures, and weights to craft something truly unique.
Don’t worry about appearances: the goal here is to use up your stash to create the softest, comfiest socks you can. We recommend using your scraps to knit up a pair of chunky slipper socks to hang around the house in — you won’t regret it!
Spruce up your old knitting projects with knitted pom poms made from your leftover yarn. You can use pom poms to embellish old hats, scarves, or even as standalone decorations.
If you can, we recommend choosing soft and fluffy yarns, such as wool or mohair, for optimal pom pom fluffiness.
Old-school granny squares can be stitched together to create blankets, scarves, or even entire garments. Each square only requires a small amount of yarn, so you can mix and match different colors and textures to create your own patterns and designs.
Granny squares offer endless possibilities for customization, making them a fantastic project for utilizing your leftover yarn.
From miniature mittens to baubles, snowmen, and tiny snowflakes, there are countless ways to turn your leftover yarn into ornaments for different holiday seasons.
You can decorate your Christmas tree, add them to gifts, or simply spread them throughout your house for some festive fun.
Where possible, we recommend choosing leftover yarn that’s durable and can hold its shape, such as cotton or acrylic blends.
Keychains are quick and simple projects that you can knit, crochet, or macrame with very tiny scraps. They offer an opportunity to experiment with different stitch patterns and add your own small embellishments.
Create a personalized keychain as a thoughtful gift, or add a touch of handmade beauty to your own set of keys!
8 Hand-Picked Scrap Yarn Knitting Patterns
Now we’ve listed some of the different projects you can make with your scraps, it’s time to talk about specific knitting patterns.
In this list, we’ve hand-picked knitting patterns that are designed specifically for using scrap yarn. They’ll let you mix and match different colors, and can be adjusted depending on how much yarn you have lying around!
Let’s get started:
1. Chunky Scrap Yarn Beanie Knitting Pattern
|80m = 200g
|100g (Color A)
100g (Color B)
|US Size 19/15mm Circular Needles
This beginner-friendly beanie pattern requires just half a ball of each color, which makes it perfect for scrap yarn. If you’ve only got one color in your stash, you can knit it all in one color, too.
It’s designed with a loose, oversized fit made with super chunky yarn, which makes it very quick to knit — you’ll have emptied your stash in just an hour or two!
2. “Zero to Hero” Chunky Knitted Mittens Pattern
|80m = 200g
|US Size 15/10mm Circular Needles
These knitted mittens are zero-waste, which means they’re specifically designed to help you turn your yarn stash into something meaningful. The easy pattern will guide you through the process of creating a pair of super chunky, scrappy mittens using all of the old skeins you’ve got leftover in your stash.
3. The “Scout” Scrap Yarn Scarf Knitting Pattern
|US Size 5/3.75mm Circular Needles
The “Scout” scarf by Le Pull Designs is designed for beginners looking to learn new techniques with their leftover yarn.
Using approximately 130g of scraps, it’ll help you master ribbing, intarsia, and plain stockinette — and you’ll make a beautiful scarf along the way!
4. The “Cesar” Top by Le Pull Designs
|US Size 10.5/7mm Circular Needles
Another beginner-friendly pattern by Le Pull Designs, the “Cesar” top is also designed to help you let your creativity flow using all of the different yarn scraps you have available.
Worked from the top down using stockinette stitch, it uses approximately 145g to 295g of scraps. It’ll teach you how to work your leftovers together into a beautiful vest without being too prescriptive, so you can create something truly unique.
5. DIY Scrap Yarn Scrunchie Knitting Pattern
|US Size 2.5/3mm Circular Needles
This set includes three different scrunchie knitting patterns in one. They don’t just make great gifts — they also use just a handful of yarn each, making them great for using up your old scraps!
6. The “Everything” Scrap Yarn Sweater Pattern
|100g = 100m (Bulky)
|N/A – See Pattern
|US Size 11/8 mm Circular Needles
It doesn’t get scrappier than this! The “Everything” sweater pattern is entirely experimental by design. That means you can use any type or color of yarn you have leftover, as long as it’s more or less bulky weight and you can meet the prescribed knitting gauge.
The pattern comes with instructions for 9 sizes, and leaves plenty of room for customization.
7. Scarf “No. 1” by My Favourite Things Knitwear
|25g = 100m (Appx.)
|50g (1 Ball)
|US Size 4/3.5 mm Circular Needles
Although not explicitly designed for using scrap yarn, this neck scarf pattern from My Favorite Things Knitwear is still perfectly suitable.
It comes with options for two sizes: a small bandana and a slightly bigger scarf — so you can take your pick depending on how much scrap yarn you have.
More importantly, it uses just one ball of yarn and has no sizing requirements, so you can use whatever you have lying around!
8. Free Scrap Yarn Blanket Knitting Pattern
|N/A – See Pattern
|US Size 8/5mm Circular Needles
Finally, this list wouldn’t be complete without a scrap yarn blanket pattern, and patchwork is the obvious choice.
This pattern is created by combining square garter stitch panels that are then seamed together at the end. It’s about as easy as knitting gets!
You can use as much scrap yarn as you have to build up each square over time, mixing and matching different colors and textures as you go.
What Can I Make With 1 Ball of Yarn?
There are hundreds of different things you can knit with just one ball or approximately 50g of yarn.
You can combine it with brand new or other leftover yarn if you want to start a bigger project, or use it by itself to make small and practical items, or even small garments.
Some popular projects include knitted dishcloths, bookmarks, keychains, scrunchies, and even ornaments — all of which use one ball of yarn or less.
If you’d rather make something you can wear, you can use one ball of yarn to make headbands, beanies, berets, scrunchies, and knitted squares for blankets.
How Do I Get Rid of My Yarn Stash?
If you’ve got lots of scrap yarn from previous projects or old hobbies, the most effective way to get rid of it is to use it in a new project or pattern.
However, you don’t have to start a new project — there are lots of other ways to put old or leftover yarn to good use, too.
You can use it to practice new techniques, mend clothes, or even to learn a new craft. If you decide you simply want to get rid of it as soon as possible, you can recycle it, give it to charity, or simply throw it away.
Learn about the different types of yarn texture and how they can affect your knitting projects.
Find out how to fix the most common mistakes in knitting. You’ll learn how to knit backwards, how to unravel your work, and how to prevent mistakes happening.