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kmmcall 01-09-2005 12:23 PM

Left over yarn
Hi! I've recently returned to my knitting hobby and have made a few beginner projects. I'm quickly realizing that at the end of my projects there's a generally leftover yarn. My questions for you long-time knitters is:
1. How much leftover yarn is ok to save and when isn't it enough to be worth keeping?
2. What are your recommendations for keeping/storing left yarn?

Thank you!

Egeria 01-09-2005 05:31 PM

Well I generally use my leftovers to knit a sample swatch. That way if someone wants me to knit then something (hat, scarf, sweater etc) I can show them the different colours. It works for me and saves me having little bits and ends pieces.

I would use less than half a skein however, as I have seen some projects online that use leftovers for projects. I'll see if I can find the link to that.

amy 01-09-2005 09:38 PM

Welcome Kmmcall!

The only time I don't keep left-over yarn is: if I decide it's ugly and I'll never use it (then I donate it), or if it's a complete skein of really expensive leftover yarn and I can return it to the LYS.

It doesn't matter how little the left-over ball is. If I like it, I'll keep it! I have a couple of zip lock bags of all my teeny-tiny balls; one day I'll make some wild project with them! I like to sort them by similar type, yarns that work well together.

I've just been sorting through my yarn today, and getting more organized. I've recently decided to use zip-lock bags galore. All of my works-in-progress are now in their own bag, with their associated balls of yarn. All of my left-over skeins are in their own bag, with same-color or otherwise matching skeins.

The nice things about keeping my yarn in zip-lock bags, besides keeping it well sorted, is 1) it never gets tangled, 2) it keeps the skeins in like-new condition, even when they're carried in my knitting bag for weeks. This is especially good if you think you'll want to return extra skeins to the store--they'll still look great. And 3) if the yarn labels fall off, you can keep them in the bag, so they don't get lost or mixed up with other labels. (Until I get organized enough to write down all the yarn types I've used with something I'm working on, I save the labels.)

I've got a big basket with all of my acrylic yarn in it. I don't use acrylic very often, but I have a huge stash of it from my younger crochet-afghan days. But since I don't like mixing it with my wools, in projects, I've got it seperated into it's own basket.

I've also got my "Stash Trunk," an old-fashioned trunk which I lined with a nice, mellow wrapping paper, and have organized with a few cardboard dividers (covered with matching paper). I've got three sections: my favorite wool stash, waiting to inspire me; my works-in-progress; and my finished objects that I haven't given away yet.

The best organizing decision I ever made as far as my yarn and spinning-wool goes, was to put up a couple of high shelves in my office/studio. They're about 16" from the ceiling, on opposite sides of the room. They are perfect for keeping baskets of yarn and wool-ready-to-spin. As well as a couple of boxes of things. I stained the shelves, and hung them up with nice brackets. They weren't that expensive, and they look great. And I don't know what I would do with all that stuff, if it weren't up and out of my way! It would probably be in the basement (tragic!). It's so nice to have it all within reach, and it actually adds to the atmosphere. Nothing like baskets with yarn peeking out, and nice wood, to look at!


kmmcall 01-09-2005 11:00 PM

Hi Amy,
You've given me a lot of great ideas to get organized! I guess it's not a bad idea to be a pack rat...someday our little bits of yarn might come in it's a matter of convincing my husband of that! :)
Thanks for sharing...

amy 01-12-2005 12:29 PM

I'm thrifty by nature, and also an environmentalist. I would never dream of actually throwing yarn into the trash, if it was longer than a few feet! (I even compost my itty-bitty scraps of wool! LOL) I can't imagine donating such little balls, because who would want them? So I save them, and determine to use them somehow. It's also great to have one of those balls in your knitting bag, along with an innexpensive pair of needles, to give away to someone you've just taught to knit! :)


Originally Posted by kmmcall
I guess it's not a bad idea to be a pack rat...someday our little bits of yarn might come in handy...

It's always nice to have a wide color selection, even if it's small balls, because if you're ever making a motif, like of an animal, and need pink for the nose, brown for the eyes, or whatever, you'll be glad you didn't throw out that bit of brown! :)

I've decided to start making charity hats, so that I always have an easy, mindless project on hand. I was thinking it would be neat to do an inch or two of fair isle, in a hat. It would be a great way to use up such yarn. I figure I could do lots of different-colored fair isle areas, against the same background, if I wanted to use lots of scrap yarn. The possibilities are endless. One could even just go with solid bands of color, and make a very colorful striped hat. I like a creative challenge, and the possibilites are endless!

Lisa Perry 01-12-2005 11:44 PM

In all those left overs I was hoping someone had Red Heart Pink 371
I had an afghan started a while back and rediscovered it but am short the yarn. I can't seem to find it in any of the stores. Is Wal-Mart getting rid of Red Heart? It's the very pale pink.

Thanks so much!

Lisa Perry 01-12-2005 11:48 PM

The first afghan I made was from my mother's scrap yarn. I was 12 and I used the shell pattern. My kids still use it today. It's so full of memories. I see everything my mother ever made in that afghan. Sweaters for my nephews & nieces. My first mini dress. My favorite hat. The list goes on. My afghan of many colors & memories. When my scrap ball ran out that's where I picked up the next color. It's crude but I love it!

amy 01-13-2005 12:52 AM

Welcome Lisa Perry!

I love your afghan story. :)

I don't have that pink color, sorry. But I bet someone does! You might try posting the request to the "Buy/Sell/Swap" forum section.


amy 01-13-2005 01:00 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Here's a few pictures I took today, to show you all my yarn organizing system (outlined above).

knittingnanna 01-13-2005 09:15 AM

Oh Amy, I love your room, it is so cozy looking. I also use ziplock bags to organize my stuff. I sure wish I had a spare room I could use for all my crafts.

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