what to do with odds and ends

I like most here have lots of left over bits of yarn from various projects made over the years.
I was wondering how others decide what to do with it all. It would be good to know how much yarn it takes to make various items, for example a scarf or a pair of gloves or a dishcloth. I realise that it depends on the weight of the yarn and needle sizes used, but there must be rough estimates.
There's nothing worse than starting a project only to discover that you don't quite have enough to finish it.
So any ideas what to do with the odds yarns left lying in the bottom of the cupboard?



YarnGuy716's picture

I buy a lot of yarn from our Knitting Guild's Annual Yarn Auction. So it is often not enough to make a sweater in my size. Also many times it is a discontinued yarn, or the manufacturer is out of business, or it's mystery yarn with no ball bands on it. In these cases I get creative, looking for as similar yarn that I can that will compliment it.

I made a sweater last year, thinking I would have enough of yarn I bought at the auction. I made the front and back and was left with what looked barely enough to make a sleeve. The yarn was a heathered grey, with flecks of colors in it. I bought a worsted weight wool that picked up one if those colors. I knit the sleeves from the shoulders down until I ran out of grey, then switched yarns. I also knit the neckband using the complimentary yarn. It gave it a look of a short sleeve t-shirt over a long sleeve shirt and come out great.

For those odds and ends, look for "stash buster" projects. A scarf knit sideways using a different yarn, or combinations of yarns each row. A bag combining different yarns with wool yarns and then being felted. You can get some really interesting results that look great.

I used a lot of odds and ends to make an afghan by changing colors every two rows. I chose the yarns more or less at random, and the overall effect was colorful and quite interesting. Rather than weave in all the "tails" along the right-hand side, I covered them up with a crocheted border.

VillageKnittiot's picture

DEpending on how attached you are to your odds'n'ends, I tend to find a charity for them. My LYS had a 'guilt-free' shopping day where she bought back all sorts of yarn no matter how much, how little, what fiber or where it was purchased. She then takes that yarn and uses it for her community classes at schools and retirement homes. (she bought the yarn back at 1.00 per pound.) It was a great way to clear out my old stash (acrylic.. UGH!) and all those little bits of this'n'that that was taking up room in my closets.

machinarex's picture

How about a log cabin afghan? the pattern is variable as far as how many rows and whatnot, so it seems pretty well suited to using up odds and ends.


Tallguy's picture

I took a bag of all the odds and ends I could find (not all of them were mine) and fished out one ball. I wound about an arm's length, or two, into a ball, and then reached in and pulled out another ball, adding it to the first. I continued this way, adding about 2-3 yards (metres) until I had a great big ball of multi-coloured yarns. If I had a thinner yarn, I would double it, or use two complimentary colours. I didn't worry about yarn content. I just tied the ends with a weaver's knot.

With the end from the centre of the ball, I started knitting a circular item, in the style of EZ. I allowed the colours to come up as they were in the ball, and I would un-do the knot and knit in the ends when I came to them. As time went on, I didn't even untie the knots!

And I ended up with a colourful circular afghan! It was really wonderful to see how that same yellow was more intense when next to a dark colour, or how it took on different tones when next to others. It was a discovery in how colours work together!

Eventually, I got tired of knitting this, and ended it when I had over 2000 stitches on my longest circular needles; it's almost 6 feet across. I'll try posting a pic when I can find it.

You can knit this as a rectangular piece, or even as a sweater in the round. There's no end of ways to use this yarn that goes with everything!