I never throw away scrap yarn. Never. Just can’t bring myself to do it. If it’s more than a few inches long I save it – that’s room enough for several stitches at least! I do abhor the thought of hanging on to useless objects though, so I try to find ways to use up those scraps.
So far my strategy has been hexipuffs. I’ve been collecting hexipuffs for a future Beekeeper’s Quilt for almost two years now. Every time I knit something and have a partial skein leftover I knit a hexipuff or two out of it. I acquired a vast array of miniskeins for the express purpose of hexipuffing them. It’s been very satisfying, and has gone a long way towards using up my leftover yarn.
However, it hasn’t gone far enough. Each puff takes about 12 yds of yarn to complete. That’s great! But what about lengths of yarn that aren’t quite 12 yds? What do I do with those? Every miniskein I use to knit a hexipuff is longer than 12 yds, but frustratingly not quite 24 yds long. That means I can get a single hexipuff out of each miniskein, and be left with anywhere from 5-10 yds leftover – not an insignificant amount of scrap yarn. I also don’t want to have my finished blanket dominated by a single color, so when I have a partial skein leftover from a project I only knit one or two hexipuffs out of it, even if there is enough left to make 10.
I used to give these leftover bits of yarn to my sister, who would add them to her ever-growing Frankenscarf. It’s just a plain stockinette scarf that she continually and chaotically adds to whenever she comes across some string. She knits it without any regard to gauge, yarn weight, color choice, or stripe size. It’s kind of awesome. Not my aesthetic, but awesome. It is, however, over 23 feet long now, so I don’t think she needs any more of my scraps.
What should I do with them then?
Have you ever seen City of Ember? If you haven’t, you should. It’s a great little sci-fi/fantasy aimed at children, but not so twee that it’s painful for an adult to watch. I loved the story and the adventure of it, but there was another thing that made my crafty heart skip a beat – the costumes! The setting is an underground city that has been isolated for 200 years, so everything in their world is pieced together from recycled bits of long-defunct objects. The clothing is no different. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I still remember being mesmerized by Lina Mayfleet‘s sweaters. They looked like they were knit or woven from threads pulled from a million other fabrics.
I loved that concept and thought that it would be a great way to use up leftovers. Maybe on a smaller scale though.
Enter A Study in Scraps: Sock #1. I was updating my queue on Ravelry and came across this gem and had an “a-ha” moment. The pattern photos show how the socks would look with only two different yarns, but I plan to take the “scraps” part of the title VERY seriously. I figure I could come up with two somewhat similar socks if I knit them 2-at-a-time and cut each scrap in half so I can split them up for the two feet. Will they have a lot of ends to weave in? YES. Will it be worth it? Probably.
I gathered up all of my scraps and stuck them in a box with a clear plastic top (another object I had kept, thinking I’d eventually find a use for). Based on my previous sock projects, I should need about 100 g of yarn for a pair of socks. I have 64 g so far, mostly from leftover miniskeins that hadn’t found their way into my sister’s scarf. I can’t wait until I have enough scraps to make these socks. Clearly I need to knit faster.