KNIT HACK: Leftovers – Keep or Purge?


Moth Holes  Extra Yarn

Leftovers: Keep or Purge?

What do you do with the leftover yarn from your knitting/crochet projects? Is it useful? Should I keep some? Should I use it in a scrap project? Should I bring it to a yarn swap or give it to charity? Good question. The answer it yes and no.

When to Keep

Garments and other knits in use occasionally need to be repaired, and when the time comes and you have a bit of the original yarn to do it with you will feel like a GENIUS and pat yourself on the back many times over for having the forethought to put aside the scraps.

Case Study: Jo’s Sweater

See the picture above? That is Jo-Anne’s FAVOURITE sweater. It’s the first sweater she ever made for herself, it’s her favourite sweater, and it fits her perfectly. She’s a purger, she brings me her bits to give away when she’s done, and they go to charity. Fast forward almost exactly a year, Jo washed Principessa (my name, Jo doesn’t reify inanimate knitwear objects), and the beloved sweater came down with a bad case of moth holes on the inside of both forearms (there must have been something yummy on them for the moths to munch).  I know, OUCH. But Jo is a lucky lady, because I have a thing for that yarn (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light), and when she finished this project I kept her leftovers in my own little hoardy stash. We’ll mend Jo’s sweater and Principessa will be good as new!

What to Keep?

  • Sweater repairs are usually small moth holes or catches and don’t usually require a lot of yarn. I’m conservative and worry about shortage, so I wind off a bobbin of about 4 to 5 grams (you never know when the moths will really go to town).
  • Blankets are like sweaters, they usually suffer from small moth holes or mild unravelling. If the yarn is solid coloured I save a bit, but if it is a self striping or ombre like a Noro I keep as much as I can – you never know which part of the colourway is going to be needed.
  • Sock repairs are more intensive because the holes are usually caused by wear. I also like to repair my socks when they are starting to show wear, and then use swiss darning/duplicate stitch to shore them up. This takes a lot more yarn than you’d expect, I save as much as I can for this. Regular darning uses less yarn but it isn’t as pretty.


Moth Holes  Extra Yarn 2

How to Keep It?

  • Wind your bits into Butterfly Bobbins (picture above): How-to Video 
  • Keeps each project’s extra yarn in it’s own little ziplock baggie (11cm x 12cm/4.3″ x 4.7″) and label it with the project and yarn name. For sweater bits I use special little baggies (I get them from Dollarama, you can find them in the Craft section near the beads & ribbon).
  • Keep your mending bits together in a separate box or bag, away from your knitting stash. Treat extra yarn from commercial sweaters the same way, you can keep it all together. You should also keep extra buttons together with the yarn. I think of it as mending materials and keep mine in my sewing box.
  • Enter your project into Ravelry with all the details (yarn name + colour + dye lot, needle size) in case your need that info later  – it’s a good back-up in case something goes AWOL.

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