Finished Friday: Knitting Socks from Leftover Yarn

Between the holidays and my new drawing class, I’ve been rather distracted, so my latest knitting project was understandably simple. I figured my best bet was to make yet another pair of socks from the pattern I know so well. The only problem: I didn’t have enough of any one sock yarn for a whole pair. My solution: combine the tag ends of yarn from socks I’d already made into a single pair.

These socks show the different yarns I used. My campaign to use up my leftovers was so successful that I haven't got any yarn left from the first three pairs.
These socks show the different yarns I used. (My campaign to use up my leftovers was so successful that I haven’t got any yarn left to photograph.)

To make the socks look like they belong together, I did my best to mix the yarns up as I went. I alternated two yarns throughout the body of the socks, knitting stripes two rows wide. I made several mistakes, knitting an extra row occasionally. I also ran out of yarn in the middle of a stripe and would just change it. I think the stray errors help keep the striping on the socks from being too predictable. The color changes in the yarns also helped with that.

If you look closely, you'll see that not all the stripes are the same width.
If you look closely, you’ll see that not all the stripes are the same width.
Socks made using four different self-striping yarns.
Socks made using four different self-striping yarns.

I didn’t bother to change yarns when knitting a toe or heel. I did carry the yarn into the body of the sock to help tie the toe and heel colors to the rest of the sock.

These were fun to knit, more interesting that working with just one yarn, and I like the narrow stripes I got. They look like they were made from leftovers, but I like that about them, too. No one is going to think I got these from a store!

What do you do with leftover yarn from a knitting or crochet project?

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

11 thoughts on “Finished Friday: Knitting Socks from Leftover Yarn”

  1. Most of my recent knitting is with wool worsted. I have a pattern for a felted potholder I want to try when the kid mittens are finished…they still need to be felted too…only 3 more to go!

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    1. My few experiments with felting didn’t go well. Most of the yarn I own is for socks, so it’s machine-washable and won’t felt! Some day I’ll have to try it again with the right kind of yarn. Pot holders sound like a great starter project for felting.

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  2. How clever! My yarn stash is languishing in boxes. When I feel inspired I crochet them up into squares to make rugs. I then donate the rug to the local old folk’s home.

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    1. Thanks. I like your idea, too. I keep thinking I need to find charities to knit for. I only need so many pairs of socks. 😉 Granny square afghans seem like they would be a good way to use up scrap yarn, too.

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