The system works

The other day last week I was putting away some little ends of fingering weight yarn from a finished project. I have two bins in my stash shelf that are those cube-shaped drawers that fit right into the cube-shaped shelves from that Swedish store that many of us seem to get our stash shelves from. So, the fingering weight ends (essentially, sock yarn remnants) have their own bin that they also share with a few laceweight remnants, and the worsted weight and almost-worsted-weight remnants (DK and bulky get shoved in here too) have their own.

I’m not entirely sure why I keep the leftover bits like this, to be quite honest. It’s a bit of an X-factor. I do know that there are limits to what I will keep. It’s got to be a sizeable enough amount to do something with. A little Christmas cork elf, for example, or maybe mini mittens (Ravelry link) for an ornament or bookmark. Anything that’s well over half a skein still stays in its regular stash place with its full-skein friends, though, so this isn’t a holding station for just anyone. It’s just the little bits of potentially useful stuff, and I hate getting rid of useful stuff.


It turns out that my sock yarn remnants bin is shockingly tidy, even more so since I allowed myself to be distracted for a few minutes that day by winding a few of the more errant bits into proper balls. So I then turned a few procrastinatory minutes to the worsted weight bin which was, well, more of a tangled mess, to be honest. And it’s a remnants drawer, so really, it’s allowed to be messy and I left plenty of mess still behind, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to tend to it a little bit.


I was however, starting to question my system a little bit. I considered to myself that maybe fussing over stash remnants like this was not the best use of my time, and also starting to wonder exactly how many other knitters have their stash remnants organized by weight and neatness, when I got an emergency Tweet from my friend Jo. “Do you have any leftover bits of Tanis DK?” She was trying to finish a baby hat and had literally only 2 inches left to go but had run out.

And you know, I did have that yarn. And friends help out friends with things like extra yarn.


So I sent it off to her and she finished the hats, and all was well in knitting world. The End.

This system works fine.




  1. You’re v organised! I’m the same with my stash, I can’t bring myself to throw out any odds ends – you never know when you might need it!

  2. I stash my remnants by color spectrum. I have several shoebox sized bins with chalkboard labels that I toss them into. It helps create inspiration and organization in my tiny little craft space. And yes – I have a lot of remnants. But you never know when they come in handy!

  3. I like to keep the leftover yarn. You never know…. & waste yarn is needed, too, sometimes.

  4. I keep all my leftover yarn! I use some to do duplicate stitch embroidery on old sweaters I’m bored with, to make multi-coloured pompoms, and one day, to finally make a bee keeper’s quilt! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Linda B. · ·

    I keep my leftover sock yarn, in case I need to re-knit a worn-through heel or toe. And it has happened!

  6. Marie-Josรฉe · ·

    Don’t be ashamed about the way you organise your remnants. At least you’re not making lists… : )

  7. I’m currently putting all my leftovers on my Ravelry Trade or Sell (or Give!) page and already found someone that will be happy to use up some of my leftovers! It grows quite rapidly!

  8. I love your system. I keep most of the odds and ends but just not as well organized. I don’t like to fill up landfills with useful stuff and you just never know. Besides all those odds and ends carry memory and story.

  9. I kept my leftovers separated by weight (sock/everything else) for a long time, but recently upgraded to a larger bin to hold all of my left overs. Time to make a scrap blanket!

  10. I have a couple sock yarn blankets started. I have one that is blocks of squares and then the hexi-puff blanket. I had had the leftovers stuffed into a gallon ziplock but they quickly were starting to overflow that, so getting the blankets started have moved them to a basket waiting to have enough to finish the blankets.

    I have a tote bag with my worsted leftovers. I’m going to try organizing the colors so that I can make the Merrywood Throw – Sometime in the future I’ll end up with a few more blankets to snuggle on the couch while watching tv and knitting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. It’s now nearly 1 a.m. where I am. Thanks for the late-night (ahhh… early morning) chuckle. With all this organized stash inspiration, I should have untangled dreams.

  12. Hi, I keep my leftovers as well and if possible I do math socks or similar socks from the left over sock yarn or other projects. Have a nice day! bjmonitas

  13. It’s perfect! ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, you gotta keep all leftovers! Even small bits!
    For scrap blankets like others have commented already (I like making granny square blankets out of leftovers and so never have many yarn-scraps for long!), or for colorwork and stripey goodness.
    And yes, they keep so many loving memories of the larger projects they became. It’s fun to be reminded of them in whatever they wind up in with their last yards.
    Love from NV

  14. I was finding I didn’t do anything with my left overs, so now they go on my “Sell or Trade” page on Ravelry to send to other UK folk for free. One lady once paid for a whole swag of UK and US yarns to go to Poland so she could they them out before ordering. It feels great to share, although now I do keep left overs that might be fun to try on my new ridgid heddle knitters loom.

    Get post. It’s interesting to see what folk do with leftovers.

  15. Remember too, if you know any teachers or are near a daycare or preschool- they often will be thrilled to take your left overs! My sister and niece both teach and I try to give my ‘overbuys’ and left overs to them and to my granddaughter’s day care as well.

  16. jennybookworm · ·

    I can’t bear to part with even the smallest bits of yarn and in the last six months found a way to enjoy them – I have a half dozen really old lovely glass topped mason jars – the kind you have to use wax to seal and I have separated all my bits by colour groupings that make me happy to see together and they’re in the jars sitting on a shelf looking gorgeous and reminding me of all my previous projects!

  17. Take it is as a compliment that Jo thought your stash was well enough organized that you could find the needed yarn. That might be a problem for some.

  18. Those bits are good for all KINDS of things! Swatching, seaming (when you run out of the normal yarn, or are seaming something bulky), stripes – probably good for things that don’t start with “S” as well…

  19. You’re right. That’s an excellent system!

  20. Yes!!!!! I was once almost completely finished with 55 blocks of my sister in law’s baby blanket when I ran out of the yarn I needed. LYS? no dice. Online? out of stock. Good knitting friend who also likes the Berroco Vintage? Had a quarter skein which was all I needed. Friends do these things for friends:)

  21. I keep all my little remnants in a similar manner. I’ve been sorting through and trying to be realistic about whether some of my yarn bits are actually usable. But, I have such a hard time with the idea of throwing away yarn.

  22. Heather · ·

    Dang that is tidy! I should neaten up mine. : )

    If your remnant stash starts to overfloweth, consider knitting small items for a charity such as Afghans for Afghans. I’ve been putting some of my leftovers to good use.

  23. I’ve been giving left over yarn and unwanted skiens to my niece who crochetes Wicked dolls.

  24. Hooray for helping out a fellow knitter! I too keep little odd balls, although my stash is in no way nearly as tidy as yours (which I’m sure you know). I keep telling myself I’m do some sort of scrappy destashing scarf one day, although I suspect that day will never come.

  25. My stash remnants live in a giant ziplock bag, safe from moths. I save them in case something needs repair, and I’ve actually used some for this purpose, so I guess my system works too. Haven’t heard about the storage shelves from the Swedish store, but we don’t have one of those here in Kingston anyway.

  26. Yup, I’ve got my remnants organized by yarn weight too — they live in glass cookie jars on top of my swedish shelving system. It’s amazing how often they come in handy!

  27. I organize my remnants by the size of the remnant. I have larger ones in clear drawers. The smaller ones (that really just have a foot or two of yarn) are stuck in a clear vase and used as a colorful decoration in my craft area.

    I’ve just recently begun knitting socks, and I’m keeping the leftovers but not sure what to do with them. The comments here gave me a few ideas.

  28. All my sock yarn leftovers have been doubled and used for charity knitting:Afghans for Afghans and Minneapolis’ Hats for the Homeless. I always have one of those projects going along with whatever else I’m knitting, and those little amounts always can be worked into something

  29. I used to think I was mad keeping all my leftover bits of yarn, especially the short bits! But boy have they been useful for finishing off little bits of embroidering or making small iems like keyring charms!

  30. You’re very tidy and neat compared to me.. I have all sorts of yarn stashed away in big tubs and sometimes I don’t realize I have certain colors until I go into the bins… And yet, I still buy more. Oh well… keeps me busy ๐Ÿ™‚ and out of trouble.

  31. Love it. I started a log cabin baby blanket with my leftover Tanis aran and it’s coming up beautifully. I like the idea that if scraps are too small to do much with, but too big to throw away, they become pom poms. You use every inch and that always feels great.

  32. Cathie J · ·

    Just did the same organizing today. Couldn’t believe how much yarn I actually have. Most of my yarn is from crocheted projects or inherited. I just started knitting and love reading your blog. I use the very smallest of bits of yarn to make the centers of granny squares. I have made two scrap yarn afghans that used up maaaaany little bits. One I kept, the other I donated.

  33. I always keep my remnants over a certain length. Sock yarn remnants make great crazy socks, and heavier weight remnants are perfect for small projects like ornaments, plushies, etc. You also never know, like you said above, when someone will ask if anyone has a bit of a certain yarn that they can test out. Someone did that for me once and I always love to return the favor.

  34. My yarn is separated by color, except for my sock yarn, it’s in a container all by itself. And well I do keep my remnants, but at the current moment most of them are stuck back in a tub of whatever color they are. I used to keep them in their own containers, but that was back when I was living in an apt and had more room instead of living in my old bedroom at home working on grad school, so I have limited space.

  35. I make linen-stitch scarves with leftovers. Sometimes it means having one on the needle for a while so that I can create some more leftovers(!), but they’re great scarves and the colour changes are lovely, especially with leftovers of handpainted sockyarn. I’m always on the lookout for leftovers of sockyarn!

  36. I am forever grateful that you are this organized!!! The baby shower was 10 days ago and the hats were received with much pleasure.

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