Scrap yarn projects - tips, inspiration and guides

Sweater knitted from yarn scraps

In our series on different knitting techniques we have reached the topic 'Scrap yarn projects' ✨ You can find the rest of the posts and learn new knitting techniques on our knitting blog.

Scrap yarn projects is a very relevant topic, that is very close to our heart. It supports the notion of initiating projects where you intentionally decide to use as many scraps as possible. To use up your stash in a planned manner instead of buying new. 

At Önling, this way of thinking is an integral part of our everyday life. We constantly consider how we can use leftovers, recycle materials, find surplus materials and deadstock to produce new etc. 💗🌍 If you are not already familiar with our philosophy and sustainable values read more here.

Choosing project and yarn

First, choose your project. We recommend that you start with an easy project, eg a basic sweater without too many techniques, a scarf, a hat or the like. Next, consider the yardage and spinning technique of the yarn when you assemble your strands. You can easily mix qualities - and it's actually a good idea, as it can add some interesting structure and life to the colors.

Yarns scraps in a pile

Sort your yarn scraps

We recommend that you sort your yarn roughly by thickness until you have a feel for what kind of leftovers you have. Keep the piles sorted in boxes or bags until you feel safe to 'just dive into the box'.

The whole trick is to find out what knitting tension you can use as a 'common denominator'. So spend time making swatches and decide, for example, to knit with a gauge of 15 stitches. Then you can make a small list of how your leftovers can be combined to hit that gauge / knitting tension.

We suggest you start by dividing your leftovers into 4 piles:

  • Thin yarn, e.g. silk mohair and accompanying threads like Alpaca 1.
  • Thin wool and wool blends that have a gauge of approx. 26-28 sts per 10 cm / 4 inches or a yardage of 3-400 meters / 350 - 450 yards per 50 g
  • Medium-thick yarn with a yardage of approx. 200 m / 220 yards per 50 g
  • Thick yarn (100-120 m / 110 - 130 yards) / 50 g

3 Tips for a balanced color result

Knitting the Chloé sweater with yarn scraps

It is typically very difficult to get a real impression of the result for the first many rows, when you do scrap yarn knitting - the magic typically doesn't unfold until after you have changed colors and yarn types a few times.

You do not have to make a final plan from the start, but it can be useful to follow some simple guidelines in order to make the next (and best) decision.

Tip 1: Try to make one decision at a time and lay out the next yarn combo, you plan to knit with. This way you force yourself to stick to that decision instead of assessing the next color before you have finished knitting with the current.

Tip 2: You can achieve balance and a more calm expression by using a few tips:

References: Use your colors to create references. For example, if you have pink at the top, you create a reference by knitting another round of pink or two somewhere else.

Fades: If you need to change out of a color family, do so by knitting a fade, where you start on the new color and then pull in the color you say goodbye to, another round or two. Then you avoid hard stripes and instead achieve a faded transition.

Color harmony: Use the color circle to make decisions about the next step. For example, start with a color group (orange / red) and expand with pink / yellow. If you want it very colorful, start by using the complementary colors (and their neighbors) for a start. Read more about the color circle here

Tip 3: Once you have decided on your knitting gauge (and pattern), make a list for yourself with different qualities from your leftover basket that can be used. It can be tested with a swatch 😊 The list is good to have, when you have to decide which yarn type should be the next in the row. Remember you can easily knit with 1, 2 or more strands in the same project - as long as the knitting tension is right. 

Video guides for scrap yarn projects 

Hæft ender mens du strikker

When you knit with leftovers, you typically make many color changes, and you end up with many ends to sew in the end.  in this video you can learn a technique to weave in ends as you knit, thus saving you loads of time in the end.

Another very useful way to avoid weaving ends in you scrap project, is to make a magic knot. In this video VeryPing Knits shows you how:

If you still feel like more inspiration for scrap knitting projects, watch this video, where 'Sheepishly sharing' gives you a number of fun ideas for Hat Tricks, Pom Poms and other scrap usage.

Scrap yarn knitting projects

If it's your ambition is to get started with scrap yarn knitting this year, then we recommend that you start with a smaller project and / or a basic project without difficult techniques.

An god place to start would be Iridia sweater, where you can use up a lot of yarn scraps. Iridia is knitted in 3 strands and the pattern guides you on how to work the beautiful color changes. You can buy a 'basic kit' for the sweater, which includes two of the three strands, and then add all of your own mohair scraps.

Iridia sweater is a great scrap yarn knitting project


If you need a pattern to guide you through a scrap yarn knitting project, we recommend the two patterns published under the 'Save the yarn' umbrella. One of the patterns is for a lovely Save the yarn Sweater with raglan. The sweater is worked with 3-4 strands on size 8 needles with a gauge of 12 sts and 17 rows.

Save the yarn shawl

You can also knit a Save the yarn Shawl, which is a thick and fluffy shawl, knitted in scraps and in garter stitches. Worked in 3-4 strands together on needle 7 and a great way to transform your scraps into something useful and valuable.

The Chloé sweater is a another really good scrap yarn project, as the design is basic with raglan sleeves. The pattern already describes a stripe sequence that you can choose to follow - or you can invent your very own. 

Chloé sweater knit with scrap yarn

The gauge for Chloé is 22 sts per 10 cm, which is easy to obtain with scraps of silk mohair or other accompanying threads, held together with thin wool or sock yarn.

If you want to knit something a little thicker, Önling's Easy Peasy basic sweater is a really good design for your first scrap project. There are no difficult techniques that you have to keep track of, on top of all the many color changes

Easy Peasy basic sweater from Önling

The knitting tension is 18 stitches per 10 cm, which is easily obtained with e.g. sock yarn and silk mohair, two threads of thin wool or a single thread of medium-thick yarn. 

Ruths Cowl is another great yarn scrap project, as the design includes 8 colors.

It is great if you have a lot of thin wool and alpaca leftovers in your yarn stash. Or you can easily mix qualities and even use silk mohair as one of the threads. You can decide to only knit it in 2 colors, but as few or as many colors can be added as you want to work with. You should count on using min 200 g yarn.

Ruth's cowl for yarn scraps

This pretty, colorful Yarn Scrap Hat is best knitted from yarn scraps. In the spirit of sustainability, we have designed a hat for your leftovers  - and the pattern is free.

If you have several yarn scraps that fit the gauge, you just make a proper stack of hats and give them to everyone you know with cold ears.

Yarn Scraps hat from Önling

Chunky t-shirt with puff sleeves is also a good yarn scrap design, and a good option if you'd like to knit on larger needles

Yellow Chunky T-shirt, knit with Önling yarn

Here you have a knitting tension of 10 sts / 10 cm. - so here almost all the yarn in the leftover box can be used in different combinations

Here you can quickly knit a pretty, chunky and short-sleeved blouse, which is perfect for spring and summer 🌞

The super easy scrap project!

If you have no scraps or if just want to choose the very easy option, you can buy a specially composed leftover bag from Önling, where colors and yarn qualities have already been matched. With this Mystery bag, there is enugh yarn for a basic sweater with stripes in size M, and a knitting pattern for Katrine's stripy sweater

Yarn scraps sweater in many colors

We have have put together beautiful mystery bags with 9-10 different colors of 25g each and by buying the mystery scrap bag, you help Önling clean up our yarn stash.

The scrap bag contains a total of 250 g yarn. Together with the scrap bag, you get the pattern for 'Scrap sweater with stripes', which you can use the yarn in the bag for (enough yarn for a size M).