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Ultimate Knitting Stash Busters


We all know stash busting ideas for what to do with yarn when we have less than a skein left. You can almost always be sure you have enough yarn to make a hat or a quick pair of hand warmers, perhaps. But what do you do when you get down to those little balls– the ones that have only a yard or two of yarn left? If you’re like me, you can’t quite bring yourself to throw them away because it seems too wasteful.

Here are some ultimate stash-busting ideas.

1. Really small projects like a bookmark.

As a book-lover, I prefer bookmarks made with thin yarn, so extra sock yarn or  lace works well. This lace bookmark wouldn’t take much yarn. Also, might I suggest holiday ornaments? My friends and I once made a knitted tree for a charity auction, for which we knitted ornaments: miniature sweaters, mittens, scarves, and stockings. They were kind of a pain to make (small things may be cuter, but they’re harder to create), but the ornaments would be a nice touch to any crafter’s home. Maybe you can make a multi-colored item, using up two or more remnant balls.


basket of knits

2. Knit it up into I-cord.

I-cord can add a useful, elegant touch for many knitting projects, or any craft project, really. It can’t hurt to have some lying around. You can create several inches from only a little yarn. I’ve used it for bag handles, for tank top straps, and decorative touches on projects. Think about what projects you’re working on that would coordinate well with the stash yarn you have. Or just knit several small balls into I-cord to create this.

3. Knit a beautiful blanket, like my friend.

The blanket she is working on is the knitting equivalent of those rag rugs our grandmothers used to make. She gathered up all her tiny yarn balls and got all of her knitter friends to hand theirs over, too. Yes, yarn of all weights. The bulky yarns are knitted on their own. The thinner yarns are being matched together and knitted together. It’s not going to be the “prettiest” blanket and it’s going to have a lot of ends to weave in, but I think it will be awesome in its own way. This stash busting blanket will tell the whole story of my friend’s knitting history.


knit blanket

4. Finally, stuff any toy.

This is an idea that can incorporate all the ends you cut off your finished projects, too. Scrap yarn works well as a supplement to stuffing in knitted toys, like this ball or a stuffed animal, like this Pocket Bunny.


knitted ball

Some patterns will suggest using that puffy stuffing for an outer layer and supplementing with those little pellets. Those of us with pets or small children might be reluctant to use the pellets, so I’ve started saving my scraps, instead. Cut into 5 or 6 inch pieces, they aren’t a choking hazard, but they still squish up well.

Special thanks to Meryl over at My Bit of Earth for use of the pictures, for being such a good knitting buddy, and for making that cute little ball for my sweet pup.

These are some of the ways I use up my yarn to the very last bit. What are your ultimate stash-busting ideas?


Erin Smith

I think a ‘crazy’ afghan is a great idea. I am going to do that when I have enough little pieces. 🙂

Sandra Robben

Personally I use very small ends as stitchmarkers in a new project preferably with totally different colors. I can even colorcode wat is it I need to do at that point.

Sarah Punderson

A great stash buster pattern is my Circle Swing Coat or Shrug pattern. I made 3 vests that were adapted from this pattern and all used yarn from my stash and they were part of a fiber art show. Wearable art.


I love the idea of making bookmarks with leftover sock yarn. I’m gonna make a bunch for holiday gifts. Great quick and portable mini project! Thanks for the idea.


I take really small scraps, cut them into tinier scraps, and put them in a suet feeder, and hang it outside in the spring. The birds pull them out and use them to line the nests. It also works just to put them on a branch, or in the crook of a tree. On a low step, the rodents (rats, chippies, etc.) will grab them and use them in nests. For those, I put some out in the fall. Chippies are especially poor nesters and need all the help they can get. This doesn’t work for “stash” so to speak, but for all those left over bits and pieces. Natural fibers only, so they biodegrade.

knitting fencer

Make a mini pouch or coin purse (hint dont call them coin purses if giving them to males) for gifts or yourself. Cast on 10 stitches onto a 5mm (or size you like) knitting needle. Knit 2 rows in garter stitch 3rd row knit 5 .Yarn over continue to end of row, Knit garter stich until about 20 cm or 5 inches long. Cast off leaving a long tail to sew up . Weave in ends and sew on suitable button on front. Voila coin purse or mini pouch. Useful for holding batteries ,usb sticks, large jewelery, hairties, tape for fencing foils, hearing aids (according to my dad) and many other things.


Fab idea! I always need little purses for my odds and ends.


I’ve kept all the little scraps I cut off my projects, after weaving ends in etc. Handy for stuffing but also often great for making repairs where the odd hole appears.

I also cut carrier bags into strips and make totes, they last several years


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