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Bust that stash - free scrap-yarn knitting patterns

Updated on May 27, 2011

Time for a yarn diet?

If you're a keen knitter like me, you're bound to have accumulated a large stash of odd balls and half-skeins of leftover yarn. As the new Year starts, and belts tighten, many of us are resolving to put off buying new yarn and knit from stash. Luckily, there are lots of ways to enjoy our favourite hobby while using up all those odd bits of scrap yarn... and clearing some space for new yarn ;)

Here are some of my favourite free knit and crochet patterns that are just perfect for stash-busting!

Flower tawashi
Flower tawashi

Small is Beautiful

No matter how small the amount of that lovely too-good-to-waste fiber you have left over, there's a project out there to make use of it. Toys, bookmarks, decorations and jewellery are quick knits and make perfect gifts, and can be as simple or as challenging as you please.

Amigurumi use small amounts of yarn to make irresistibly cute stuffed animals, while if you have a bunch of acrylic lying around, tawashi (eco pot scrubbies) are both pretty and useful.

Free tiny knits

Here's a few of my favourite small patterns - I'll be updating this list regularly, so do check back often!

Get modular

Modular knitting and crochet give you the opportunity to use up lots of bits of scrap yarn, to make a bigger project. Scarves, wraps, afghans, even sweaters, can be made by knitting or crocheting small motifs that are then pieced together to make a bigger item. Lace motifs, granny squares, and domino knitting are great for this.

If you have lots of different weights, you can make your motifs match by changing hook/needle sizes, adding/subtracting rows, or simply doubling or trebling lighter-weight yarns to match heavier ones.

The finished item brings back memories of many enjoyable knitting projects!

Choose a square or motif (or lots of them!) that you like, and simply join as you go to make an amazing stash-busting project. It could even be an ongoing project...

Free modular patterns and motifs - dominoes, motifs and granny squares that you can use to build an amazing item.

These motifs can be joined as you go to make colourful scarves, wraps, afghans and other items.


Stripes are another great way to combine scrap yarns to make bigger projects - you'll usually need to use yarns of a similar weight, but you can change needle sizes and double up yarns to get a consistent gauge.

Got a free pattern? a 'yarn-dieting' tip?

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    • Kathryn Beach profile image

      Kathryn Wallace 5 years ago from Greenbank, WA, USA

      Thank you for the incredibly useful patterns. Now I have no excuse for not using up some of my stash. I never have enough ideas for using my acrylic stash, since I love natural fibers so much.

    • profile image

      JosephaHaden 6 years ago

      I'm totally making that braided necklace.

      This saves everyone from receiving egg cozies. Not even joking.

    • Mar1anneC profile image

      Mar1anneC 6 years ago

      Awesome Lens!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 6 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I really enjoyed at looking at the various patterns you've found for using up scraps of yarn. You've made a great collection.

    • akumar46 lm profile image

      akumar46 lm 6 years ago

      Nice lens on knitting patterns.....

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      we have a free pattern over at our blog. love your blog, thanks. ;-)

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 7 years ago

      Very cool. Always looking for ways to use up the leftovers. Blessed by this angel and featured on my angel lens.

    • AbigailsCrafts LM profile image

      AbigailsCrafts LM 7 years ago

      @DragonsOrchidGarden: Nice - looks like the cat's enjoying them too :)

      Have fun on squidoo!

    • profile image

      DragonsOrchidGarden 7 years ago

      I joined Squidoo due to you! Here's another cute idea for yarn busting.

      Thanks to Em-En ( for the free pattern.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 7 years ago

      Great job on this lens! Congratulations on being featured on the photo contest. I'm lensrolling this to my Knitters Gift Guide lens.

    • Lemming13 profile image

      Lemming13 7 years ago

      Terrific ideas! I normally rely on my copy of Yarn-Stash Wonders or Amigurumi books, but these are such lovely patterns - the tiny octopus is totally squee, and the ugly bunnies are adorable.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      another great free yarn busting pattern.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a sweet surprise to see my Leaf Me Alone Lace bookmark mentioned! Thank you. I've added your other suggestions to my pattern library. I love these small quick projects.

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 7 years ago from USA

      Wonderful ideas for using up my leftover yarn. Blessed by a Squid Angel ~

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      Aaah yes! All my boxes of left-overs! Great ideas. Thanks.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      @AbigailsCrafts LM: Thanks so much for featuring my free baby octopus crochet pattern, Abigail. I've lensrolled this to my octopus tutorial. :-)

    • AbigailsCrafts LM profile image

      AbigailsCrafts LM 7 years ago

      @Wednesday-Elf: Oo, cho kawaii!! Added to the tiny toys link list!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Great ideas for using up scrap yarn, of which I have a LOT! :-). I crochet, and to take a break I sometimes create plastic canvas items, which helps to use up some 'left-over' yarn. I also have a free tutorial of a crochet pattern for a tiny baby octopus (here on Squidoo) which takes only 2-3 ounces of yarn and, while I have the yarn out, I often crochet an octopus in the same yarn/colors when I've finished one of my crochet projects!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I used to have a pattern for a fluted pillow but I can no longer find it. It was a great one for making use of scrap wool because each 'round' of the pillow could be a different color and it always came out in really great color schemes. Sad that I can't find it. Maybe it is available online. This is a great lens full of some really good ideas for stash-busting. *SquidAngel Blessed*

    • MomwithAHook LM profile image

      Sara Duggan 7 years ago from California

      To get rid of my stash I like to make amigurumi or even funky hats - This is a great lens with sweet ideas. You have been blessed by a Rocketmom SquidAngel.