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How to organize scraps of yarn

After you knit or crochet your first project, you’re immediately faced with an organizational problem: weird bits of leftover yarn. The more projects you do, the more these scraps build up.

And, if you don’t organize your scraps well, they have a habit of tangling themselves together into one giant knot. Not good.

So, even though it may seem a little obsessive… I wind each one of my leftover yarn bits into a nice little ball, and tuck them into my ‘scrap box’.

The Box

My box is just an ordinary copy-paper-turned-shipping box that I got in the mail one day. It’s sturdy, has a lid, and fits nicely on a shelf on my yarn bookshelf. Nothing fancy.

The big leftovers

My favorite kind of scrap yarn is the ‘big leftover’. You know what I mean… it’s a quarter to a half of a skein of some yummy yarn left over from a project. Since these guys are pretty substantial in size, I wind them with my ball winder. I make sure to tuck the end in the ball so that there’s no danger of them becoming unraveled.

Little Bits

Little leftover bits of yarn are trickier… I’m not even sure why I keep them. Maybe one day, I’ll just need 10 yards of bright orange for some project or another…

I just wind these guys around 2 fingers (it’s much too little amount for the winder), and then tie them around the center. Just like the big leftovers, you’ll want to make sure the ends are fastened so they don’t get the chance to become a giant knot in your scrap box.

What to do with the scraps…

Hmm… for now, mine live happily together (and neat) in their box. Sometimes I grab a ball if I need a little bit of a color… but no serious plans yet.

So, tell me… how do you organize your scraps? Any plans for them?


  1. I’ve been saving my small scraps for the bee keeper’s quilt. Or I use them as stitch holders. Mostly though, if they are less than 5 yds, I toss them.

    • @Vanessa- Oh, I totally agree… less than a couple of yards and I’m not saving them!

  2. I do know that some people use their scraps as stuffing for their amigurumi.

  3. The smaller ones are good for small ami’s or finger puppets. I also find they make good trim for certain doll outfits, etc.

  4. I made a wonderful scrap blanket once. It was a monumental undertaking but totally worth it. I love it (it hangs on my couch) because I have memories of all the projects I made with each yarn (and all of the friends who gave me yarn scraps when I grew bored of my own scraps) whenever I look at it.

    I used to collect all of the really little scraps in a paper bag and then drop them off at textile recycling every few months.

  5. june SAYS...

    my kids used to use them for crafts and indoor spider webs! Now that they are older, my scraps are piling up also….along with the fabric scraps, bead leftovers……..

  6. Jo SAYS...

    I;m in the middle of organizing my left over yarns. At the moment I’m putting like colors (different shades of the same color in a large zip-loc baggie and then into my cedar chest. After that is full, I plan to use one of those outdoor patio boxes. Um, after that I dont know

  7. Kathy SAYS...

    I use the small scraps (some as small as 18″) to make slippers (for myself, not for gifts). I tie them all together and use as I would a regular skein. It doesn’t take long to pull the knots to the inside when the slippers are finished, and you won’t find another pair like them anywhere!

  8. Helen SAYS...

    I put them in two over-the-door shoe holders. One for like colors and one for textures and similar weights. Some qualify for both holders, but the pockets are transparent, so you can always find them in one or the other. Short lengths I wind around a toilet paper tube and tape the yarns ends: stops them unraveling and tangling up.

  9. Bev Moon SAYS...

    I have a good knitty friend who saves her leftovers to knit Ramudas (not sure of the spelling. You only need about 12-15 yards of any color and any weights will work. She starts on one edge with one color and knits a row across leaving about 10-12″ tail and knit the length you need from about mid thigh and across the shoulder and back down. You’ll have to figure out the number of stitches using your heaviest weight of yarn and it’s not necessary to be exact-just close and cast on with this yarn-leaving the tails and then put it on the floor/table. Use another color and you may have to add another yarn to approximate the weight (exact is not essential-just sort of close) and knit another row leaving tails and cut yarn/yarns and put beside (to the left) the first yarn you knit with continue in this manner until it is wide enough to cover most of your arm and up to neck edge. Now you’ll have to knit a few rows, stop at neck edge and leave a bit of yarn to weave in; start on the other edge (leaving a bit to weave in) and continue to the end of that ‘sleeve’ leaving the 10-12″ for fringe. Knit a few rows like this until you have a neck shape and an opening big enough to go over a head. At center back/front begin using the yarn you’ve been stacking next to each other in the reverse order. All, those long tails can now be tied into fringes and then trimmed to some length. If you want to you can add a collar-as big as you want to-by picking up stitches around the neck edge (remember it still needs to go over your head) using any ribbing pattern you want to and any of the yarn you might have left that is enough to make the collar. You can wear this with the fringe along the hands or at the back and front.

  10. Evelyn SAYS...

    I use the scraps of thin yarn for bookmarks that I give away at Little Free Libraries, and the ones of worsted yarn are usually wrapped around clothes’ hangers or keep them for anything that might come up and require very little yarn. Last Christmas I made two scarves with yarn leftovers and they came out really lovely 💖 You could also use very little scraps to stuff amigurumi!