Christmas Gifts to Knit with Leftover Hand-spun Yarn

Have you ever spun three bobbins of carefully weighed and divided (or, more often, guesstimated and divided) fiber, only to discover, after plying that you have leftover singles? Sometimes LOTS of leftover singles?

Of course you have.

So what do you do with those singles? Throw them away? Horrors, never!

  • You create short skeins of two-ply.
  • You save up a stash of “casualties” and create crazy-ply science experiments.
  • You practice chain plying (I really should get on this).
  • You wind it into a tangled ball and dangle it in front of  the cat

In most of these examples you end up with very short lengths of  yarn that aren’t good for much of anything. Much, that is, except for…

Last-Minute Hand-Knit Holiday Gifts

Does you sister complain that she can never spot her bag on the airline luggage carousel? She’s not alone. 1 in 2 Americans use the same stupid black Samsonite wheelie bag for airline travel. No kidding. I swear that statement is so truthy it’s almost a fact.  Solve her problem this holiday season with the gift of a bright, stand-out-in-a-crowd luggage tag. This is your chance to knit with the tackiest, most eye-bleeding, most I-can’t-believe-I-plied-that lace-weight in your entire collection.

Luggage Tag Pouch by Lee Meredith as seen on Ravelry

Did you purchase a used Janet Evanovich paperback for your aunt, and now you’re feeling the teeniest bit stingy? Stitch your guilt away in a flash with this gorgeous little bookmark.  Seriously, she won’t ever remember you got her a book.
Squash Blossom Bookmark by Bonnie Sennott as seen on Ravelry
Squash Blossom Bookmark by Bonnie Sennott as seen on Ravelry

Stumped about what to give your nerdy brother who just left home for the first time? Worried he might be living in filth and squalor? Knit him this awesome EXFOLIATE Dalek dishcloth. It’s so geeky he might actually use it.

EXFOLIATE! Dalek Clothby Penwiper as seen on Ravelry
EXFOLIATE! Dalek Cloth
by Penwiper as seen on Ravelry
While you’re having coffee with your best friend from high school, does she mention that the lab where she works is so cold that her fingers turn blue and she always has to wear a sweater, even in summer?  Surprise her at the end of your home visit with a stylish set of fingerless mitts.  Maybe now she’ll remember what an awesome friend you’ve always been, instead of remembering how her not-boyfriend asked you to prom.
The Warm & Tingley Mittsby Heidi Kunkel as seen on Ravelry
The Warm & Tingley Mitts
by Heidi Kunkel as seen on Ravelry
See? So many choices. In fact, I may need to knit those mitts. That lab example wasn’t totally made up.


  1. Q – Cute ideas! Did you see my post on Andean Plying the left over singles to the already plied? Our teacher showed us how, that way there aren’t any singles left. Just a thought…..

  2. Those are great ideas for leftovers. I just used my first tiny bit of leftovers to start learning Navajo Plying.

    • I should get on that. I hear it’s not that hard. I tried doing that with my drop spindle months back and it didn’t go well. Or rather, the first bit went great, and then the rest went messily.

    • I have almost chosen a pattern. I promised myself I wouldn’t decide until after my Christmas knitting is done though. Because if I do I’ll get obsessed with it and not want to work on other things.

  3. The book mark is beautiful! Do try the Navaho plying, just keep your loops huge and loose, the idea is not to make a tight chain stitch. I often think of this when I don’t want to spin more than needed and would like a 3 ply, but usually I’m not crazy about the extra bumps that the folded over chain makes even if space out several inches, still, it’s an interesting texture. Instead, I most often opt for a 2 ply from one ball, as you mentioned. I just finished spinning yarn for the toes of my socks (because handspun is usually warmer than commercial, and I’m lazy), and I wanted the wear resistance of a 3 ply. I actually measured the yarn in hopes of coming out even, then lost count of how many times around the ruler I’d gone. What would life be without fun, interesting left over bits to keep us thinking creatively, or to save for darning or use for odd bits of contrast when desired.

    • Since this original post I’ve tried lots if chain/Navajo ply. I find I like the results best with finer yarns where the bumps are less obvious.

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