If you are anything like me, you have a lot of fingering weight or sock yarn. And mostly single skeins of a colorway. I love hand-dyed yarn, whether it’s solid, semi-solid, variegated or striped. But if I only ever knit socks it can get quite boring and Second Sock Syndrome might just raise its head. Besides how many pairs of socks can one person need? And I don’t know a lot of people who’d be happy to receive hand knit socks. So what to do with all that sock yarn?
There are plenty of other projects you can knit with a single skein of fingering weight yarn. And on top of that all the patterns I’ve linked below are free, so you don’t even have to spend anything (to make room for more amazing yarn)!
There are quite a few scarf patterns that don’t need more than one skein. They may not be that long but look nice under a coat or feature a lace pattern and are a beautiful accessory for warmer days.
- Strangling Vine Lace Scarf by Nicole Hindes
- The Killington Scarf by Jennifer Kelley
- Milky Way Scarf by Lynn Bethke
- Commelina by Kelly Craw
- Favorite Scarf Ever by Lise Bruce
- Noro Bias Lace Scarf by Susan Ashcroft
- A Simple Little Something by Amanda Jarvis
- Kary’s Chevron Scarf by Kary Jarred
Shawls can also be knit with only one skein of fingering weight yarn, and there are plenty you can knit with even heavily variegated yarns. Here (and with scarfs as well) you can use some of those luxury yarns with cashmere or silk that you might feel reluctant to choose for heavy-duty items like a pair of socks.
- Reyna by Noora Laivola
- Close to You by Justyna Lorkowska
- Pimpelliese by Christine Ebers
- Glitz at the Ritz by Helen Stewart
- Waves of the Atlantic by Deborah Wilson
- Feather Shawl by Robbie Laughlin
- Dandelion Air by Lizzie Harrison
- Esmeralda Wrap by Samantha Main
Close fitting cowls often use much less than one skein. So if you wanted you could make the cowl bigger, make another one or a matching accessory like cuffs or a hat. Again cowls are a great place to use sensitive and luxurious yarns. Even if you wear them a lot, they don’t have to work quite as hard as gloves or socks would have to. They are also a great project to practice new techniques on since they aren’t quite as large. Beaded cowls are quite stunning.
- Abstract Leaves by Deb Mulder
- Copilot by Dominique Trad
- Sockhead Cowl by Kelly McClure
- Irish Mesh Cowl by Jo Strong
- Sallah Cowl by Bristol Ivy
- Nennir by Lucy Hague
- Simple Eyelet Cowl by Gretchen Tracy
- Horseshoe Lace Cowl by Sashka Macievich
Hats are an excellent project for showing off amazing colorways and often leave enough yarn for a small cowl or a pair of fingerless gloves. The end of winter may be coming in a few short months, but there are quite a few pretty spring hats you could make. They are such wonderfully quick and entertaining knits that you could even knit a couple in a row. And they make great gifts that you can store away for later.
- Barley Light by tincanknits
- Twiggy by YYC Knits
- Gokstad Hat by Julie Knits In Paris
- Izmir Hat by Shana Schasteen
- Sometimes Hat by Vera Sanon
- Reverie by Amy Swenson
- Wasabi Hat by Linda Irving-Bell
- Brilthor by Janina Böttger
Gloves, Mittens, and Cuffs
Simple gloves or fingerless mittens are a great project to use some pretty variegated or ombré yarn. Or make a pair of intricately cabled ones in an eye-catching and bright color to wear on grey winter days. Just make sure you use a yarn that can withstand the use without felting or pilling too quickly or you might not be able to enjoy your new gloves for very long.
- Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller
- Spatterdash Wristwarmers by Dagmar Mora
- Straightforward Mitts by Mone Dräger
- Pieces of Eight Mitts by Sybil R
- Wannabe Vintage Mitts by Jennifer B.
- Starburst Mitts by Sybil R
- Madrid by Alexandra Brinck
- Entangled Stitches by Julia Mueller
Sleeveless shrugs and boleros are usually small enough to need more than one skein of fingering weight yarn. A beautiful lace shrug knit in shimmering silk or a quirky one knit in a heavily variegated yarn. The options are numerous. Should you need a larger size, some of these shrugs may not fit. Not all of these patterns have multiple sizes, and if you make them larger, you may need more than one skein.
- Ann Shrug by Cia Abbott Bullemer
- Diamond Rib Lace Shrug by Sherri Hughes
- Lace Shrug by Andi Satterlund (The largest size needs more yarn, but the others should work)
- Lace Sleeve Shrug by Joan of Dark aka Toni Carr
- One Skein Bolero by Chi-Sze Ooi
Similar to socks boot toppers are often more visible but don’t put quite as much strain on the yarn as socks would. Therefore they are fantastic items to show off those special skeins you’ve got tugged away.
- 2-in-1 Boot Cuffs With Buttons And Lace by Mari-Liis Hirv (Originally knit with two colors but these would also look nice when you knit them with only one color.)
- Agnus slip stitch boot toppers by Carol Wells
- ‘Nautical But Nice’ Boot Warmer by Raquel Gaskell
Baby Sweaters, Dresses & Other Baby Clothes
You can also knit sweaters and cardigans with a single skein. For babies. I have knit entire sets of baby clothes (sweater or jacket, hat, and shoes) with a single skein. I would only use superwash or similarly easy to care for yarn for babies. These are heavy duty items that will get washed a lot. But you can go all out with the colors. Babies love bright, saturated colors and strong contrasts (their eyes can see those a lot better). And knitting baby clothes is fun. I’ve knit six of the pattern mentioned below myself.
- Brocade Baby Jumper by Carolyn Hine
- Ida’s Simple Dress by Julia Gabrielsen
- B21-28 Stripy Stripes by DROPS design
- Flax Light by tincanknits (Yes, I keep mentioning this pattern. But it’s a great pattern! And the first two sizes only need a single skein.)
- Swirl Hat by Mandie Harrington
- Sunnyside by Tanis Lavallee
- Braided-Edge Baby Hat by Becky Colvin
- Tilias Kofta by Anne B Hanssen
- Maile Sweater by Nikki Van De Car
- Stay-on baby booties by Knitgirl’s Mother
What else can you knit? The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination, really. But some of the more common items are book covers, toys, bags, cup cozies, and bookmarks. Some of these items use a lot less than one skein and can also be knit to use up scraps and mini skeins.
- Celestine Sox by Berroco Design Team
- Sunny Bunny by Sarah Youde
- Bujo Sleeve by My Cup Of Knitting
- One for the Books by Martina Behm
- I’d Love Some Coffee by Thaddeus Nelson
- Braided Mug Cozy by Sarah Alderson
- Bookmark Trio by Megan Goodacre
- Ditty Bags by Maia Discoe
- Exploring Waves by Laurie Lee
Do you have a special skein of fingering weight that you are saving for the right project? What have you knit with sock yarn before? What is the craziest thing you’ve ever knit with sock yarn? Please let me know in the comments below.
Next Friday I want to write about the dreaded gauge swatches. Many of us hate knitting them. They seem to lie to us, and we just want to get to the actual project already! But they can be really useful and are needed. So come back Friday and don’t miss it!
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