It is no secret I love mini skeins. I love the look of them, love matching them, love playing with them, love petting them and I love making them. Just love them!
I do sometimes get the question, however, what to use them for. At yarn shows, I sometimes get asked if they come with a specific pattern. And yes, this could certainly be a possibility. And the 6x25 gram Igneae mini skein set is perfect and now very much associated with the Bunny Odile pattern by Cinthia Vallet (link to Ravelry). But Cinthia happened to buy the set, and then it inspired her to create Odile, her friend Nisse, and their adorable bunny clothes. And that is exactly how I think they should be used: spark creativity, encourage play and get you giddy for everything and anything they could become.
When I just started knitting I found most of my yarn at thrift shops, and it wasn't very often I was so lucky to find multiple balls of the same kind. Therefore my stash back then mostly consisted of odd balls in many colours. I have to admit though that although I was only a beginner knitter, the choices I made were probably more creative compared to nowadays, where I can just grab a specific yarn base and dye it in exactly the colour I want to start my project. That's why I love to sometimes just collect a bunch of leftovers and start making. Get the creative juices flowing, play with colours. Remember that feeling when you got a fresh new box of crayons or coloured pencils as a kid? That's exactly what it is like!
I am going to get you started and help you to see all the possibilities a bundle of mini skeins, a bunch of leftovers or a bag of thrifted balls of wool hold. My list is far from complete, it is just the tip of the iceberg of mini skein potential.
Contrasting heels, cuffs and toes. And who doesn't like stripey socks?
A simple recipe for success: you need 4x25 gram of sock yarn, pick one colour for cuffs, one for heels and toes, and stripe the other two for the foot & leg. Can you imagine it? Wouldn't they be great?
I've just finished my first Gioia sock, a pattern by Rebekka Mauser (link to Ravelry). She lets you knit a sock in a completely different way, which creates exciting colour blocks. I knit mine out of a Corriedale mini skein set. They are so much fun!
A blanket is a lovely project to have around for some comfort knitting or crochet. Keep it close to your favourite seat, maybe have some little balls of yarn ready in a bowl or basket to inspire you.
There are many scrappy blanket projects out there. A few of my favourite knitted blanket patterns are the cozy memory blanket, northeasterly blanket (link to Ravelry), the pinwheel scrap blanket (link to Ravelry), the beekeeper's quilt, and I love log cabin blankets.
Recently, I specifically learned to crochet because I wanted to be able to make a granny stripe blanket. And now I'm hooked! (pun intended) It is quite fast compared to knitting, it eats my leftovers! I am already fantasizing about all the granny squares that will be in my future.
Embroidery & duplicate stitching
Embroidery I have never tried (yet!), but I can get very inspired by looking at certain peoples work, like Judit Gummlich for example, who makes the most beautiful woolen embroideries. And I love to scroll through the endless inspiration of #stitchjournal
I did do some duplicate stitching, which is so satisfying and meditative! I have the feeling some might be a bit intimidated by it, but I promise it is so easy! It is like colouring with yarn. Arne and Carlos take this very literal with their Oda colouring mittens.
The Doris mitts by Soprano knits (link to Ravelry) & the Alicja slippers (link to Ravelry) were designed with teeny tiny Ovis et cetera mini's. You need a surprisingly little amount, so its perfect for the smallest amounts of leftovers.
Little skeins can become little projects, which have the advantage of instant gratification and are perfect for quick gifts. I already mentioned Cinthia Vallet and bunny Odile. She has designed more lovely little creatures who can all be created with mini skeins or leftovers. And Hunter Hammersen for example has many lovely small designs that put an instant smile on your face.
You could even make a full-size garment just out of mini's or scraps. Use the project as your canvas to play around with all the colours to your heart's content with marling, stripes, colourwork, mosaic, slipped stitches... And it doesn't need to turn out crazy looking (unless that is what you are aiming for of course). The Shifty sweater or Stripes! by Andrea Mowry are good examples of this. Wool & Pine have their Sea Glass collection consisting of a hat, a knit tee, a crochet tee and a sweater. And Stephen West his Melting Marl collection lets you play with lots of colours.
I could go on and on with examples, but I took you to the entrance of the rabbit hole, jump in if you want, there is so much to explore!
A colourwork sweater yoke usually doesn't take a lot of yarn, and a mini skein set already is made up out of a cohesive palette, so you don't need to worry about colour combinations. If the yoke in a pattern calls for one colour instead you could choose to fade or stripe or marl with your mini's to create your own unique yoke.
How to know if you have enough yarn? Weigh your heap of mini's and/or scraps. Let's say it's 450 grams altogether. Then check the total amount of meterage the pattern tells you you need. For example 1200 meters in total.
On average fingering weight is 400 meters per 100 grams. 1200/400=300 grams. Perfect, you should have plenty to start your project.
I hope you got inspired and can't wait to start making using mini skeins. Are you making something out of an Ovis et cetera mini skein set or leftovers? I would love to see. Let's inspire each other!