In a discussion about what we would never be without in our knitting kits, there were lots of suggestions – tape measures, scissors, crochet hook, safety pins, and many more. But for me there was one clear winner, a humble length or two of scrap yarn.
Here are a few of the uses you can put it to:
Impromptu stitch markers
Make slip knots in short lengths of scrap yarn to create instant stitch makers to help you keep track of your pattern.
These are very useful if you have to cast on a couple of hundred stiches. Place a scrap yarn loop every 20 or 50 stitches so you don’t have to count from the beginning the whole time. Because the loops are slip knots, they are easily removable once you have the right number of stitches so they don’t distract you when establishing the pattern.
You can also use scraps of yarn looped through the end of rows to track your progress – mark every 10th row to make counting easy.
Rather than carry a large safety pin style stitch holder, just thread the stitches on to a length of scrap yarn. This is also more flexible than a metal or plastic holder which can be useful if you are checking size or shaping.
Securing a dropped stitch
If you find yourself spotting the one that got away at a time when you can’t immediately pick up the stitch loop some scrap yarn through it to stop further unravelling.
Trying on a garment in the round
Sometimes when you are making a garment in the round, it would be useful to try it on but the circular needle isn’t quite long enough to allow it. Transfer the stitches on to scrap yarn and try on to your heart’s content
Provisional cast on
A smooth length of scrap yarn is essential for this lace technique where you will want to pick up stitches from the start of a piece of knitting. Make a crochet chain in scrap yarn with more chains than the stitches you need to knit. Pick up the right number of loops along the chain with your knitting needle and work the first row of your pattern into these with your main yarn. Later you can “unzip” the crochet yarn and put the loops created on to a needle.
Do you have a “never without…” item in your knitting or crochet kit? Let us know what it is in the comments below