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Updated: Aug 25, 2023

If you're a passionate knitter, you're already participating in a more sustainable way of creating clothing and accessories. By knitting your own items, you're reducing the demand for fast fashion, which is notorious for its environmental impact. But what if you could make your knitting even more eco-friendly? Enter zero-waste knitting, a trend about reducing and utilizing every little bit of your precious yarn.

Most knitting projects leave you with some leftover yarn. These scraps might seem insignificant on their own, but over time, they can add up. You might be surprised by just how useful they can be. Even if they are very short, you can find a use for them. For instance, you can use them as stuffing for knitted toys, cushions, or amigurumi.

yarn scraps
© Mel Poole (@melpoole)

Larger scraps can be used for colorwork projects, stripes, or even as a contrasting heel or toe in socks. The trick is cataloging them as soon as you finish a project, so you can have a good overview of the weight/length of each scrap.

Scrap-friendly patterns

I gathered some patterns that are designed or compatible with yarn leftovers from 20-30 g of yarn to make your way easier towards zero waste.

Lacroix Sweater by Soraya García
© Yedraknits

Soraya García, known as Yedraknits, designed the Lacroix Sweater to collaborate with an advent calendar that provided 12 mini skeins of El Robledal de la Santa Silky Mohair, lace weight (20 g / 168 m) Fine Kid Mohair/Silk. Lacroix is an oversized sweater with a wide-opening neck that you can knit with all your mohair leftovers.

Scraptastic Shawl by Stephen West
© Stephen West

Stephen West (Westknits) has a lot (A LOT) of scrap-compatible designs. Even though it doesn’t look like it at first sight from the pattern description, on his videos, he actually encourages knitters to dive into their stash and add notes or “color pops” to their knitted garments. Among his designs, the Scraptastic Shawl is specifically designed for using all the scraps from his other monumental projects. You will need between 350 and 850g of fingering yarn to knit this piece. No further requirements! Mix, match, and have fun!

The No Limits Sweater by Lærke Bagger
© Lærke Bagger | © smedsboemma

I can’t finish this article without mentioning the queen of scraps, the Danish rebel designer Lærke Bagger. Lærke takes her slogan “Just tie some knots” to the ultimate consequences, creating fantastic sweaters with easy patterns and a bunch of badass zero-waster activism messages behind them. The No Limits Sweater is of the patterns in her first book, “Strik,” which means “knit” in Danish.

Join the movement

Finally, remember that zero-waste knitting isn't just about individual actions. It's also about supporting the broader movement. Look for brands prioritizing sustainable practices, like recycling or composting their waste, and consider supporting designers who create zero-waste patterns. By joining the zero-waste knitting movement, you're helping to create a more sustainable future for our beloved craft.

So, fellow knitters, let's make every stitch count, and remember: in the journey towards sustainability, no scrap is too small!


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