How to Use Up All Those Tiny Balls of Leftover Sock Yarn

I knit a lot of socks. And I have a lot of leftover sock yarn. Dozens of tiny balls. Too little yarn to knit new socks. But enough, I realized recently,  to make sock and mitten ornaments. 

I have wanted to knit ornaments for a few years now but with all the holiday craziness I never got around to it. Then I was digging through my stash looking for yarn for another small project and lamenting all the tiny balls of leftover sock yarn when I had an idea– I could finally make ornaments! First I went to ravelry and looked at patterns. Then I realized this was ridiculous since I can’t remember the last time I needed to use a pattern to knit a sock or a mittens. I could just make them smaller. And bonus! I only need to knit one instead of a pair each time. 

Soon enough I had knit these

And this

Sock Pattern:

Using size 2 needles (or any size you like, really), cast on 30 stitches. Join for working in the round.

Knit 1, purl 1 around for a total of 10 rounds. 

Switch to stockinette and knit 20 rounds

Next round: knit first 14 stitches. Then turn work. The rest of the heel will be worked over these fourteen stitches. 

Row 1: (slip one, purl one) across

Row 2: slip one, then knit the remainder of the stitches

Repeat these two rows another 5 times. Repeat row 1. 

Then start short row heel: knit 8 stitches, ssk, knit one. Turn work. 

Next row: slip one, purl 3, p2tog, purl 1, turn work

Row 1: slip one, knit to one stitch before the gap, ssk, knit one, turn work

Row 2: slip one, purl to one stitch before the gap, p2tog, purl one, turn work

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until all of the stitches have been worked

Joining round: knit across heel stitches, pick up 7 stitches along the side of the heel flap, knit across top of foot stitches, pick up seven stitches along other side of heel flap. Now divide the heel stitches evenly and distribute them between the two needles and knit to the top of the heel stitches. You should have the top of foot stitches all on one needle, and the heel stitches and heel flap stitches that you picked up should be evenly divided between the other two needles. I should note here that this is how I like to do things. If you have another method that you prefer or if you customarily use 5 needles instead of 4 when using dpn’s then feel free to disregard. Just make sure you know where the beginning of the round is so that you know where to decrease.

Moving the beginning of the round and decreasing: knit across the top of the heel stitches. You have arrived at the new beginning of the round. 

Decrease round: knit one, ssk, knit to 3 stitches before the top of foot stitches, k2tog, knit 1, knit to end. 

Work this round every other round until there are 14 total bottom of foot stitches, keeping the alternate round in stockinette stitch. Then knit another 9 rounds.

Next round: knit to top of foot stitches, knit one, ssk, knit to 3 stitches before end of top of foot stitches, k2tog, knit 1, knit to end of round. 

Decrease round: k1, ssk, knit to 3 stitches before top of foot stitches, k2tog, knit 2, ssk, knit to 3 stitches before the end of round, k2tog, knit 1.

Repeat decrease round until there are 8 stitches left, 4 for the top of foot, and 4 for the bottom. Arrange remaining stitches so that the 4 top of foot stitches are on one needle and the 4 bottom of foot stitches are in one needle then use Kitchener stitch to graft toe stitches together. 


Each of these knit up quick and easy. I am powering through my stash of mini balls of sock yarn. It’s kind of freeing in a way. And kind of joyful. I can’t wait to put hang mini socks and mittens in my tree in a few weeks. 

Next blog entry will be mittens.