What can I knit with the yarn I have? Knit without a pattern
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Part 2 – How to knit without a pattern What can I knit with the yarn I have?

Welcome to part 2 in our series for How to Knit without a pattern. We are going to focus our attention on the BIG question … “What can I knit with the yarn I have?” You can read the series introduction to get a general overview here. In part 1 I shared some math equations to help you get to the cast-on number you need. Go read part 1 here.

It sounds so great, I have this skein of yarn and I want to knit it into a scarf! Well, hold on there, ducky. How much yarn do you have? Is it going to be the world’s thinnest scarf ever?

Or maybe you have a few skeins and you want to make it into a sweater – awesome! But is it enough for the sweater you want, or will it end up more like a crop sweater?

If you’ve been knitting for a while, then you know that knitting uses up several yards. But if you’re a newer knitter you may not quite know how much yarn you need for individual projects. And that’s totally ok!

But there are more things to consider besides just how much yarn you have. We are going to take a look at some other questions you may want to ask yourself as you begin planning to knit without a pattern.


Does the yarn determine the project?

Yes, and no. There are a lot of things you want to consider when you are knitting without a pattern. If you are using a wool, then you don’t want to make that into a dishcloth. Some 100% cotton has no stretch, so you probably want to avoid making it into things like hats or socks.

Super bulky yarn is great for blankets, but weird for socks. And fingering weight yarn is great for socks, but only great for blankets if you don’t mind working on it for the foreseeable future.

How to knit without a pattern investigate your yarn

When I have yarn that I don’t have a pattern for I spend some time really looking at the yarn, and feeling the individual strands as well as the whole ball. Here are some questions I ponder:

  • Is it light and airy, or is it dense and heavy?
  • Is it bumpy or smooth?
  • Does it have a halo?
  • Does the texture or color way require a simple stitch pattern?
  • Does this yarn have good stitch definition that would show off a fancy stitch pattern?

Usually once I finish answering these questions I already have an idea of what I would like to knit with the yarn, but, there’s one final question that will determine whether the object I want to knit is possible or not …

  • How many yards or meters do I have?

It seems crazy, I know. But truly, if you don’t have enough yards or meters then you may have to think of something else to knit.

If you have your heart set on this yarn becoming a particular item, then can you pick up another skein or two? Can you pair it with another stash yarn of the same yarn weight to make up the difference?

Bulky yarn definitely can come in a big ball. But be careful … some of those bulky weight balls have less than 100 yards in them! And while you can easily knit up a beanie with bulky weight yarn or a headband you will probably not be able to knit up a scarf or a cowl unless that cowl is very short.

What can I knit with the amount of yarn I have?

This is a very important question. But I don’t present it first because I feel that the other questions above are more important. If the thing you want to knit with this particular yarn can’t be done with what you have on hand, then can you settle for making something else?

Or will you be disappointed after finishing the knit?

Let’s try to avoid disappointing ourselves. Life’s hard enough. Let’s enjoy our knitting from start to finish!

Lion Brand Yarn has an excellent chart for ranges of yards and meters needed to knit various items. Check it out on their website here. (Image used below courtesy of Lion Brand Yarns.) This is also available as a free PDF download so you can print it and keep it in your knitting stash.

How much yarn do I need for various projects?

Another resource I want to share is a link to Jimmy Bean Wool who has actually created a calculator you can use for extremely specific items. This is a pretty cool calculator and before I give you the link I do want to draw your attention to the note they have. It says this is for Stockinette stitch and that you may want to add 20% more yarn if your project uses different stitch patterns including rib.

I’m just gonna go ahead and tell you to add 20%. Seriously, who likes to play yarn chicken? Not me. OK, here’s the link to Jimmy Beans Wool calculator.


What if I just want to stash bust?

Stash busting is a whole other rabbit hole we could go down. I will tell you that you can stash bust in a number of ways. There are also patterns available specifically for stash busting purposes, and you can search for those using “stash busting” as a keyword.

One thing I like to do is keep my yarn stash separated by weight. Group all my fingering together, the worsted weight, the bulky, etc.

Stash Busting knit without a pattern ideas

I have actually crocheted various yarn weights of similar colors together to create a super super bulky yarn which I then turned into a little mat that we keep by our front door. It’s so squishy! It’s truly delightful.

Another stash project I am making uses fingering weight yarn, and you knit these cute little hexagons. Eventually it will all be a blanket, but it’s a slow process. It’s called the Beekeepers Quilt knitting pattern and is published by Tiny Owl Knits Patterns. I am stuffing my little hexagons with weighted beads so this can be a weighted blanket.

In addition, scrap blankets or scarves are truly lovely. Just cast-on, knit them and leave fringe. I love that look, it’s so bohemian and fun!


Thanks for reading part 2, and I’ll be back soon with more information on how to knit without a pattern. Part 3 will cover “Can what I knit without a pattern become a pattern?” Check back soon!

If you have comments or questions, please leave them below.

hugs & Happy Knitting
Simple folded brim beanie knit pattern lite
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Free Knit Pattern Lite (like a knit pattern, but NOT a knit pattern)

Hello friend! In the section below are links to knit pattern lites that are like knit patterns, but are not knit patterns. So, what I mean by that, is these are items you can make from a simple pattern. BUT no one has tech edited or test knit these knit tutorials.

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