How to Create a Simple, Beautiful Scarf with Leftover Yarn

Check out Jane’s Leftover Yarn Scarf — you won’t believe that such a lovely scarf uses leftover yarn!

Jane's Leftover Yarn Scarf

It’s so hard to know what to do with leftover yarn sometimes, isn’t it? I think the most frugal knitters among us absolutely hate to throw out yarn. It seems so wasteful, even if I have really tiny amounts.

I have often created balls of yarn that ended up about the size of my thumb. Yet I still couldn’t bear to throw them out!

Stripes: a Great Way to Use Leftover Yarn

Fortunately, stripes are a great way to use up tiny amounts of yarn for just about any project. I’ve used leftover yarn to knit up tiny quantities of sock yarn into preemie hats, or slightly larger amounts of yarn for adult hats.

As I have confessed in the past, though, I do sometimes find stripes a little dull, particularly if they’re stockinette. Stockinette stitch is probably the prettiest way to knit stripes, but miles of knit stitches tend to make my eyes cross, even when I get to change color frequently.

Regardless, I do love stripes, and I’ve written about ways to spice up stripes before. I’ve also written about ways you can avoid stripe issues, like the dreaded “jog” in circular knitting or changing colors in flat knitting (without breaking the yarn every time).

For more scarf knitting patterns and charities to which you can send them, take a look at “Your Ultimate Guide to Knitting Scarves for Charity“!

About Jane’s Simple, Beautiful Scarf Pattern

leftover yarn scarf
Photo: Jane Lewis

If you’re looking for a simple, beautiful way to knit leftover yarn into a gorgeous scarf, I’d like to introduce you to Jane Lewis. Jane posted her beautiful scarf in progress to the Knitting for Charity Facebook page one day. To it she added the following caption:

“Long scarf on the needles, made with a collection of leftover yarn. It will go to charity for the Syrian refugees; there are 2 million of them in camps in Kurdistan.”

This photo and caption blew my mind! Not only was Jane knitting this beautiful scarf solely from leftover yarn, but she was also going to donate it to charity to help Syrian refugees. Amazing!

I shared her photo to the page timeline to make sure everyone saw it, and naturally someone asked for the pattern. I asked Jane about the pattern, and she explained that she just made it up herself. Very graciously, Jane agreed not only to write it out for me, but also to let me publish it here.

Need Yarn? Try one of these options!

So without further ado: Jane’s Leftover Yarn Scarf!

Jane’s Leftover Yarn Scarf Pattern Instructions

Supplies needed: US Size 9 or UK size 5 (5.5 mm) needles
Chunky yarn or DK-weight yarn, held double

Cast on 60 stitches using either chunky yarn or 2 strands of DK-weight yarn held together on 5.5 mm needles (US size 9, UK size 5).

Row 1: K2, P2.
Row 2: Purl all stitches.

Bind off when you reach your desired length.

The scarf you see here is 15 inches (40 cm) wide and over 5 ft (1 m, 80 cm) long. Each color is about 4 inches (10 cm) wide, with 18 rows per color. If you want to make a narrower scarf, you could probably get away with casting on 48 or 52 stitches instead.

(By the way, if you’re not able to get that kind of length on your scarf? No worries: just seam the ends together, and you’ll end up with a lovely cowl!)

Of course, there’s no reason to stick with Jane’s color changes. You can change color whenever you want and use any yarn you have! As my Spice up Your Stripes article mentions, you can make stripes of varying widths to add visual interest. (Of course, the texture of this scarf does that as well.)

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget that you can hold different colors of yarn together as well. It makes an interesting, almost tweedy effect.

Jane plans to send her scarf to Knit for Peace in London. She says, “It will go to refugees, long wide scarves have been asked for so people can wrap them round their head and neck. “

Many thanks to Jane for offering us her simple, beautiful scarf pattern. I hope it inspires you to use your leftover yarn in a beautiful way!

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    1. I don’t happen to have a photo of the completed scarf, but the “scarf-in-progress” photo shows you what the stitch pattern looks like. You can then add fringe to the ends if you’d like, or leave it as is.