One of the best things about Christmas dinner is, of course, the leftovers. The turkey sandwich carefully assembled on Boxing Day (or, in my family, often as a late Christmas-night snack) is almost better than the original meal it came from.

And it can be the same with your knitting. If you knit shawls or socks or beautiful baby clothes, I would bet the contents of my Christmas stocking that your stash is littered with leftover balls of sock yarn. Beautiful, pretty, soft, hand-dyed sock yarn that is too lovely to throw away, but too small to be of use.

Now, if you are blessed with the patience of a saint, and the kind of decor that can take a strong statement, you could attempt the Beekeeper’s Quilt. (Although, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT cast it on now in the hope of finishing it before Christmas. That way an aneurysm lies my friend).

But if you’re looking for something a little more manageable and a lot more speedy, may I suggest Mitt Envy. These little fingerless mittens only need 120yds of sock yarn and are the perfect way to use up those scraps. The simple cable pattern adds a bit of interest and, with a pretty yarn proudly on display, the end result is a gift where the knitting-effort to fancy-appearance ratio is weighed heavily in your favour.

I’ve made several pairs of these – the first in a Mirasol yarn that is deliciously soft and bouncy but, to be honest, a little too busy for the pattern. A follow-up pair in Koigu was rather more successful.


And even though I made them three years ago, I still wear them all the time. I used a slightly larger needle, resulting in a loose comfortable fit. The third time, I made a couple of variations.


In beautiful Woolen Rabbit Essence yarn, I used a smaller needle, lengthened the cuff, and added an extra couple of cable repeats. These  give a snug fit, and my hands and wrists are quite narrow, so you might want to check your gauge/fit. It would be very easy to add or subtract stitches to adjust if necessary. If you were feeling ambitious, I think it would be relatively simple to carry on knitting, and then decrease as though you were make the toe of a sock and voila, a full mitten (obviously extending and closing the thumb as well).

Alas, these are the ones that were devoured by Satan’s minions eaten by moths, so I owe myself another pair at some point. But for now they’re another quick knit to add to my growing pile of gifts…

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2 Responses to Leftovers

  1. linda says:

    loving these little patterns thanks for the links to them Happy Christmas x

  2. Miss Bacchus says:

    Agree completely with the leftovers on any holiday being better the next day. Love the idea with the leftover yarn. Funny–I remember those fingerless mittens from the 1980’s.

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