How To Ply Leftover Singles


 In a perfect world, we would spin singles with equal yardage and have none left over after plying. I’ve heard tales of this happening to a few lucky individuals but, for the rest of us, there’s going to be extra. Those last few, or not so few, yards sit on bobbins or spindles or straws or chopsticks while we forget about them completely for the next project. That is until we need that spindle or ran out of straws for extra yarn. I know that I have plenty of un-plied singles from when I first started spinning and had no idea what to do with the extra. My last few spinning projects have also left me with leftovers and I’m tired of them taking up space in my spinning box. The remaining yardage can easily be turned into a 2-ply yarn since the hard work of drafting is already done. 

The leftover single can have a lot more yardage than you think. A plied mini-skein can give you a little breathing room on the final rows of a project or be enough to knit a small trinket - like a Christmas ornament or bookmark. Plus, the mini skeins are cute and perfect for petting on a stressful day.


Wind the yarn off the spindle (or bobbin or straw) into a center pull ball. You can use a ball-winder, a nostepinne, or your hand. Just go slowly or risk snapping more delicate singles.


Once wound, pull out the end from the center and the outside. Tie them together in a knot and you’re ready to start plying with a spindle or a wheel.


The ends will pull out smoothly in the beginning but, as more of the singles move to the spindle, the ball will start to collapse. Go slowly and keep an eye out for potential tangles.



Let the fresh yarn rest for 24 hours before picking something small to skein up the yarn before dunking it in a bath. I used two small lamps and a book for a third un-pictured, mini skein.


Finally plied and finished, the yellow skein has 13 yds and the blue has 29 yds. I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll do with these skeins but, in the meantime, they’ll look cute on my desk.


Yarn. It should come as no surprise that I have it. Lots of it in fact. I track its acquisition and usage on Ravelry and in a giant, handy spreadsheet. I photograph it. I pet it. Hell, I even sniff it. There’s nothing like yarn fumes to start off knit night. Of course, I knit with it too. 

When I look at yarn I see a pair of socks, or a blanket, or a hat, or a scarf that can change someone’s day. Sometimes, I just see yarn and that’s okay because I can still see its potential. Yarn will become anything you or I put our minds to making. This is why I can’t get rid of leftovers. I might have only have a yard or even 10 or 20 but I know it has potential. That it can still be used and made into something new. I can’t just throw it away. That’s why I snapped these balls up at Knit Night from a friend that was getting rid of them. They have potential even if I don’t quite know what it is.


I have a few ideas though.

Any suggestions? What would you make with 20 yards of bulky yarn?