Need Mini-Skeins?

I’ve spent a lovely few hours over the weekend discovering new to me indie dyers and drooling over their gorgeous yarn, and in particular their mini-skeins. So, I thought I’d write a blog post to recommend some of them to you and suggest which patterns their yarn might work with for our Winter Mini-Skein Knit-a-Long

Eligible KAL patterns: L to R clockwise, starting at top left: Winter Shawl, Choose Colour! CowlPatience Cowl, Hover, and Zastruga.

All of the following dyers are based in UK and all the mini-skeins referred to are of 4 ply / fingering-weight yarn. The dyers are in alphabetical order and I’m afraid that I can’t guarantee that they have mini-skeins in stock at the time of reading.


a Knit Away – Based in York, Emily stocks 20g mini-skein packs and ‘pick n’ mix’ minis in both speckles and solids, in beautiful muted tones. Would be great for any of the KAL patterns.

Brambles and Me – Mia dyes her yarn with naturally derived extracts from roots, bark, leaves and insects, and stocks nylon-free yarns. At the time of writing she is getting ready for the Yorkshire Yarn Fest (30th Nov) but if you get in touch with Mia, she may be able to give you more details about her lovely mini-skeins.

Castle View Yarns – Jen is based in Suffolk and is also getting ready for the Yorkshire Yarn Fest (30th Nov), so keep an eye out for mini-skeins appearing on her website soon, as she dyes lovely solid shades and variegated yarns too.

Easy Knits – Jon of Easy Knits dyes wonderfully saturated skeins and speckled 20g mini-skein fade sets. Would be great for any of the KAL patterns (the two Zastruga samples were knitted in Easy Knits yarn!)

Eden Cottage Yarns – Based in Cumbria, Victoria and her team have quite a few options for our KAL. Their Milburn 4ply in the Charcoal colour way would be perfect for the main colour of the Winter Shawl, they also have plenty of 20g ‘pick n mix’ mini-skeins too, including sparkly minis! Eden Cottage’s 20g mini-skein packs which would be great for any of the other KAL patterns.

Dusty Dimples – Dusty stocks beautiful 20g ‘pick n mix’ mini-skeins which would be great for any of the KAL patterns. She also has gorgeous lighter-coloured full skeins, would be beautiful as the main colour in the Winter Shawl, alongside some of darker mini-skeins – lots of options for all of the KAL patterns.

Hedgerow Yarns – Jane of Hedgerow Yarns stocks both 10g and 20g mini-skeins in cute little sets. They’d be lovely knitted up as one of the KAL cowls, or a Zastruga or Hover shawl too.

Fearless Yarns – has lots of mini-skein sets in both 10g and 20g weights in brilliantly saturated tones. At the time of writing, Aileen also has some ’12 Days of Christmas’ sets available too. You could find great yarn for any of the KAL patterns here!

For The Love of Yarn – If you celebrate Christmas, then Lisa has some lovely little Christmas baubles in her shop with a mini-skein inside and stitch markers too! You could make an amazing single loop Choose Colour! Cowl with three of these and then refill the baubles and hang them on your tree! Lisa also has a beautifully bright rainbow mini-skein set which would make a super cosy and thick Patience Cowl.

Iron Bridge Yarns – Felicity has some lovely 20g mini-skein sets, which would be brilliant for any of the KAL patterns. She also has beautiful pale colourways in full skeins: perfect for the Winter Shawl’s main colour.

It’s A Stitch Up – Susie stocks gorgeously bright mini-skeins in both ‘pick n mix’ form and in packs. She also has wonderfully saturated full skeins: great as the main colour in the Winter Shawl.

Kate Selene – Lots of mini-skein choice over on Kate’s website: 10g packs, 20g packs, solids, speckles and cute packaging too! I think Kate’s yarn would work really well with any of the KAL patterns – you might have a dilemma choosing which one to do!

The Knitting Goddess – Joy and Bobby produce a huge variety of mini-skein sets in both 10g and 20g options on several of their lovely British yarn bases. They even have a Lucky Dip mini-skein option if you’d like to knit yourself a surprise for the KAL!

LoveBugs Yarns – Diana has some cute mini-skeins sets in different sizes, including super-bright rainbows and a lovely birthstones set. She also some 100g dark grey skeins: perfect for the Winter Shawl.

Needle and Fred – Seem to be taking a break at the time of writing but from their Instagram feed, I can see that they have beautiful mini-skein sets in both variegated and solid colourways.

Nellie and Eve – Helen dyes with natural dyes and produces beautifully delicate yarn. Although there don’t appear to be any mini-skeins in her shop at the time of writing, you might like to check back, as Helen got in touch with me to say that she would be adding some very soon.

Pixel Atlantis – has a really great choice of ‘pick n mix’ mini-skeins in both solid and semi-solid colourways, which would be lovely for any of the KAL patterns – you might have a hard time making a choice!

Rainbow Cloud 5 – Kasia has some great ‘one of a kind’ mini-skein mystery sets in her shop and also some beautiful ‘pick n mix’ options (the 10g Christmas 2019 colourways would make a gorgeous fade effect for the Winter Shawl contrast colours – you’d need 2 of each colourway for the full contrast colour yardage!).

Rusty Ferret Yarn – Leona is taking a short break at the time of writing, but she has a wonderful selection of mini-skein sets and ‘pick n mix’ options. I knitted the featured Patience Cowl sample in Rusty Ferret and I’d also recommend Leona’s yarn for the Winter Shawl, as she dyes a beautiful dark grey which would be perfect for the main colour.

Sherry Iris – Although there aren’t any mini-skeins in stock at the time of writing, I can see from Sherry Iris’ Instagram grid that they dye-up the most lovely mini-skeins in pastel and muted tones, so keep an eye out!

Vicki Brown Designs – Vicki has lots and lots of 20g ‘pick n mix’ mini-skeins available on her website in solid, semi-solid and speckled colour ways. They’d work with any of the KAL patterns – I don’t know how you’re going to choose!

wildwoolE17 – Alice sells gorgeous speckled 20g mini-skeins in both sets and ‘pick n mix’ options, including some that are in fade sets. These would look beautiful in any of the KAL patterns.

WitchCraftyLady – Is used Almas’ 10 x 10g mini-skein set in the ‘Not Again’ colour way for my Choose Colour! Cowl sample. These minis are made from super soft Merino yarn and Almas’ dyes the colours so cleverly that the melt into each other in the cowl’s textured stitch section. She doesn’t have this particular set in stock at the time of writing, but she does have another set for sale (which comes with a project bag but there’s only one left, so be quick!), which would work for either of the cowl patterns or make a lovely Zastruga or Hover shawl too!

A grand total of 23 mini-skein yarn dyers – that should keep you busy for a while! Please let me know about any more that I could add in and if you’d like to know more about the knit-a-long (starting on 1st Dec), then have a read of this blog post from earlier this month!

Happy mini-skein ogling!

 

 

 

 

Mini-skein Patterns

Are you obsessed with mini-skeins? I think I’m getting that way too! I’m not quite sure what it is about them: whether it’s their cuteness (like little yarny babies) or if it’s their moreishness (that element of collecting a little bit of each colour reminds me of pick n’ mix sweeties)? And if you celebrate Christmas, then you might be gearing-up to peak mini-skein season, with a mini-skein advent calendar? Or maybe, like me,  you’ve got a lot of leftover yarn that are ‘mini-skeins’ in themselves?

It should come as no surprise to you to learn that I’ve designed several shawl and cowl patterns that make the most of these little yarny babies. And since I’m gearing-up to hosting a winter mini-skein knit-a-long (1st Dec to 29th Feb), I thought I’d write a little run down of some of my mini-skein patterns, incase you want to join-in and get planning. All of these patterns contain instructions to customise the design to suit the weight of the minis that you have, and if you’re inclined to do this you might find my recent blog post about weighing your yarn handy.

Zastruga, Winter 2017

4ECA650D-2342-4924-91E5-8D7A9795825DMy first pattern designed for 4ply/fingering weight mini skeins of 20g each is named after a Russian word for wind-eroded ice. Knitted in five sections, each representing a gradually worsening snow storm and featuring a different stitch pattern. This makes Zastruga a motivating knit and the pattern also includes ‘Off Piste’ instructions to help you get the most out of your special mini skeins. This version was knitted in minicakes from Easy Knits.

 

 

Hover, Summer 2017

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A bit of an experiment in side-to-side shawl knitting, Hover is named after the shawl’s shape, which resembles a hovering bird. Each mini skein section begins and finishes with a small textured pattern, and the stitch count increases towards the mid-point and then decreases back down. The desire to reach the next mini-skein and a decreasing stitch count in the second half, make Hover a moreish and fun shawl to knit.

The pattern has been written for 4ply/fingering weight mini skeins (in both linen or wool) ranging from 13g to 20g , and also includes ‘Gone Wild’ instructions explaining how to adapt the pattern to use other sizes of mini-skein.

This version was knitted in linen mini-skeins from Midwinter Yarns.

Patience, Winter 2018

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Last winter’s mini-skein knit-a-long pattern was Patience, a versatile double-loop cowl, which works really well with 4ply/fingering-weight mini-skeins from 5g upwards.

The knit-a-long last year was based around the advent period where knitters worked on a wee section of their cowl everyday. It seemed like such a little thing, but by spending a small amount of time each day, they had created a wonderful knitted accessory by the 25th December! It was lots of fun seeing what colours people chose or what was in their yarny advent calendar each day.

The Patience Cowl will work equally well with other types of mini-skeins or with leftover yarn (there’s instructions for 5g, 10g or 20g + mini-skeins). It’s also fab for fade-effect yarns, speckles or variegated yarn too. This sample was knitted in 5 x 20g 4ply/fingering-weight mini-skeins (Futrets) from Rusty Ferret Yarn.

Two more MHD mini-skein patterns coming soon (work-in-progress shots below)!

The Choose Colour! Cowl (left) and the fourth Shawl Saturday Series shawl (right), both of which will be eligible for the MHD mini-skein knit-a-long, and released by 1st Dec.

>>> Come and join-in with our Winter Mini-skein Knit-a-long <<<

If you’d like to join along with me and knit one of my mini-skein designs over the winter months, then come and take part in my knit-a-long, either on Ravelry or on Instagram. On Ravelry you can post about your planned mini-skein project in the special KAL chat thread or on Instagram, post photos of your minis or project plans using the hashtag #mhdminiskeinkal to take part (this will help me find your posts and I love drooling over mini-skein pics!). The knit-a-long officially begins on 1st Dec and will finish up on 29th Feb but feel free to post about your KAL plans or tell us all about your mini-skein advent calendar. There’ll be live knit-night chats, random prize draws and perhaps some real-life meet-ups here in Edinburgh. Come and join us!