Opal Mini Ball Projects

pile of mini balls of Opal 4ply sock yarn at the woolly brew


We've sold Opal mini balls for a while now.

They're 10g balls of the very popular self-patterning sock yarn. Each ball has 42m of yarn and they are super cute and colourful. They don't have shade numbers and I can't pick the colours so it's always a surprise when they arrive.

In the Pittenweem shop I often get asked what they are used for... well...

The obvious answer is socks - although you do need more than one ball for even a baby pair. But you do get a fab 'frankensock' effect when you mix all the different patterns together.


frankensock made up of mini balls of opal sock yarn wool


This sock uses 60g of sock yarn - so 6 mini balls. I split each ball in two, so that I would get a pair of socks that look similar, but also so I could pack as many colours and patterns into one sock.

I used a simple pattern, a free one we have in the shop. There are also lots of patterns available online. My current favourite one is by Meaghan Schmaltz and is available on Ravelry.

But as I often say... sock yarn is not just for socks! It also works really well for smaller projects (so the coloured patterns come together) and for holding multiple strands together for yarn blending.

So another great project for the mini-balls is our Simple Cowl pattern.

Originally done using one self patterning sock yarn and a solid colour of Socks Yeah 4ply, the cowl pattern is very versatile and is quite striking in mismatched stripes.

a stripey cowl using mini balls of opal 4ply sock yarn at the woolly brew

The cowl above uses 5 mini balls. I just knitted one ball after the other to give big blocky stripes. I did try and choose colours that were different to give a nice contrast. But you could choose similar shades for a more muted stripe effect.


short cowl in mini balls of opal 4ply sock yarn wool at the woolly brew


Obviously you don't have to knit each ball in turn... you could stripe them together.


two stripey wristwarmers using mini balls of opal sock yarn at the woolly brew

These wrist warmers show the two techniques. Each uses two balls. The wrist warmer on the left has two row stripes, alternating each ball. I just carried the unused yarn loosely up the inside, so there aren't lots of ends to weave in. For the wrist warmer on the right I knit one ball after the other.

work in progress wrist warmer using mini balls of Opal sock yarn on double pointed needles
double pointed needles in action

Wrist warmers are a great first project for beginner in the round knitters. I knitted mine using Double Pointed Needles (DPNs) but you could try out different techniques like magic loop or two circulars or even knit two at a time. All great practice if you want to go on and knit socks.

The wrist warmers are very easy to modify. By adding a ribbed end you can make it closer fitting but stretchy. You could knit them longer (use 3 balls for each one) to make sleeves for chilly days. Knitting them in the round means you can try them on as you go so you can make them wider if you need to. A quick way to do this is simply use a larger needle for the forearm end.

Another excellent project is a tube cowl. This is just a really long tube (again you knit in the round using you're preferred method for knitting a small circumference).

tube cowl in mini balls of opal sock yarn at the woolly brew

Like the wrist warmers, there is no shaping and you're knitting a small 'sock width' circumference so all the lovely self patterning comes out really well. You can knit each ball one after the other, or do some striping or both. This cowl uses 10 mini balls. 

All these projects will work well with leftovers too. But if your stash needs an injection of different you can buy mini balls in the Pittenweem shop and online here.

And if you want to go all in on mini balls try our newest yarn kit...

An armful of 20 mini balls in a Doris & Hazel drawstring project bag with lots of ideas, tips and tricks to get the most from your balls... a MINI BALL BAG yarn kit!

doris and hazel handmade drawstring bags filled with mini balls of Opal 4ply sock yarn wool at the woolly brew
handmade drawstring Doris & Hazel project bags


You can use this kit as a countdown to a special day.

Or as motivation to get you through your gift knitting list.

Or as a cheeky palate cleanser during a large never ending project.

Or just because it's cute mini balls and lots of fun.

Each project bag is handmade by Doris & Hazel and is filled with 20 mini balls. Each is unique and non repeatable.

You can dip your hand into the bag each day to pull out a surprise mini ball of yarn. Pick a project and knit each ball daily - creating unique and surprising colour combos.

Or you can empty out the bag and choose specific colours for a project... using similar shades, or clashing colours or even try and find a gradient effect.

It's suitable for beginners, although it does not teach you how to knit.

It does feature only knitting 'in the round' patterns but the yarn and general principle will work for crochet patterns. And of course you can do your own thing.

It is great fun. But if you like things to match and you don't like random, it might not be for you.

You can see our current selection of bags here... the yarn is a surprise!

Oh. This would make a great short advent calendar and a great Christmas gift, but it's not just for Christmas. It will be available all year round. That's the aim. But as the bags are handmade and the yarn handpicked there may be short periods where it is not available!

See the Mini Ball Bag yarn kit here.


projects using opal mini balls of 4ply sock yarn

shades used in these projects may not be in the Mini Ball Bag yarn kit


  • Hi Susan, the cowl is a short version of of Simple Cowl. You can find the free pattern here… https://thewoollybrew.co.uk/collections/free-patterns/products/simple-cowl

    The Woolly Brew
  • Love the suggestions in this post. Just wondering how many stitches should be cast on for the tube cowl and on what size needles? Any help you can offer would be great. I’ve just moved to Fife and will be visiting your shop very soon – so excited!


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