drawstring bags


We've put together some pattern inspiration and shop samples for small knitting projects using the mini balls of Opal 4ply sock yarn found in our Mini Ball Bag kits.


mini balls of Opal 4ply sock yarn

mini balls of Opal 4ply sock yarn


All these ideas will work for any 4ply yarn - perfect for stash busting and great for scrappy projects if you have some leftover 4ply yarn.

This page is regularly updated with new ideas and shop samples.

If you'd like to see some of these 4ply projects in real life, visit our Pittenweem shop. All the details on how to visit are here.

You can buy our Mini Ball Bags here, or individual mini balls of Opal 4ply sock yarn here or see our full size Opal balls here!


What's a Mini Ball Bag?

Each handmade project bag contains 20 mini balls of Opal sock yarn.

Each cute mini ball has 10g/42m of self patterning yarn and each bag has a variety of colour and pattern effects. Each bag is unique.

Included in the bag is a leaflet of knitting ideas, tips and tricks and a menu of projects to help you allocate your balls - helping you get the most from your project bag.

There are lots of ways to use this kit...

  • As a countdown to a special day.
  • Or as motivation to get you through a gift knitting list.
  • Or as a cheeky palate cleanser during a large never ending project.
  • Or gift for a yarnie friend.
  • Or just because it's cute mini balls and lots of fun.😊

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.

Opal sock yarn is a classic 4ply weight. It is a wool/polyamide blend giving warmth, elasticity and durability, as well as moisture wicking properties. And it’s machine washable too.


1. Hand knit socks

You can get fantastic looking socks using one 100g ball of Opal sock yarn but when you use mini balls you can combine lots of different colours and patterns to make a Franken Sock.👇


frankensock made up of mini balls of opal sock yarn wool


A pair of socks (for me) 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 each 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.


scrappy sock


In the shop, people often think this sock is from one ball of sock yarn as the patterning looks deliberate. In fact it's 6 different mini balls (split in half). I think it looks less scrappy than the first Franken Sock I made as 5 of the mini balls I used had a black and white 'fair isle' effect.

This wasn't deliberate! In fact it can be tricky to guess what the mini ball will turn into as often the outside of the ball doesn't reflect all the colours and patterning.

TOP TIP - to work out how much yarn you'll need to knit a pair of socks - If you have a pair of 4ply hand knit socks at home, weigh them and that will give you an idea of how many mini balls you will need to make yourself a pair. I'm a size 6.5 and use about 60g of yarn. Although for these scrappy socks I nearly ran out at the toe... I think I knitted the leg a bit longer than usual. 

Some knitters prefer to knit their socks from the toe up. That way they can knit the leg the length their yarn allows for. I shared some toe-up sock tips in Septembers 2022 WiP update.

Looking for a baby sock pattern? Try Kate Atherley's free pattern on Ravelry. You only need 2 balls for the newborn size. I'm planning to make a pair as a shop sample so come back later to see it here.


2. Baby jumper

Another fun baby knit is the Flax Light jumper by Tin Can Knits.


multicoloured baby jumper

Flax Light designed by Tin Can Knits (free here) in 4ply sock yarn (blocked)


Flax Light is knitting pattern for a jumper and is part of Tin Can Knits Simple Collection - a collection of free learn to knit patterns.

It is knitted seamlessly from the top down. A baby jumper is a great introduction to this technique and Tin Can Knits have provided lots of help to guide you.

For this 0-6 months Flax Light baby jumper I used 5 balls but you really need 6 (I mistakenly knitted the rib around the body and my sleeves a wee bit shorter and only had a tiny bit of yarn left).


multicoloured baby jumper with small balls of yarn

Flax Light designed by Tin Can Knits (free here) in 4ply sock yarn (unblocked)


For this 0-6 months size, this is how I blended the colours (always ending a ball at the beginning of the round):

I worked about 2" of the first ball (A) before striping in the second ball (B) with 2 row stripes.

When A runs out carry on with B. When you stop increasing at the raglan start striping B with the third ball (C), again 2 row stripes.

When you separate the body and sleeves cut B (set aside for sleeves) and continue with C only.

Knit about 1" with C only.

After that start striping C with the fourth ball (D), 2 row stripes of each.

Continue with C and D stripes for 2".

Cut C (set aside for sleeves).

Continue with D and add in the fifth ball (E) working 2 row stripes of each.

When you get to 4 inches cut D (set aside for sleeves) and continue with E striping in the sixth ball (F).

When you get to 5" (from the underarm) you then start the rib. I did not stripe this. Remember I didn't use a sixth ball but would have needed it if I hadn't knitted parts too short. So I should have striped in F.


multicoloured baby jumper


TOP TIP to get more matching sleeves half each of the small amounts set aside for the sleeves so that the sleeves would look similar. This was all guessed as my kitchen scales are not sensitive enough. I then striped these together in the same order as the body. I just used what I had as the balls were not equal.

Obviously you don't need to use mini balls to get this variegated look. Keep all your leftover 4py sock yarn and put together your own colour palette, perhaps adding some variety with a mini ball or two. 


Baby garments are a perfect way to show of self patterning sock yarns as the colours come together in the intended pattern (remember Opal 4ply sock yarn is designed for socks). Other small projects also turn out great...


3. Short Cowl

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


This is a short version of 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.

The cowl above uses 5 mini balls. I just knitted one ball after the other to give 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.

To make it taller just knit more balls.


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


TOP TIP - count how many knit rows you did after the rib using your first ball, do the same number of rows for your last ball and you should have enough yarn to finish the rib and cast off.


Obviously you don't have to knit each ball in turn, you could stripe them together as seen in our second idea - wrist warmers.


4. Wrist Warmers

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


Each wrist warmer 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.


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 or other in the round projects.


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.

TOP TIP - A quick way to increase the width is simply to use increasingly larger knitting needles for the forearm end. So start with a 3mm and as your arm gets wider switch to 3.25, 3.5 and 3.75mm needles.

5. Tube Cowl

Another excellent project is a tube cowl. Like the wrist warmers, there is no shaping and you're knitting a small 'sock width' circumference so all the lovely self patterning comes together really well. 


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


To make this cowl, use a 3mm needle (however you like to knit a small circumference) and cast on 60 stitches. Join to work in the round and knit every round. This cowl uses 10 mini balls. You can knit each ball one after the other, or do some striping or both.

By joining the the cast on and cast off edges together (mattress stich is good) you make a long loop that can be wrapped twice around your neck.


multicoloured tube cowlTube cowl knitted by Pamela


If you don't join the cast on and cast off edges you get a scarf. Kathryn used more than 10 balls and added some ribbing at each end of this tube scarf.


multi coloured scarf made by Kathryn


Carla made an entirely different type cowl of using a free pattern from Ravelry. The Adventskalender-Loop 2019 by Melanie Pees uses 24 mini balls so it's perfect as an advent calendar project. Plain knits rounds are alternated with different lace sections making an interesting knit.


multicoloured lace cowl

Adventskalender-Loop 2019 knitted by Carla (available for free on Ravelry)


6. Asymmetrical Scarf or Shawl

An asymmetrical scarf is another great way to use a self patterning yarn. The colours and patterning are 'stretched' across an increasing number of stitches so you get different widths to your 'stripes' of colour.


multi coloured scarf

 Asymmetrical Scarf a free shop pattern you can download here.


Using 10 balls of Opal 4ply mini balls this scarf is a lot of fun to knit and really shows off the versatility of self-patterning sock yarn.


scarf in progress


In smooth stocking stitch Opal self-patterning  sock yarn can give the look of 'fair isle' or stranded colour work. But our Asymmetrical Scarf is knitted in garter stitch, where you knit every row, so you get garter stitch bumps giving pops of colour. And as the colours are knitted across more and more stitches, the overall colour effect is more muddled.


multicoloured garter stitch


7. Marling 

Now, if you've been reading about any of our shop samples in the Gallery you will have seen me mention marling, or working with multiple strands of yarn held together.

We have a couple of ideas (and shop samples) on how to use your Mini Ball Bag for marling thus changing the self patterning effect of the yarn and making thicker things - perfect for colder weather and quick knits. The first project is a version of our free shop pattern for Simple Mitts.


multi coloured fingerless mitts and 5 mini balls of yarn


This marled mitt is made using two strands of Opal 4ply sock yarn held together. It's very easy to knit with two strands of yarn. You don't need to wind the two yarns into one ball, just hold the two strands together and knit (or purl). 

I tried to choose balls that were different in colour. For a pair of mitts you’ll need at least five 10g balls. 

Like the scrappy socks, to make a pair of mitts that look similar, split the 10g balls into two balls so each colour is used in both mitts.

TOP TIP - If you make the balls different lengths (I did it by weight using my kitchen scales) then the colours will blend more rather than the two strands running out at the same time.

This free fingerless mitt pattern is available to download. There are two patterns listed. For these marled mitts I used the Simple Mitts pattern but added a (K2, P1) rib at the wrist and fingers.


multi coloured knitted hat


For the second marled idea I made a hat using Hedgehog Fibres Scrappy Marl hat pattern. You can download here.

This hat looks amazing! It used about 6 balls. Again I split the balls up into 12 differently sized balls and knitted two different colours together. I tried to choose colours that looked different to each other for maximum marl effect.


multicoloured garter stitch baby cardigan


This little jacket uses the Pop Baby Cardigan pattern which is normally knit in DK yarn. Instead I held two strands of Opal 4ply sock yarn together to achieve DK-ish weight, turning a cardigan into a thicker more robust jacket. I knitted the 6-9mth size and used about 150g of yarn. I did use the full sized balls of Opal Hundertwasser but you can achieve a similar but wilder effect with Opal 4ply mini balls!  You can read more about this project here.


Remember all these projects will work well with 4ply leftovers too. 

But if your stash needs an injection of something 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 Mini Ball Bag.

drawstring bags


Page last updated on 24th March 2024

get in touch

If you need any more info or help with what to buy, pattern ideas or techniques, please get in touch.

We're always happy to help.