One of the questions I get asked a fair bit is if there’s enough yarn in a set of mini skeins to make socks. Our smaller sets of mini skeins have 80 grams and either 320m or 340m of yarn depending on the base.

If you crochet – the answer is probably not. Crochet is yarn hungry, so unless you want short socks I suspect you’d need to supplement the mini skeins with a contrast colour. Crocheting socks is very much on my to do list – and if anyone has suggestions for a good basic pattern which would be good for someone with limited crochet skills please let me know.

When it comes to knitted socks it’s a little trickier. My size 7 feet take socks made from around 60 grams of 4ply sock yarn. That gives me 10 rounds of rib and 70 rounds of leg before I start on the heel. So in theory I should have plenty of yarn in a set of mini skeins as these weigh 80 grams.

Where it gets trickier is if you want to make all of your stripes the same width. This will either be essential to you or seem pointless – and whichever way you feel is right for you.

Why? If you knit socks with a heel flap and gusset there are more stitches after the heel flap is worked and stitches picked up round it. If you want matching socks those extra stitches need to be worked in the same yarn on both socks and that’s where you can get close to running out of yarn.

So how do you manage this?

If you’ve knitted a couple of pairs of plain socks for yourself you’ll have a pretty good idea about how many rounds you need to work, both for the leg and the foot.

The first way to make your yarn go further might sound counter-intuitive. If you knit narrower stripes you’ll have more ends, but you’ll change colours during the bits of the sock where rounds have more stitches. Knitting your ends in as you go makes this a lot less painful.

If you want to go for a single stripe in each colour and want matching socks I’d recommend carefully splitting each mini skein in half so you know exactly how much yarn you have to work with. Avoid working the heel flap AND picking up the gusset stitches AND working lots of rounds in the same colour. That’s a lot to ask half of a mini skein to do.

If you need to work couple of rounds less of a colour the rounds where the foot bends are the easiest place to hide this. Unless you spend your life with your toes elegantly pointed those couple of rows less won’t be noticeable.

One way round this is to use a little extra yarn – and that’s where those leftover ends of skeins from 100 gram sock skeins come in really useful. Using an alternative yarn for the heel flap won’t hurt the look of your socks, and it will make it a lot easier to have mini skein colours where you want them. You could add a matching toe too, so it looks completely planned.

If you’re happy to mix colours up then knitting one sock red, orange, yellow green, turquoise, blue, violet and pink and the other pink, violet and so on means the colours that get used most aren’t the same.

Have fun whatever you decide.