Recycle Yarn: Rip Out a Sweater and Reuse It!

Have you ever had a thread of yarn dangle off a sweater and start to unravel the garment? If you have a perfectly good sweater in your closet that hasn’t seen the light of day for a while, why not grab a tread and start to pull?

I’ve been going through my closets to free up precious storage space. My closet weeding dug up a pile of old wool sweaters and unfinished knitting projects. One of the sweaters had a hole peeking off the cuff. I started to pull, and soon found it immensely satisfying to keep ripping. As I watched the yarn mount up, I realized I could reuse the yarn to knit a new sweater! Once the sweater was transformed back to its original material Ė a skein of yarn, I’ve been reusing the yarn to make small knitted projectshats, socks, scarves and bags.

How To Rip Out a Sweater and Reuse The Yarn:

Snip the bottom of the sweater. It will unravel as you pull. When you rip out a knitted garment, the yarn may be stretched out and kinky. The yarn will need to be wound around something. The easiest way to do this is to use a yarn swift or a wool winder. If you don’t have either of those, tie an end to the side of a chair and wind the yarn around the chair as it unravels.

After you’ve enjoyed the liberating feeling of pulling apart a sweater, soak the sweater in cool water (don’t agitate in washing machine or the yarn will felt) with a small amount of mild eco-detergent.

Hang the hank of yarn to drip dry on a towel or clothes rack, or even place it over a showerhead (keep your floors dry). If the yarn is still kinky, when it is almost dry, wrap the yarn around a chair with a little tension.

Wind yarn into balls, grab your needles and start knitting!

Check This Out: Here is one of the most incredible videos I have ever seen on the subject of unraveling yarn!


Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

It's amazing what you learn while ripping out old sweaters also ---- taught me a lot of things about knitting! Thanks!

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Jennifer U.
Jennifer A5 years ago

This is brilliant! I will definitely be using this idea at some point, thanks for sharing!

Silvia W.
Silvia W6 years ago

That's a great way to use old sweaters!

Ann Fuller
Ann Fuller6 years ago

Some very good ideas. Thank you

Miriam N.
Miriam N6 years ago

Much more useful to DONATE your old winter clothes to poor people and, if you have a job or some income - BUY YOURSELF A NEW ONE, or if you like knitting and crocheting - BUY YOURSELF NEW WOOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Such a waste of time and energy for a few bucks of old yarn . To think some people make a living ($$$) of such ideas .....

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Mirian W.
Mirian W.6 years ago

fine Burberry sweaters
-fine Burberry sweaters

Jenny S.
Jen S6 years ago

If washing fails to remove the kinking or you find the yarn was spun with overtwist, as many commercial singles are, you can either weight the hank as it dries. Use something light so you don't stretch it. Or you can steam the hank of yarn. Do this carefully-wear gloves! (I have a heavy pair that came with the rotisserie.) I use a teakettle and rotate the hank over it, in sections, then allow it to dry.

Maureen D.
Maureen Daniels7 years ago

This is just what my mum used to do when we were little, (mind you, I hated wearing home-made stuff when my friends were in new fashionable clothes) !! What a good idea to buy garments in nice yarn from charity shops to re-knit. And, of course, nowadays it's fashionable to recycle.
I feel a project coming on . . . Thank you for the inspiration. M x