How to Recycle old yarn into a new Garment – Knit for Free!


I thought I would write about re-using the wool from an old knitted item in case younger readers wonder how to begin.

This was a well loved little jacket but it had become too tight. It was made from 100% wool yarn so I was loth to bin it. I would not bother “pulling out” or “ripping” if it was cheap yarn or a very fluffy mohair type – not worth the work.

DSCF9093First unpick all the seams. It is worth being very careful with this because if you snip the wrong thread you will end up with joins. My jacket had a collar so I removed this first and then opened all the other seams.

DSCF9091You must begin at the cast off end. Unpick the stitch you fastened off and begin to pull the yarn winding it into a ball. I always make a neat oval ball but it is not important here as you will soon be winding each ball into a hank.


To wind into hanks you need two things to wind it round. If you can persuade someone to sit with their hands out this is the best. I used to use an upturned stool as two of the legs worked quite well. This time I used the knobs on my old dresser. Knot the yarn onto one of the knobs and begin winding one of the balls round the two knobs. Do this quite loosely as you want to be able to life the hank off and if it is too tight you will not be able to.




When you get to the end of your ball take  some scrap yarn in a different colour, tie it to the end of the unravelled yarn and tie it round the hank. You can add 2 or 3 of these ties – these keep the hank together when you wash it!


As you can see it is very curly. In order to relax the wool give it a gentle hand wash and rinse. After squeezing out most of the rinsing water you can hang it up to dry.


You can weight the hanks to help straighten the wool but I don’t bother. The weight of the water dripping down helps pull the hanks straight. When they are dry (it does take a while so choose a nice day) give each hank a light press with the steam iron and the rewind each hank into a new ball.

I now have a bag of pure wool yarn ready to re use. It will never be as smooth as new so you can either just embrace the crinkle or choose a stitch to disguise it.

When I have caught up with my 2 works in progress I will show you the finished garment.

Here is the finished jacket – this is a poor pic but it is really wearable and I am pleased with it. I used double moss stitch to cover up the crinkles and I used the yarn 3 ply to make an Aran tension.


2 thoughts on “How to Recycle old yarn into a new Garment – Knit for Free!

  1. Goodness me this took me right back to my childhood when I’d be sat on a chair with my hands apart holding a skein of washed wool while Mum wound it into a ball. I’d be desperate to go out to play but couldn’t until the wool had been done!

  2. My Mum could knit but did not enjoy it (she was more of a career woman) it was my Grandma who I used to help. I enjoyed this project but I am now making a pair of cushion covers in fisherman’s rib in Brand New Pure Wool – it is so lovely to knit with.

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