You can save a significant amount of money by recycling yarn from an old sweater into a new crochet or knitting project. Go to your local thrift shop and look through the sweater section to find old silk, cashmere, wool or synthetic fiber sweaters.
Most sweaters are knitted from the bottom-up – which means they need to be deconstructed from the top-down. The first step in most cases is to deconstruct the sweater at all seams.
Deconstruct the Sweater
Begin with the sleeves. With a seam ripper, pull out the binding or seam. If you can’t easily pull the seam once you get it started, try going the other way. You should be able to simply pull the thread and have the seam easily com apart.
Next is the side seams and shoulder seams.
You should now have 4 parts of the sweater separated.
Begin with 1 piece of the sweater and start at the top. If the edge has binding, pull it out. Next – using the seam ripper, simply break the edge near a corner. Pull the broken yarn. It may take a few tries at this before being able to easily pull the yarn to unravel the sweater – but it will eventually work.
Simply unravel the sweater and roll into a ball as you go.
Wash the yarn. To get the crimping out of the yarn, you will have to rinse/wash it with water. I recommend using only water for any natural fiber – but you can use a little soap if you are washing a synthetic fiber (especially if there is a “smell” to get out).
I use a yarn swift (this one from Amazon: Yarn Swift) to make hanks out of all the yarn so I can easily rinse and hang it to dry.
You will now have wonderful recycled yarn to use for your next project – at a fraction of what you would have paid for brand new yarn!