Sweater to Sweater

I adore upcycling things, especially yarn. No sweater is safe if it is too big, too small or rarely worn. After a recent dive into my closet I stumbled upon a dark navy cabled cotton sweater that fit okay but was rather long and heavy. Solution: cut it up and save the yarn!

Sweater UpcyclingThe tricky thing about disassembling store-bought sweaters is knowing where to start. On this sweater, there were machine-sewn seams seemingly impossible to separate. Pulling on each thread at both ends of the seams, looking for the magical string to unwind it all, seemed fruitless. I became rather frustrated and decided to, oh, you know, chop a few inches off of the top. The exposed live stitches led me in the right direction.

After ripping out a few rows and joining loose ends from my hasty chopping, I was able to unravel without too many complications. As much as I love making things, there is something equally satisfying about taking them apart. Like a mad scientist I whip the yarn out of its chunky cables, winding it into a ball (maniacal laughing optional).

Upcycling yarn from a sweater cuffThe only other issue I ran into was with the ribbing along the bottom of the sweater and sleeves. The yarn continued to unravel easily but there was an added thread, an elastic thread, that made winding a pain. You can see it in the above photo (the fuzzy bit that does not want to play nicely with the yarn). After a few failed attempts at winding, I decided to save the cuffs for another project where elasticity would be more welcome.

Upcycled Yarn SweaterAll of the work has paid off as I now have a lovely summer sweater using the Puff-Sleeved Feminine Cardigan pattern from the Fitted Knits book by Stefanie Japel. To be honest, I was not a huge fan of the puffy sleeves. Thankfully, the yarn is heavy enough to pull the sleeves down flat. It fits beautifully and looks darling atop a dress or skirt.

Sweater Picot EdgeAfter all that, I still have enough yarn to make another sweater, Cap Sleeve Lattice Top by Purl Soho. I decided to work in the round on this one, which is proving helpful, as there are about twenty miles of stockinette. It’s coming along wonderfully!

Cap Sleeve Sweater ProgressHave you ever upcycled yarn from another garment or do you have recommendations for unraveling machine-sewn seams?


11 thoughts on “Sweater to Sweater

  1. Oh my gosh! Im very impressed. My Mum used to talk about doing this, but Ive never done it myself. To be honest, I rarely buy a knitted jumper! But now that I think about it.. I do have a couple in the cupboard I wasnt sure what to do with…


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