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Reclaiming Yarn From a Thrift Store Sweater

Posted on April 2, 2011

Reclaiming yarn from thrift store sweaters is a wonderful and frugal way to get some very nice yarn at a terrific price. I’m always on the lookout for great deals on sweaters that I can unravel the yarn. You have to make sure you get the right type of seams otherwise the sweater won’t unravel properly making it difficult to reclaim the yarn.

There are several excellent resources on the Internet where seams that can be unraveled easily are shown. Most importantly the bad type of seams are shown so you can avoid those sweaters as there is nothing more frustrating than trying to unravel a sweater when it’s unravel-able. Here is a link to an outstanding post that shows detailed pictures of the seams and how to unravel sweaters.

Here is my latest thrift store sweater that I got for a dollar. It had a new stains but otherwise was an outstanding candidate for me to reclaim the yarn. It’s 100% cotton and was an extra large men’s sweater so it contains lots of yarn.

Cotton yarn is something that I use frequently and it’s very versatile. I can make baby blankets, dishcloths, baby bibs, hotpads, potholders, placemats, rugs, totes, and purses from the recycled sweater I unraveled.


Here is a up-close photo of the seam. If you look closely you can see that the seam doesn’t have a serged edge. I have marked the stitching of the seam in the photo. The stitching is what you want to use a seam ripper to remove so you can open the seam and separate the pieces for unraveling. You want to avoid edges that are serged as the piece won’t unravel. Click to supersize the photo if you want to see a closeup.


I wrap the reclaimed yarn in a hank form for washing as shown here. Once I have it in a hank form with a few ties to hold it in place, I gently wash and rinse it in the sink. Then I hang it to dry so my reclaimed yarn is clean and fresh smelling. And because I like balls of yarn, here is one sleeve that I wound into a ball after washing and drying.

Now I just need to finish unraveling the rest of the sweater and decide on a project or two for the recycled yarn. I’m thinking about using some of the reclaimed yarn for dishcloths and because the yarn is so soft, I plan to use some it for a baby blanket.

With the cost of cotton rising these days, it seems reclaiming yarn is not only a green thing to do but also very frugal. I hope you have found this post informative and if you find yourself strapped for money or yarn that you consider reclaiming yarn. As always, happy crafting to all.

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One Response to “Reclaiming Yarn From a Thrift Store Sweater”

  1. GrannyJ
    Apr 02, 2011

    I love reclaiming yarn. One other source for reclaimed yarn is thrift store afghans. I’ve seen them for as low as $1.99 for a twin bed size afghan.



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About Me

Hello, Iā€™m Cindy or aka RecycleCindy. I love to learn and share information about crocheted and other items crafted from recycled materials. This is a green, eco-friendly website that is dedicated to recycling and crafting.
This blog and my life have taken on a new journey when on March 10, 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have added a special area on my blog in which I chronicle my journey into the pink.
Thank you for stopping by to visit and for your interest in My Recycled Bags!

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