unraveling sweaters for yarn

I haven’t finished my 2013 goals post yet, but I’ve already been working on some of the items on the list.

One of my goals was to unravel some of the sweaters I’ve thrifted for yarn. This was another of those ideas that seemed so daunting to me, but was easy once I sat down to do it.

I knew I had one sweater that would be perfect for unraveling, but I wanted to give it a try on a sweater I didn’t particularly care about first. I got this sweater free from a friend’s Goodwill bag.

First, I removed the six oversized buttons and closures.


Then I tore out the crocheted seams keeping the knitted pieces together.


Then I found the places where the seams began and started unraveling. This sweater was somewhat complicated because there were about ten separate pieces. The edges and collar were separate, and were folded under and attached on the inside. It wasn’t too hard to figure out, but a regular four-piece sweater (two sleeves, front, and back) would have been easier.


I got four rather large balls of yarn out of it (~4″ diameter). The yarn isn’t the best quality because the individual strands don’t stay together, but it should be good for an experiment project. I’m thinking this short row scarf. I could use one of the oversized buttons for the closure.


I frogged my “good” thrifted sweater next. It had fewer pieces, so I assumed it would be easier to work with.



thought process of a cat: 1) a sweater is put on the floor. 2) let me check this out. 3) what an excellent place to groom!

Unfortunately, this piece was knitted with two strands together, meaning I had to wind two separate balls while I was unraveling each piece. I was careful to avoid tangling the strands and the process went rather slowly.


This yarn was a much better quality and I love the colors so I didn’t mind the extra work as much.


I got four balls approximately 3-3.5″ in diameter. My hand started to cramp if I wound the balls much larger than that.

Now all I need to do is find some projects for my new yarn!

There are lots of tutorials out there for unraveling sweaters. The main thing is to avoid serged seams and look for finished knit seams on the sweater you are planning to unravel.


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