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I do sometimes feel guilty about the amount of brand new craft supplies I purchase. Not only am I spending a lot of money, but yarn manufacturing is not always as eco-friendly as one might hope. Inspired by some recycling/upcycling fiber ladies I know (Mother Mary and Lisette Walker), I’ve decided to try upcycling yarn.

Weaving Spirit (whom I do not have the pleasure of knowing personally) has been recycling cashmere for years into beautiful new horoscope shawls. Why not take an unattractive or dated sweater, unravel it, and make it into something new?

I’ve been scavenging the local ARC thift shops, especially on Saturdays when almost everything is half price. I’ve scored some cashmere, silk, cotton/linen, merino wool, and silk/wool blends for $3-6 each. First up was this Liz Claiborne pink silk sweater, which has been unraveled into several hanks of pale pink silk. Once washed, I’m hoping to use this to make a delicate new woven scarf.

Upcycling Yarn

Upcycling Yarn - Before

Upcycling Yarn

Upcycling Yarn - After

There are some great tips and groups online about recycling and upcycling yarn. Try searching under “recycling” or “upcycling” or “unravel” yarn.

How To: Recycling Sweaters for Yarn

How to Recycle Yarn from a Thrift-Store Sweater

How to Unravel a Sweater and Recycle Yarn

“Thrift was never more necessary in the world’s history than it is today. ” – Francis H. Sisson


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