How to recyle a sweater

Hi Everyone,

I discovered, sadly, that a couple sweaters that were in storage have been attacked by moths or something, and now have large enough holes in them that they are unwearable.

Are there ways to recycle either the wool yarn or the fabric?

They are a loose knit and I suspect that they are made of panels cut from knit fabric, then sewn together into a sweater, so it's not just a question of unraveling as much of a single tube as is good. I'll end up with a bunch of yarn pieces with a maximum length of 18".

I did find one thread on here that mentioned wartime re-use of yarn that included loosely tying ends together, winding the yarn into loose skeins, then dampening it and letting it dry.

Any other thoughts?


HuskerChub's picture

To know for sure, quickly, what is salvageable, look at the seems. If they are machine overlocked or serged then yes you will have 18-24" pieces...not good. If the seems are hand sewn you should be good to rip it apart. Another thought is felting and then using the pieces of felt. I've seen some imaginative things made out of felted old sweaters, small items, toys, water bottle covers, totes, cell phone covers, ipad/tablet covers etc.

As for making old yarn new again, one of the easiest ways to revive wool is to loosely ball it, wrap it in damp (not wet) paper towels and zap in the microwave for 1-2 mins. You want to get the steam into the ball of yarn NOT cook the wool. On the same thought, if you have old yarn that is very brittle and wants to break easily, I've known of a person putting it in the freezer for a few days to help it I don't know but I've seen it work. Good luck!


Believe it or not I use to use dried patachui in my woolens. Long time ago the cashmere shawls that were popular in Victorian times were storied with these leaves.
I use to grow my own but in the midwest they are difficult to grow they require lots of heat and humidity. I usually ended up join to my local health food store to get them. Then they stopped selling them. Next best thing I found was the oil which most new age places and health food stores carry. Its not expensive and it last for years.
What i did was soaked a ball of cotton in the oil then put it in a linen bag and tossed it in. Its messy so you need to make sure you have it from getting on the woolens.
The best like i said was the dried leaves. if you can find them.