Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How to take apart a sweater for the yarn... with no mess!

As I promised, here are the instructions to take apart a sweater for the yarn!! I do this with many of my cashmere sweaters to re-knit them into beautiful sweaters custom made for me. The process is much easier than it seems and I hope you can use it! I tried to add a video but had no luck. We will have to deal with pictures instead! 1) Locate seams. I started with the collar because you can see the thread clearly. Look on either side of the seam. One side will have a little thread line (side A), the other side will look like this (side B):

If you look closely, the threads form a little V as they go along the seam. When you are at the final step and are pulling the thread out, you will go in the direction of the V's. Imagine them as little arrows that point which direction the thread will go: 2) Use your seam ripper to rip through one of the little V's. You want to rip through the V that is closest to the beginning of the thread you will tear out. In the particular sweater I used, the line of V's started at the center of the collar. For illustrated purposes, I picked a random V to cut. You will want to pick one at the end of the thread line. For example: On the sweater I used, another line of V's started at the cuff of the sweater, ran up the arm, down the chest, and ended at the hem. To separate those pieces, I would cut the V at the cuff and "follow the arrows" all the way to the hem.

3) Once you cut a V, flip to the opposite side of the seam and locate the corresponding thread. Pull up on the thread with your seam ripper to bring the end of the thread to side A.

4) The fun part. PULL THAT THREAD!!! The seam will come undone and TAH-DAH! Two pieces successfuly taken apart with no mess!

Note: The pictures above are of a collar seam. A normal seam will have the V's on one side and a little line of threads on the other side that look like this:

5) After your pieces are separated, you are ready to start the unraveling process. At the top of one of the sleeves I found ANOTHER line of V's to take out. Before (look carefuly): After: From here you can start to unravel the sweater pieces. Most sweaters are knit from the bottom up so you will start unraveling at the shoulders/neck and work your way down.

Hopefully, I will have more pictures for you soon!


Deborah Miller said...

Wow, thanks so much for going to all the trouble of showing this. I crochet and I know how difficult this can be to explain. You did an awesome job of explaining and your photos are great too. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who tears old sweaters, afghans, etc apart for the yarn. Thanks,

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

Thank you Deborah!!
It is difficult to explain... a video would have been better but I couldn't figure how to post one. Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it!

Precious Quilts said...

What a wonderfully instructional blog. I couldn't stop reading it - so full of useful information, great photographs. As they say, a picture says a thousand words, put your words with them and there is no excuse not to understand.

Thanks for going to the trouble of explaining.


Love your teddies, by the way, so soft looking and cuddlable (if there is such a word!).

Shell Mitchell said...

I love cashmere - this is news I can use!

Terri said...

Thank you very much for your informative posts on unraveling sweaters. Your info about the V-stitch thread is already helping me save time and nerves. I'm new to recycling yarn, so every bit of knowledge helps. Thanks!

Kenny said...

Thanks for the reading it gave me,a few ideas,thanks....

Hagrids Mom said...

I really liked your videos but missed that part explaining the V's so your blog was very helpful. I am having a ball finding good sweaters and taking them apart - may I live long enough to use all the yarn! The sweaters were much cheaper in Chattanooga but did I know this then - no, I felted it all. Thanks for sharing this and doing it so well.

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Anonymous said...
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EddieDuckling said...


Thank you for your great post - it is really informative and helpful.
I just wanted to let you know that I have linked to it from a post i was trying to do - summarizing the best posts on recycling yarn from sweaters:
Hope you don't mind :-)