Unraveling knitted wool

How many times have you found last season’s half finished scarf or garment that is no longer this season’s trend, or you see an woolen op shop find which would make a fantastic scarf?

With the cost of quality wool ever rising and the emphasis on upcycling, you can unravel the work you started and start again or keep the wool for another day.

If the garment is complete, de-piece garment into sections, ie: front, back, sleeves, collar. Try this fantastic link at
Neauveau Fiber Arts
which offers a detailed video & photo tutorial on unraveling a sweater.

If an op shop find, I would normally wash the garment before attempting to unravel. Check the garments label to see if it is wool or acrylic. It is really not worth the effort to unravel acrylic. Look for woolen garments that are in great condition. The heavier weighted wools will unravel easier and will re-knit nicer.

Once the garment is separated, start unraveling from the top down. Hand knitted or crocheted garments are easier to unravel as machine produced garments may be cut at either end and will unravel into short pieces.

The lovely Stacey from
Sheep’s Clothing
who is an expert in all areas of knitting, has kindly offered some fantastic advice for those of you ready to give this project a go.

  • Any yarn, whether it be wool or acrylic and regardless of the ply will appear wiggly when unpicked.
  • Be careful when rolling the yarn into a ball not to stretch it. Wind it as loosely as you can.
  • Even if you have the original ball bands stating what ply the wool is, be wary of following manufacturer’s tension / ply guidelines with reused wool. It is even more important than usual to knit up a tension square with repurposed wool as the original knitting process plus washing may change the tension at which it knits second time around.
  • Are you sure what sort of yarn it is? Be careful washing your newly knitted garment. Don’t fall into the trap of machine washing it thinking it is acrylic as it may well be a natural fibre and shrink in the wash!

Unraveling and recycling woolen garments is great for beginners who do not wish to outlay huge amounts on wool to start with.

1 comment:

kimberj said...

I have spent many dark grey winter days and nights unraveling thrift store treasures made of alpaca and cashmere for future projects. With a low budget I can really stock up for the next season's projects!