How to Knit a Scarf Using Only Yarn From Old Sweaters

How to Knit a Scarf Using Only Yarn From Old Sweaters

How to Knit a Scarf Using Only Yarn From Old Sweaters

Upcycling old sweaters into a handmade scarf is a great way to give new life to worn or unwanted knits. With just a few tools, some patience, and creativity, you can make a cozy and eco-friendly accessory to gift or keep.

Gather Your Materials

To start, you’ll need:

  • Old sweaters made of wool, cotton, acrylic, or other knit fabrics. Look for sweaters with minimal damage or holes. Darker, patterned sweaters work well.

  • A good pair of sewing scissors to cut the sweater fabric

  • Knitting needles appropriate for the weight of the sweater yarn. Size 8-10.5 needles work for most sweaters.

  • Yarn needle to sew ends of the scarf together

  • Measuring tape

  • Optional: Stitch markers, row counter, and a crochet hook to tidy edges

Deconstruct the Sweaters

Lay out the sweaters and determine how much fabric you’ll need. For a standard adult scarf, plan for at least 2-3 sweaters. Cut carefully along the seams to extract the fabric. Try to preserve the ribbed hem – this can be used to finish the scarf ends.

Cut out large patches of the sweater material, cutting around damage or holes. Stack multiple layers of fabric and cut strips approximately 1.5-2 inches wide and at least 60 inches long. The strips don’t need to be perfect or identical.

Having varied colors and textures will add interest to the final scarf.

Knit the Scarf

Now it’s time to knit the scarf strips together into one cohesive piece.

  1. Take one strip and knot it loosely onto a knitting needle.

  2. With a second strip, knot it to another needle. Lay the strips next to each other, wrong sides facing.

  3. Begin knitting the pieces together as if they were one. Use large stitches and an even tension.

  4. When you reach the end of the first strip, join a new strip by knotting it to the next needle.

  5. Continue joining new strips of fabric as you work down the row.

  6. When the scarf reaches your desired length, bind off the live stitches.

Finish the Scarf

To finish:

  • Weave in all loose ends neatly along the edges.

  • If desired, tidy the edges using a crochet hook.

  • Attach fringe cut from sweater edges for a fun accent.

  • Block the scarf to shape and relax the stitches. Lay flat to dry.

  • Add tassels or pompoms if desired. Attach to each corner.

And that’s it – you now have a cozy, upcycled scarf to wear or gift! Don’t be afraid to get creative with different textures, colors, and embellishments. Part of the beauty is in the imperfections.

Scarf Knitting Tips

Here are some handy tips to make your experience knitting with recycled sweater yarn easier:

  • Use a row counter to track rows. It’s easy to lose count!

  • Place stitch markers between strips to maintain an even width.

  • Knit with the right sides facing you so you can monitor stitches.

  • Work in good lighting so you can see colors and stitches clearly.

  • Be gentle when joining new strips – don’t pull too tight.

  • If strips start to curl or bias, steam press them before knitting.

  • Make sure your tension is even, but not too tight. Sweater yarn is thicker.

  • Take your time and enjoy the process! Upcycling is very rewarding.

With some creativity and patience, you can give renewed life to old sweaters and get a beautiful handmade scarf out of it. Try experimenting with different knitting patterns or adding custom details. Most importantly, have fun with it!