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Everything You Need to Know to Start Recycling Sweater Yarn – Breaking In V.2


Breaking In Version 2

Start at the same place you would for Version 1 – the end of the sleeve, where your hand would come out.  Remember those two fat lines we talked about?

Top: Correct seam
Bottom: Correct seam, highlighted

Take those two fat lines and pull them apart, separating them down the middle.  In between those two knit edge pieces are the horizontal bars of the seam.

Top: Pulling apart the knit edges
Bottom: The seam strands between the edges, highlighted. This is what you want to cut.

Version 2 uses a pair of scissors to cut up the seam, severing those bars.

And here’s the part about why I don’t use scissors – imagine sitting there, pulling and pulling away at the sweater pieces trying to reveal that seam – eventually the strands joined WITH that seam start to stretch, too. It becomes really easy at this point to mistake one strand of knitting for the actual seam. And it only takes one snip into the wrong place to interrupt that nice fat yarn ball we will be building later. NOW, if you don’t mind having a greater amount of smaller lengths, you can certainly choose the scissors option and speed things up; personally I’m in it for as much unsullied, uninterrupted yardage as I can get.

Anyway, get your scissors in there and cut!

You can deal with the rest of the seams the same way – separate the knit edges and cut the seam in between them.

Now that you’ve got your seams taken care of, you want to get to the pulling. I understand. You Version 2 users are wild and free spirits. You like to feel the wind in your yarn & caution be damned.

Which is why some of you might want to take the ultimate cheater route – skipping over the often frustrating collar seams entirely. Lay out your sweater like this:

You CAN’T cut INTO the KNIT PIECE on the vertical lines – if you are a knitter, you understand why (this severs the yarn in a million different places…. Just like those incorrect seams we talked about).  You have to cut the SEAMS on the vertical lines no matter what. But you CAN cut INTO the knit on the horizontal lines, just below the collar and sleeve yokes, separating the chest pieces without any more fuss.

The green shows the cut line. Do not cut on the red line unless you are cutting the seams.

Same goes for the sleeves – you have to deal with the seam that runs down the sleeve, but you can cut off the top if you choose.

The upshot is that you will have to deal with all those little cut pieces of yarn in the knit before you find your continuous strand. Start plucking those babies off until you find your way in.

Even if you don’t take the ultimate cheater route, Version 2 users will probably want to deal with finding the yarn to pull by cutting off at least the VERY TOP of the knit sweater piece once separated. The “top” of the piece is going to be the part that was closest to the collar of the sweater.

Top of the sleeve piece

The top will be bound off, not loose. Use the scissors to snip the very edge of the piece off.

Pluck off the little guys to find your way in.

Hint! I have found that when you have to clear off bits of cut yarn, stretching the piece width-wise helps loosen things up so you can pull out the severed bits.

Once you find your continual yarn strand, it’s finally time to pull.

Suddenly I am hungry for ramen.

Getting Started & Breaking In V.1

Unraveling & Finishing


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