Posted by: rachelbarnes | January 3, 2009

recycled sweater scarf

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  I must say, aside from a yucky bout of food poisoning I went through this month, it was a great month and it flew by!

I have been a knitting fool these past couple of weeks (which I’ll share more in a post in the near future), but today I’d like to share today a gift I made that was REALLY EASY with old sweaters.  I bought these sweaters at a thrift store at the end of the winter season, so they were $1 a sweater.  Make sure and purchase sweaters that are 100% wool.  If you get any variation of blends other then 100% wool, they won’t felt exactly right.

The first step I did was to felt the sweaters.  I put them together in really cheap pillowcase covers (zippered cotton bags) and threw them in the wash on the highest setting.  I threw in some tennis balls to help the felting process.  I put in 1 tablespoon of dish soap in the soap dispenser.  I have a front loading washer, which doesn’t felt as well as the top loading.  Depending on your washer, there are different tips out there for felting sweaters.  You really can’t mess this step up, it’s pretty easy.  I ended up washing my sweaters 3 times to get them as tight as I wanted.  A tip here is make sure your sweater weave has shrunk enough so when you cut the sweaters, they won’t unravel.  When in doubt, throw it back in the wash.  If you pull the material and it stretches, it probably needs to go through the wash again.

I then cut the sleeves off of the sweater.  The fun part about this project is you’ll have the bodies of the sweaters left over for additional projects in the future!


I then cut the sleeves down the seam to flatten out the fabric.  Then I cut strips of the sleeves.  I made the strips longer then I needed to and found out later that I could get two scarfs out of one sew.  You can make the strips smaller then I did, just make sure they’re longer then what you need them to be so that you can trim them later and they are all even (unless you want to keep them uneven, which is always an option).

Then I pinned the strips together to sew.  I liked the idea of putting one of the squares on top of the other two and varying the pattern to keep the squares flat (instead of seaming the squares and making it more bulky).  The pattern I choose is shown below.


After I sewed the squares together, I pinned the scarf in half and cut off the raw edges.


Then I cut the scarf in half.  The width of  my scarf was 3 3/4″ and the length was 85″.


As I shared, a fun detail I wasn’t planning, getting two scarfs in one project.    I decided to give both scarf’s to my friend and offer she can wear one and the other can be cut shorter so her little 3 year old little girl can have a matching scarf the same as her mama.  The piece that is cut off from the second scarf can be a little scarf for one of her dollies to also match.

Here is my finished scarf.  It was so much fun to make!!  Yeah for recycling sweaters.




  1. That turned out really great! I really like that a lot!

  2. This is very cool!

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