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Recycled Yarn: Find it, save it, store it - turn it into something new!

Updated on June 15, 2013

Reclaim used and useless yarn

Crafters know that sometimes you just can't throw stuff away. (No matter how much your husband wishes you would.)

Take yarn for example...many people have tons of the stuff laying around in skeins, balls, Ziploc bags, and baskets, just waiting to be turned into something gorgeous. Or maybe you have your eye on an old sweater or botched scarf. I know I've made plenty of crocheted things I wish I could take back. Now I can!

Whatever it is, there are plenty of things you can do with those yarn scraps, reused sweaters, and leftover mismatched skeins. Don't let it go to waste!

Learn how to find it, store it, and turn it into something new.

Photo by ME! And yes, repin with pleasure!

Do you know where to find yarn to recycle?

If you don't have yarn laying around, or can't find the color you want at the store, the webmasters of the following links have some interesting ideas for finding and hording yarn.

What can you do with recycled yarn?

Recycled yarn doesn't often come in long strands. Sometimes you're working with only a few feet at a time. The good news is by expertly tying the ends together, you can make small, useful items, even with "ugly" yarn.

What can you make with bits of string?

  • Wrap monochromatic colors around a foam wreath frame to make a base for a decorative wreath.
  • Make a tassel or pompom for a hat.
  • Crochet clothes for babydoll and Barbie.
  • Crochet granny squares, and stitch them all together for a donation blanket.
  • Wrap packages in butcher paper, kraft paper, or tissue paper, and tie with string instead of ribbon.
  • Crochet a coffee mug cozy.
  • Stitch up a soft baby toy. Add catnip to your baby toy to make a cat toy.
  • Make a reusable Swiffer or Libman Mop pad.
  • Make a teeny drawstring pouch for treasures.
  • Use in place of floss to embroider on felt. Kids can do this!
  • Make a stripey scarf.
  • Use it as stuffing for a small pillow, pincushion, or toy.
  • Make a potholder, trivet, or washcloth.

Kreative kitteh looks gud in penk.

Kreative kitteh looks gud in penk.
Kreative kitteh looks gud in penk.

Be responsible with your yarn

This video shows what can happen when people aren't responsible with their yarn...or their enthusiasm over yarn. (Who makes time to film stuff like this, anyway?)

Make a yarn ball wreath

I would LOVE to create a yarn ball wreath with bright jeweltones! I think it would look so great for spring.

Source: via CrafterBerly on Pinterest

I love this neutral wreath with pops of bling. Muted, yet cheery for winter.

DIY Yarn Crafts - These videos show you how!

Since I crochet, I refer to crochet patterns, but most items can be made using knitting as well!

Organize and Store your Yarn

Keep small skeins and balls neatly organized, dust and pet-hair free, in plastic bags or boxes. Don't forget to label them clearly!

DYMO 18134 Execulabel LM150 Labelmaker Desktop Or Handheld/ Uses D1 Tapes
DYMO 18134 Execulabel LM150 Labelmaker Desktop Or Handheld/ Uses D1 Tapes

Don't forget to label your yarn so you know what is inside each box.


Horder kitteh claims hiz stash

Horder kitteh claims hiz stash
Horder kitteh claims hiz stash

Where else can you find recycled yarn?

Once you know what to look for, you'll see yarn everywhere!

  • Garage sales - you can get basic colors dirt cheap here. Be prepared for small balls and maybe even some skeins in need of a washing.
  • Thrift stores - sometimes you can find left over yarn from skeins or projects at thrift stores. Check for short pieces from plastic canvas or latch-hook rug making kits.
  • Sweaters and afghans - if you see a sweater or afghan you really like, or at least the yarn part of it, you can pull it apart and make your own creation.
  • eBay and other online auctions - yarn is a big seller on eBay. Find it in pieces, half-finished projects, or recycled balls.
  • Crafter's clubs - swap materials with local crafters. You might have just what they want, and they might have something cool for you.

Repin me! CrafterBerly on Pinterest

Repin me! CrafterBerly on Pinterest
Repin me! CrafterBerly on Pinterest

Leave a thread (hehehe)

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    • profile image

      ericalauren 4 years ago

      Great tips!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I'm always looking for yarn at the thrift shops here. I hadn't thought of unraveling sweaters, but now you mentioned it, I'm checking out that link above. Thanks! :)

    • profile image

      baby-strollers 6 years ago

      I never have any yarn leftover to recycle ( another yarn )

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago


      Interesting lens though, never would of thought of something this random...

    • profile image

      Craftybegonia 7 years ago

      Thanks for the lens! I'm an avid crocheter and every bit of yarn helps!

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 7 years ago

      @ChemKnitsBlog2: One month later, blessed by a squid angel!

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 7 years ago

      Yarn swaps are a great way to recycle yarn. You can get rid of the yarn that has been cluttering the stash and trade it for new treasures.

      Or, clean out you stash by knitting for charity. Donate the yarn to a knit-a-thon or make squares yourself.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      You can also sell your leftover yarn or trade for someone else's leftover yarn. Go to to start! It's the Craigslist for Knitters.

    • AppalachianCoun profile image

      AppalachianCoun 8 years ago

      Another great lens. Thank-you for all the tips.

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      What a useful lens. I never thought of going to thrift store and

      getting wool things and using the wool from them.

    • SjSO profile image

      SjSO 8 years ago

      Really great lens.I've been checking out knitting-related lenses, and I was considering making a link list of Squidoo knitting lenses... either on my "Knitting on the Internet" lens or a completely separate one. What do you think, and would you like this lens or another to be on a list? Visit my lens & tell me what you think (about the lens and the list) Thanks,

    • Mortira profile image

      Mortira 9 years ago

      Nothing goes together like recycling and creativity. Thanks for the great lens! 5 stars and a lensroll!

    • profile image

      SuzMolthop 10 years ago

      Nicely, done. I should be so organized.

    • profile image

      Pheebs 10 years ago

      Yay! somewhere to explore my wierd passion for balls of wool! It seems I'm not the only one who wants to untangle their knots and get it straight!! he he..


    • profile image

      DeWayne-FilmFreak 10 years ago

      Great lens Kimberly! Giving you 5 stars!

      Interesting lens!

      DeWayne(FilmFreak)- -

    • ThePrancingPony profile image

      ThePrancingPony 10 years ago

      Great Lens, 5-stars from me :)

      I've added your lens on lensroll on my "Recycle with Freecycle" Lens.

    • profile image

      flaminglacer 10 years ago

      Glad to have you as a member of the Crafts and Hobbies Group - drop by the Group HQ sometine and see what is there for you. Great Lens!

    • one SquidAddict profile image

      one SquidAddict 10 years ago

      Great knitting lens! Rated 5* from the new management at your knitting group

    • profile image

      badmsm 10 years ago

      Like I need more avenues to increase my stash! LOL! Thanks for all the tips, I will visit often. :)

    • profile image

      aerie 11 years ago

      Oooooh, I'm inspired. I added this lens to my Bargains for Knitters lens, plus a link to it in one of the modules. Great job!