How To :: Yarn Spa Day :: Refreshing Spent Yarn


Sometimes yarn gets a little abused and used and worn out and just needs a good relaxing day. Well, actually, after ripping out yarn several times it does need to be refreshed. Maybe not a full on spa day, but a nice dip in some soapy water does wonders.

In my case, yarn that has been recycled from a sweater is one candidate and yarn that’s been frogged or kept in a center pull ball too long is the other.

Picking up from where I left off on How To :: Recycle a Sweater for Yarn, I now I have this big pile of yarn in center pull balls.


The next step is winding it into a hank and washing it so it can be stored for later use. You may be able to use up a who sweater’s worth of yarn in a couple weeks, but I sure can’t!

The first step is to take all those balls of yarn and put them into hanks. This is for two reasons.

1. Washable in a hank, but not in a skein.

2. It stores better. If kept in a center pull ball it will tangle and get kinked up (like a cake center pull ball) and it will actually loose it’s elesticity from being stored under tension – no good.

You can use two chairs back to back, like this (but winding yarn around the chairs instead of off) or you can use an umbrella swift. I did the later because I have one so why not use it right?


Just go around and around until you have a good amount – if you can weigh out the center pull balls and try for about 3.5 oz – 4 oz per hank.

If you can line up the end and the starting thread and tie them together in a figure eight around the hank loosely. Gather up 3 other ties (ribbon, cotton, scraps of fabric all work, just something that won’t bleed dye) and tie off the hank in 4 other places so it’s not a huge tangled mess after washing.


For washing, you really aren’t washing at all, just soaking. I usually use some non-antibacterial soap (like a soap that doesn’t have any of that antibacterial stuff in it) of any sort, but today when I went to my lys she had free samples of Soak, so I’m giving it a try.

Add your soap or Soak or wool wash to the sink and fill about 2/3 full with warm water (I just turned the hot and cold taps on full blast). Toss in your yarn and push it into the water – this helps it absorb the water. Let it soak for 20 minutes or so. The longer the better. I usually let mine soak for about 45 minute to an hour because I usually forget it’s in there, haha.


Do you see how much that yarn looks like bouncle it’s so out of shape and stressed out!

Now it’s time for some heavy lifting for that yarn.


Just toss the hanks over your shower bar and put some cans of whatever in the loops to get it to go back into shape. Honestly, a lot of yarns won’t even need this last step. Just the soaking will loosen things up and get it back to good.


I had a great score this weekend on sweaters for recycling. A nice lace wool that is heather green, a 80% silk / 20% nylon in a silvery color (what is pictured here), and a 80% silk / 20 % cotton (. I have actually decided to put some of it up for sale in Green Prairie Fibers. Recycled yarns seems like a great fit for the shop. And I’m going to start using recycled yarns for the kits in the Craft Leftovers shop too. Which goes along more with Craft Leftovers than just buying yarns wholesale for kits. I’m excited about it. I think it’s a good direction for me.

I wasn’t able to work on the skirt this weeken, so I’ll be posting about that process tomorrow (altering a pattern to your own whims, hehe). We did have a great Sewing Rebellion meeting though and we all now are proud owners of our own handmade zipper clutches! Hooray!

See you soon!


2 thoughts on “How To :: Yarn Spa Day :: Refreshing Spent Yarn

  1. Kristin, did you mean boucle? The yarn is pretty! The cans of baked beans crack me up, but they seem quite effective. Can’t wait to see it all dried and skeined!

  2. I love recycling yarn. :) Its been too long since I’ve unraveled a sweater! I have been mostly working on my spinning, but one of my favorite things is to ply my handspun with recycled yarns. It just makes everything go farther and adds such a unique coloring and texture to things. :)

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