For all the knitters out there, don’t be scared to unravel a finished piece. If you don’t like the garment you’ve made, you probably will never wear it; so why waste the yarn when it can be salvaged and put to better use.
First make sure the yarn is easily unravelled. Most yarns unravel easily, except for boucle, mohair, and highly textured yarn. How the garment is structured and sewn together will determine how to begin. Let’s say I have a simple pullover with set-in sleeves and a crewneck. Begin with either the neckline edging, or the sleeves. Working in the seams, cut the hand stitching and remove carefully. It may be unavoidable to cut into the edge. In this example, the sleeves were knit from the cuff up. Undo the sleeve seams, beginning with the edge sewn into the armhole followed by the side sleeve seams. Then start to unravel (pulling the yarn carefully row by row) starting from the cast on edge. Continue by taking out the side seams of the back and front, and unravel the rest. Wind the unravelled yarn into hanks; you can use the back of a chair to assist you.
Secure all the hanks in 2 or 3 places with yarn. Immerse the hanks in soapy room temperature or cool water. Swish around and rinse. Hang the loops to dry on hangers or hooks; you can weight the hanks (cans of food will work) to help pull out the kinks. When the hanks are completely dry, wind into balls and you are ready to reuse the yarn.
So don’t let that next garment sit in the drawer. Start unravelling and enjoy your new recycled yarn project!