Button & Snap

Chunky Upcycled Scarf of Torture

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SweaterYarn Front 1

I’ve been wanting to try arm-knitting – have you heard of arm-knitting before? Instead of using knitting needles, you knit directly on your arms, using them as giant knitting needles.

SweaterYarn Front 3

So easy. So fast. Chunky stitches. Much wow.

Doge in Scarf


… today’s post isn’t about knitting. It’s about BAD DECISIONS. The ones that give you nightmares for years afterwards.

Dun dun dun!

SweaterYarn Back 1

It’s too upsetting to recount, so I’ll let my lawyer give you the evidence:

Doge Lawyer

On a beautiful January day my client was walking home. The sun was shining and only a few dark clouds dimmed the horizon as she daydreamed about her next project.

“I know,” thought my client, “I’ll arm-knit a scarf. But why use conventional yarn? Why not make my own yarn from old sweaters?”

A gust of wind kicked up, blowing steel-gray clouds across the sky. The bare branches of the trees rattled ominously. A cat yowled, then ran across Helen’s path. It was a black cat.

My client merrily turned the corner and opened her front door. “I’ll see what old sweaters I already have,” she thought.

Bang! Icy wind slammed the front door shut, but not fast enough to keep the first drops of freezing rain from spraying the hall tiles.

Finding a pink and a turquoise sweater in a box, Helen decided to visit a thrift store for more sweaters. She glanced out of the window. Rain poured down in sheets and a bolt of lightning flashed.

Smash! A mirror fell from the wall and broke, dislodged by the rumble of thunder.

“I’ll just clean that up when I get back,” thought my client, grabbing an umbrella. “Boy, this is going to be a fun project!”


And now, I will present my client’s evidence.

Exhibit A: The 5 sweaters before.Sweaters Before

Exhibit B: One long evening later, the sweaters have been cut into 3.25″ strips. My client has developed a mild eye twitch.

Cut Sweaters

Exhibit C, Yarn Construction: A strip of interfacing is fused to the strips. They are stitched together using an elastic zig zag, which has three stitches per “zig” instead of just one stitch. No need to backtack or worry about mismatched edges.

The stitching is ironed flat, the edges are folded to the center and then the strip is folded in half. This fold is stitched together by hand at each juncture of strips. The strips are then tugged lightly so their edges curl inwards and remain hidden.

Making Yarn

Exhibit D: Five interminable evenings later,  40 yards of homemade yarn have been completed. My client’s eye has developed an uncontrollable twitch. She’s humming to herself incessantly, but stops long enough to point out that each strip was between 8  and 15 inches long, meaning she sewed about 100 strips together.Homemade SweaterYarn

Exhibit E: 30 minutes  of arm-knitting later, the scarf is ready to bind off. ARM-KNITTING IS EASY!!! MAKING YARN FROM SWEATERS IS NOT!!!!!

Arm Knitting in Progress

Case Closed.

SweaterYarn Front 2

Also, the smile is a lie. My soul is dead inside. I just selected the photos where both eyes are open and my teeth are showing. And you can’t hear my humming through the internet.

SweaterYarn Side 1

But seriously, I really like how the scarf turned out. I just wouldn’t make yarn out of sweaters again. And the scarf is also unisex, as my husband Jan voluntarily (ha!) models for us.

SweaterYarn Jan

*spoiler alert* I’ve made another chunky scarf and I’m posting it next. No sweaters were involved!

  • Stephanie

    This post was hilarious, Helen!! Wow, I am glad you survived this process. Why does this website make me do captcha math? It is asking me what I need to add to 7 to get 13….eehhhh…. hopefully I get it right!

    • Helen

      I always get the squiggly Captcha letters wrong, so I thought this was a nicer solution. It doesn’t work that well though – I still get a lot of spam. The robots must have built in calculators – who’d have thought? 🙁

  • Margaret

    Is Rhonda a friend or an enemy? How many yards of yarn would it take to make a comforter? But I agree, it would be yummy to cuddle under!

  • Rhonda

    Well, the outcome is beautiful regardless of the unexpected effort. I’m a little torn as to which model wears it best, you, the dog or your husband 😉
    Now you can shake your head at me. As I looked at your stretched out scarf, I thought, hmmm, this would make a lovely comforter. We’ll see!

    • Helen

      The knitting part is fun, so I wouldn’t mind doing a bigger project. A comforter is a great idea. Or maybe pillow covers for the couch?

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