Newspaper, Plastic Bags, Dog Hair...Upcycle Them into Yarn

comments (9) April 23rd, 2009     

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mattgup Matt Embrey, member
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Recycle newspaper into yarn.
Spin your pets hair into yarn.
Recycle old VHS tape into yarn.
Recycle newspaper into yarn.

Recycle newspaper into yarn.

Photo: via greenupgrader

Buying eco-friendly yarn is a great alternative to traditional yarn, but the best way to reduce consumption is to creatively use and reuse what you already have.  

Here are eight unusual and interesting materials upcycled into yarn...

Newspaper Yarn

Take all those newspapers that have been piling up and try your hand at upcycling by turning them into newspaper yarn. One page should make 20 yards of yarn. It's not the best material to make a sweater out of, but it'll definitely make some interesting indoor decor. Check out the tutorial at greenUPGRADER.

Recycle newspaper into yarn.

Animal Hair Yarn

Want a sustainable sweater? Do you suffer from separation anxiety whenever you are away from Spot or Mittens? If you answered yes to both of these questions, get out your grooming brush and drop spindle and make some yarn out of your pet's hair. More pictures and a tutorial at Crisp Green.

Spin your pet's hair into yarn.

Human Hair Yarn

Even if you don't have a pet, you can put that tutorial to use—just use your own hair. Just ask Ioana Cioanca, a 71-year-old woman from Romania. "Long years I had to wait for my hair to grow so as to make clothes from it, but I managed and I am very pleased now," she says. Read about it here.

A woman makes clothes out of her hair.

VHS Tape Yarn

Do you have a pile of old VHS movies that have been collecting dust since you got your DVD player? Put them to use and take your favorite movie wherever you go. You don't have any VHS tapes, only Betamax?!?! No worries, any old cassettes containing magnetic tape will work. Find out how at My Recycled Bags.

Recycle old VHS tape into yarn.

Reclaim Yarn from an Old Sweater

Instead of throwing an old sweater away, do some DIY recycling and reclaim that precious yarn. A lot quicker than you can make a sweater, you can unmake a sweater, bringing it back to its roots. Once you master this, yarn will be like moulding clay that you can use and reuse over and over. Learn how at Neauveau Fiber Arts.

Recycle yarn into...yarn.

Plastic --> Yarn = PLARN

The plastic bag has become the bane of some environmentalists and a red herring for others, but whichever way you lean, these pesky planet pollutants can pile up. If they are in your house, try turning them into Plarn with this tutorial. Once you have mastered making Plarn, try your hand at this Plarn basket.

Recycle old plastic bags into Plarn (plastic yarn).

T-Shirt Yarn

When the weather starts turning cooler again and you find your T-shirt isn't warm enough, turn it into a sweater (I know I'm telling you to turn everything into sweaters. What can I say? I like sweaters). This is the perfect way to give new life to old, torn T-shirts that just can't be worn again. Here's a tutorial to help.

Turn an old T-shirt into yarn.

Plastic Vegetable Netting Yarn

You don't see these plastic vegetable nets as often these days, but you still may pick one up if you buy a bundle of onions or lettuce. We've turned pretty much everything else in the house to yarn, so why not this? You can learn how to do this in this tutorial by Recycle Cindy.

Recycle plastic netting into yarn.

Recycled Rag Yarn

When all else fails, this is a great DIY yarn fallback that allows you to turn old rags, and pretty much any fabric for that matter, into yarn. Actually, this is one of my favorite tutorials. Very utilitarian and depending on the fabric you choose, you can make some great-looking things. Learn how.

Recycle rags into yarn.

If you are not feeling any of these upcycled/restyled yarn tutorials, or just prefer good old-fashioned yarn, here are some resources to help you find a great earth-friendly yarn:

posted in: green, yarn, alternative, recycle, knitting, restyle, upcycle, crafty by nature

Comments (9)

cristinablake writes: This is very innovative. It is good to know that people are thinking of ways to recycle materials and be creative at the same time. I also encountered a site which offers eco-friendly handmade bags and handmade purses. All their items are made out of recycled materials such as candy wrappers, magazines, and juice pouches. You may check out this site
Posted: 6:03 am on July 3rd
Pepita writes: I thought I posted in the right spot but I guess not. Do you like the way your dog smells when they are wet? If not, think twice about using his hair. Some animals hair don't have the odor that others carry. If you have ever spun wool, a great deal goes into the process. After it is shaved off, it needs to be washed, dried, and combed. It is then put into a kind of roll that can be spun. Our ancestors spent all parts of the year spinning cotton/wool into fiber. At one time in America's past as a colony to England we were required to spin a lot of wool into yarn for our tax. (England had just started the industrial revolution and had looms that were mechanical) The term spinster came from this time. Usually a family had a woman who was not under a husband or father's care and protection. Family members would 'employ' that woman to spin wool for the tax.

Well, I got a bit off subject--but anyway the odor that is on the fiber (like dog) doesn't wash out.
Posted: 3:18 am on February 24th
Pepita writes: Lots of folks make yarn from their pets hair, folks with rabbits pull a little out at a time and spin it into yarn. Many of the animals that have longer fur have an odor that goes with the animal. That is why you don't see many dog hair sweaters. By they way, I understand that washing won't rid the fur of the smell.
Posted: 3:05 am on February 24th
Breezybev writes: I've always wanted to try rag yarn for making rugs. Now I did read a post from a woman, on one of the forums, who made a sweater or coat (I can't remember) out of dog yarn. She loved how it looked, but it got wet one day when it rained & she said she ended up smelling like an old wet dog. So that is a consideration you should be aware of. Just avoid wearing dog yarn on a rainy day.
Posted: 2:52 pm on August 9th
amycooper writes: I am a student, but still I take out time for some creative work. It is my hobby doing handwork. I love doing new handwork. Your idea is really nice.
Amy Cooper
real estate
Posted: 1:48 am on June 2nd
peoplepowergranny writes: I've collected some hair, and now I need to know how to spin it to use it to weave or whatever I decide to do with it. Any suggestions? Does it have to be long hair? Sheep's wool isn't long. Would love to make yarn from it so it will be easier to work with. I agree with narcojloleptic that it makes more sense to make stuff from our own hair than from livestock that gets much dirtier than our hair. And I think our hair is so shiny, soft and has rich natural colors.

Would really love some helpful hints here before I go out to collect more. What a waste!
Posted: 7:32 pm on May 31st
babydee writes: by far the most interesting knitting-related article I've ever come across!!!

amazing... simply amazing!!


Who digs vintage knitting? I DO!! :)
Posted: 11:07 pm on May 4th
Sweet_Dee writes: Informative. I can't get over it, it may be childish...but I can't imagine wearing dog hair or even my hair anywhere but on my head. The other stuff sounds cool though. I've tried plarn and t-shirts and rags with nice results.
Posted: 7:02 pm on April 26th
narcojloleptic writes: I'm glad somebody else thought of making yarn out of dog & human hair... I thought of it about a year ago, but I don't spin and I figured people would be kind of weirded out about it.

If people think it's weird to wear something made out of dog hair, you could make dog clothes.

It makes sense to me, why shouldn't we wear dog/human hair when we wear sheep, alpaca, rabbit and all sorts of other animals' hair.

You could have an arrangement with a dog grooming place or hair salon. Don't think of it as being gross. The fibers get washed somewhere in the process of making the yarn.
Do you think that sheep are cleaner than a dog that goes to the groomers?
Posted: 11:39 pm on April 23rd
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