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How to Make Recycled Sweater Mittens

Recycling is good for both the environment and your wallet. This project uses yarn and old sweater pieces to make a speedy one-of-a-kind gift. So raid your closet or the thrift store and get started!


  • One sweater or other knitted piece, at least 50% wool (preferably 100% wool), not felted

  • Chalk or marker for tracing

  • Paper for creating pattern (optional)

  • Scissors or a rotary cutter and mat

  • Yarn and yarn needle for embroidered embellishment (optional)

  • Sewing machine or needle and thread


  1. Use chalk or a marker to trace your hand in mitten position (fingers together, thumb pointing out) on the knitted material. Add a little extra width to the cuff area to make the mittens easier to put on after shrinking.

  2. Cut two of the mitten shapes from your knitted material, flip the pattern over, and trace and cut two more shapes.

  3. Embroider a design on the mittens, if desired.

    Thread a sharp yarn needle with wool yarn in the color of your choice and stitch anything you like — monograms, daisies, straight lines, you name it!

  4. With right sides out (and therefore wrong sides together), stitch the mittens together around all edges except the bottom opening.

    Don’t worry about the bottom edge unraveling; the next step is to felt (or full) the fabric, and felted material is permanently locked together.

  5. Run the mittens through the hot wash/cold rinse cycle of your washing machine to felt the fabric.

  6. Remove the mittens from the washing machine and try them on. Make adjustments as necessary for a better fit.

    If the size is perfect, you’re done. If they need to be a little smaller, put them through another wash cycle or directly into the clothes dryer on medium or high heat. To stretch the mittens out a bit, pull on them with your hands and then allow them to air dry.

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