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Recycling has been a part of my life since my early teens when I hacked up a beautiful leather coat my parents had bought me, to remodel into a leather mini skirt. Their reaction was the first indication that not everyone appreciates this ‘mindful use of materials’.

The reduction of something back to its raw material, and its subsequent metamorphosis into something completely new is, I think, a fascinating process and in a recent knitting class we were upcycling jeans into baskets, bags and bowls.


Take a couple of old pairs of jeans.


Only use jeans that you know won’t be worn again. (or hide them for a few weeks until they’ve been forgotten about – I find this technique works particularly well)

Recycling jeans into knitting projects


Cut and tear carefully into strips and wind into balls.

recycling jeans into a knitted bowl


Prepare as much as you can before you start knitting.

recycled knitting yarn



Use large circular knitting needles, or double pointed needles to knit with. I use 9mm bamboo needles. It is hard work and requires a lot of effort but I think it’s well worth it, producing a beautiful and very durable structure.

How to knit a bowl using recycled jeans

knitted bowl from recycled jeans

Upcycling jeans


A word of warning however – this activity may lead to addiction and your ‘mindful use of materials’ can quickly turn into a ‘mindless abuse of materials’. You may suddenly find yourself raiding your families wardrobes looking for that perfect faded denim, or how about a nice blue gingham table cloth, or your daughter’s pretty pink prom dress, or those lovely chintz sheets, or your wedding dress…..or that lady in the bus queue’s beautiful sari….snip, snip.

 We will include a pattern for the knitted basket in Issue 6 of  The Mercerie Post.  You can register here

This blog is a link in the Sisterhood Stories blog circle – please continue this circle by reading Audrey’s post next-

This Post Has 10 Comments

    1. Thanks Sara…in fact Boo did some of this knitting for me…..and I don’t think she enjoyed it very much!!!

  1. Well. I have a personal experience with this as you well know!! And I think the products you make are exceptional – off to find something suitable in the airing cupboard! x

  2. what a briliant idea! I thought I was good at upcycling but this is so clever, even love the balls of denim ‘yarn’…mm off to hunt out someones outworn jeans…or maybe could you use shirts too? Emmax

    1. Hi there! thank you – have a go -it’s great fun, but quite hard work, you need very strong hands!! I’ll put the pattern in our next newsletter 🙂

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