There is more to recycled yarn than T-shirt yarn and not all T-shirt yarn is recycled! There are lots of recycled yarns in all kinds of materials, textures, sizes and prices. Unfortunately, they take some finding! Search terms don’t seem to bring up much and throw up many non-recycled yarns. But as it’s a passion of mine to rethink waste I’ve been using recycled yarns for years and I’ve created a list with links here so you don’t have to search for hours like I did.
This isn’t a review of the yarns, just a list and short description, along with some links where to get them. For reviews see Eco Yarn Reviews.
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I’ll start with the bulky yarns and get right down to 4ply! It is by no means complete, new yarns are always being developed and discovered and I may have missed some, please tell me if there’s any you know of that aren’t here.
If you need hooks for the yarn weight, one of my favourite makes is Knit Pro Waves. They are highly affordable and comes in a great range of sizes with comfortable chunky handles. I use these a lot with plarn and chunkier recycled yarns and they make an enormous difference to comfort.
Super chunky Bulky weight
T-shirt yarn is a fantastic choice for chunky projects. Hoooked Zpagetti was the original brand but there are now lots of brands. However t-shirt yarns can still be difficult to get hold of, with expensive postage. A lot of the popular yarn shops don’t stock them. Online I found lots of small sellers and one big worldwide online shop Love Crafts, who stock a few different brands.
If it’s Hoooked you especially love (and there’s so many reasons to love them). You can find their full range on their website. UK orders now have a very high minimum order due to Brexit but the great news is there is a smaller range of most of their yarns at Love Crafts and Deramores.
Paintbox yarns at LoveCrafts have their own brand of Recycled T-shirt yarn, offering great value and a lovely range of choices.
I recently discovered Retwisst, who have a massive range of recycled yarns. They have an enormous range of colours in T-shirt yarn and are a bit cheaper than other brands if you buy direct, postage is free for orders over £35, otherwise it’s pretty steep. There are also resellers on Amazon and ebay for the UK and worldwide too.
I am super impressed with UK based Woolly Whatknot who stock several brands of recycled T-shirt yarn and Barbante offering outstanding choice of colours across brands. A further gold star goes to her for low-cost postage, making small orders affordable. She’s now also on Amazon with some products with free postage. Woolly Whatknot Amazon Shop.
An alternative to t-shirt yarn is Ribbon tape, which is lighter in texture but still a super chunky yarn and is also used to make bags, rugs and chunky makes, but can also be used for clothing.
Retwisst XXLace (80% cotton and 20% polyester) 250g rolls (8-10 mm hook) and comes in a great range of colours.
Wool and the Gang Mixtape (80% Cotton 20% Polyester) 250g roll (8-15mm hook) comes in a small, but lovely, range of colours.
A recent new offering on the recycled scene by Paintbox yarns, is their Recycled Ribbon tape yarns. With a gorgeous range of colours in both solid colour ribbon and metallic ribbon they offer more choice in this very popular type of recycled yarn.
If you like the ribbon tape there are more options from Tek Tek Tape and Welcome Yarn Lace that you’ll find in a great range of beautiful colours at Woolly Whatknot.
Ice Yarns have a 100% recycled cotton ribbon yarn, Jumbo Cotton Ribbon, that offers exceptional value.
If you’re looking for a tougher, strong yarn, then another super chunky offering can be found at Woolly Whatknot, it’s Bobbiny Rope (100% recycled cotton) a versatile cord yarn in 3 thicknesses: They have the super thick Jumbo 9mm (16 – 18mm crochet hook) and my personal fav for making awesome baskets, the Premium 5mm (8-10mm hook) . Check out this pic of the Jumbo, how amazing is this!
Bobbiny Rope also have a smaller offering too, the Junior 3mm (6-8mm hook)
A chunky yarn (not tape) has been launched by Paintbox. This comes in a gorgeous range of bright colours. Recycled Big Cotton is a described as a super chunky weight 60% cotton 40% polyester yarn that knits/crochets on 12mm needles/hooks. Having tried this yarn, I wouldn’t describe this as super chunky weight, but it is chunky.
Bergere de France Recyclaine (58% Acrylic 30% Synthetic 12% Wool) Discontinued, replaced by the one below.
Lang Yarns Neon, 67% Polyester 33% Virgin Wool, 50g (1.8oz), Chunky weight, 6.5-8mm hooks. Made from consumer plastic, combined with virgin merino wool, this is a sturdy yarn for making warm accessories and jumpers. Super bright colours.
Wool and the Gang New Wave, a slimmer tape style in worsted/chunky weight. Hook size 5-8mm Made from plastic bottles! 53% Cotton 47% Polyester.
You will see a type of yarn called ‘Barbante’ come up in this weight range. This is a typical plied type of recycled yarn but thicknesses vary by brand. Some brands call this Macrame yarn others have a separate product described as Macrame Cord. They can be the same thing and also completely different! I’ve found a bit of everything here though to cover them all.
Hoooked offer 2 types of Barbante, Chunky and Aran/Worsted.
The Chunky weight Spesso Eco Barbante Chunky Cotton (85% Cotton 15% Synthetic). Hook size 8-10mm. comes in a small range of lovely colours. Ideal for Macrame and chunky makes, like baskets. Both LoveCrafts and Deramores stock this, but not the full range of colours.
Welcome Yarn Barbante (80% Cotton, 20% other fibers) comes in 2 thicknesses 2mm (3-6mm hook) and XL in 4mm (8-12mm hook) thicknesses in a great range of colours and 2 sizes of balls too.
Tek Tek Barbante (98% recycled cotton and 1% polyester, 1% polyamide) 2mm (3-6mm hook) 3mm (5-8mm hook)
Bobbiny in 100% recycled cotton 3mm and XL 5mm is marketed as a macrame cord rather than a Barbante yarn. But being 100% Cotton this may be a firmer yarn.
Welcome Yarn, Tek Tek and Bobbiny can all be found at Woolly Whatknot .
Retwisst Barbante (80% recycled cotton 20% Other recycled fibres) is in between the 2 Hoooked choices with a thinner chunky weight with a suggested hook size of 6-8mm and comes in a great range of 30 colours.
Recycled Fabric Ribbon
If you’re looking for texture and incredibly beautiful colours, then recycled sari ribbon could be just what you’re looking for. Check out Yarn Yarn for great choice. They make their sari ribbon from leftover fabric from sari manufacturing, produced by women’s co-operatives and craftspeople in rural deprived areas of Northern India. So not only is the beautiful sari ribbon highly versatile for knitting, crochet, weaving, textile art and even jewellery making, it is handmade, hand dyed and it’s about as Ethical as it gets.
Another fabric yarn from Yarn Yarn is a Recycled Eyelash Cotton fabric yarn, that is brimming with beautiful texture and has the same impressive ethical credentials as their sari ribbon.
You will also find a vast array of choice in recycled Sari ribbon of varying thicknesses and beautiful colours at Darn Good Yarn. All made from ethically sourced recycled fabrics made by women’s co-operatives in India.
Spun Sari and Banana Yarns
By the same artisans who produce sari ribbon yarn, and therefore also ethically produced, we also have recycled spun sari yarn and banana yarn,. These are generally chunky weight but can also be Aran and finer weights. They can also vary from skein to skein! Being hand-spun, expect inconsistencies. Generally, a supplier will have batches of similar weight. There are many of suppliers these types of yarns. Too many to list here, but if you go head over to my Banana Yarn Review, you’ll find suppliers listed there. If you’re looking for recycled yarn that is ethical and unique, these are the yarns for you.
Silk Roving Worsted Weight Yarn by Darn Good Yarns, made from recycled sari silk, comes in a truly gorgeous array of hand dyed colours and they’re ethically sourced from artisans in India too.
Please note my experience of recycled silk and banana yarns is that the dyes run so you need to rinse them several times before use.
Borderline between chunky and worsted/aran weight is the new yarn from Hoooked (launched March 2020), the gorgeous Wavy Blends. It is a gradient cake yarn in 80% recycled cotton yarn and 20% other recycled fibres (Hook size 4-6) and comes in several beautiful colourways. This is a firm feeling yarn, perfect for bags, rugs and home decor.
New to the market in March 2020 is Paintbox Recycled Cotton Worsted. It’s 100% recycled cotton, a truly fantastic addition to the new Paintbox recycled range. Currently in a lovely range of colours too. Having used this I can tell you it’s closer to DK weight and has a rustic appearance.
Sadly NOW DISCONTINUED! King Cole Big Value Recycled Aran Cotton (85% Cotton 15% Other fibres) – a really great aran weight yarn. Soft and strong and in a range of 18 colours, it was exceptionally good value too. I loved this yarn and used it a lot.
Launched in 2020 is King Cole Forest, an aran weight, 100g ball. A blend of recycled cosy fibres 35% Wool, 20% Acrylic, 20% Polyamide, 25% Viscose. Comes in pretty heathered natural shades. I’d be loving this without the wool content! Wool allergy. But if it’s anywhere close to being as good as the discontinued cotton version above, then it will be a fantastic buy.
Hoooked have their second offering in this type of yarn the Eco Barbante Milano (85% Cotton 15% Other) a super practical thickness in aran/worsted with a 4-6mm suggested hook size. Has a good range of colour choices including multi coloured mixes and 2 choices of ball sizes. Go to Hoooked for the full range.
Drops Paris Denim, 100% recycled cotton from jeans. Just 4 colours of Jean wash available. Incredibly low priced.
Premier Yarns Rodeo is a 85% cotton 15% polyester blend in super popular aran weight, making a great choice for a more eco friendly alternative to ordinary cotton.
Schachenmayr Cotton4Future, 50% Cotton 50% Polyester blend, made from waste cotton fibres and recycled plastic bottles.
Cascade Yarns Rebound is a 70% Polyester 30% Cotton mix yarn, all recycled fibres. Classic neutral tones. I’ve tried this one, and am very impressed look out for the review coming soon!
Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time is a 75% Cotton 25% acrylic blend, in aran weight, this blend is a great combination for garments.
Bergere de France Recycline (50% Other 30% Acrylic 20% Wool) just a few nice Earthy colours, great rustic texture. DISCONTINUED Replaced by the new one below.
Bergere de France 100% Recyclé 4 51% Acrylic 38% Wool 8% Polyamide 3% Other, 50g (1.8oz), Aran weight. Has replaced the Recycline shown above.
Bergere de France Fileco (60% Acrylic 18% Acrylic 12% Wool 6% Polyamide 4% Other) Size 5 hook suggested.
Lang Yarns Cashsoft (50% Cashmere 50% Merino Wool) in 15 colours, largely dark shades with some pretty brights. This is a luxury yarn, so it’s pricey.
Berroco Remix (30% Nylon 27% Cotton 24% Acrylic 10% Silk 9% Linen) 5mm hook recommended. A versatile wool-free mix of recycled fibres great for gorgeous textures. Pretty range of lightly flecked colours but expensive, so keep an eye out for offers if you want to try this one.
Fabulous big brand Lion Brand, has joined the recycled market with their Sustainable Stitching range of yarns:
Re-Up (70g, 117 yards) in Aran/light worsted weight 100% Recycled Cotton. It’s a super practical thickness and a highly affordable eco friendly switch for ordinary cotton and it comes in a really lovely range of colours too! It’s not widely available in the UK yet though, but Hobbycraft have made a start in stocking some colours, We Crochet stock it and send orders to the UK for not too high a postage cost and there’s some to be found on Amazon.
Re-Spun Bonus Bundle (a whopping 284 grams 658 yards) is a 100% recycled polyester yarn spun from recycled plastics. The soft feel makes it perfect for everything from garments and accessories to home décor. Aran #4 weight. I found it at Joanns online and was over the moon to see they now ship to the UK! Review coming soon!
Re-Tweed (100g, 202 yards) is a 40% Wool, 40% Polyester, 20% Acrylic blend that comes in an array of muted natural colours. Aran #4 weight.
Sirdar Simply Recycled Aran discontinued but still available in smaller online shops.
King Cole Big Value Limited Edition 100% Recycled Acrylic, 100g (3.5oz), DK weight. It’s 100% recycled acrylic!!! Wow, I’ve waited a long time for such a yarn, so I’m overjoyed to see this. The colours are few and are limited edition, so will only be around for a short time, before being replaced by new ones. Review coming soon for this yarn! It’s a fantastic swap for an eco-friendly alternative to DK acrylic.
Super budget friendly Hoooked Soft Cotton (80% cotton, 20% other fibres) in a fantastic range of colours. I’m delighted to see this very much needed new addition. Well done Hoooked, but please get it stocked in more places! A review of this one coming soon. Check out my other Eco Yarn Reviews.
Another from Hoooked is their beautiful Somen a 60% recycled cotton 40% Linen mix. Perfect for lighter garments.
Re-use by Rosarios 4, 100% recycled cotton DK weight in a small lovely range of colours. Suggested hook size is 4.5 – 5mm so it may be closer to Aran/worsted weight.
Stylecraft have brought a new yarn out in 2021: Re-Create DK, a 100% recycled blend of 40% wool, 30% acrylic and 30% polyester (from plastic bottles). A small range of pretty heathery colours and recommended for garments and accessories.
Retwisst Slim Cotton (80% Cotton 20% Polyester) – a recycled DK cotton (hook 3-4mm) in a great range of bright pretty colours offering exceptionally good value.
Tweedy by Hedgehog Fibres DK (50% Falkland Merino Wool, 37.5% Recycled wool 12.5% recycled thread waste) – 100g. Woolly and soft. Just one neutral beige colourway with pretty specks of bright colours. This company will recycle your waste yarn ends into this yarn. You can send them to them by post, see their website for details.
Berroco Remix Light (30% Nylon 27% Cotton 24% Acrylic 10% Silk 9% Linen) 3.75mm hook recommended. A versatile wool-free mix of recycled fibres great for gorgeous textures. Pretty range of lightly flecked colours. Luxury yarn so is expensive.
Phildar Phil Eco Jean (48% Cotton 47% Polyester 5% Other) 50g Made from recycled jeans. Only in a small range of denim colours. Needle/hook 4mm.
Erika Knight Studio Linen (85% recycled linen 15% linen) 50g Range of grey/pastel tones for classic, elegant styling. DK 3.75mm hook.
Lana Grossa Solo Lino (80% recycled Viscose 20% Linen) DK (Hook 3.5mm) Pretty range of colours.
Lana Grossa Solo Lino Melange (80% recycled Viscose 20% Linen) Tube yarn that has an airy tape appearance but lighter weight than the chunkier tape yarn (Hook size 5mm). Pretty range of colours. Ideal for garments with drape.
Rico Essentials Recycled Cashmere (95% Cashmere 5% Wool) 25g Perfect for eco conscious luxurious makes in a small range mainly pinks and grey tones.
Rowan Denim Revive (95% Cotton 5% Other) 50g Small range of lovely colours.
Sirdar Simply Recycled DK discontinued but some stocks are still around. Very limited pastel shades.
*DISCONTINUED* Bergere de France Initial (48% Cotton 47% Polyester 5% Synthetic) Sport weight. Made from recycled jeans and water bottles!
We are Knitters have a small range of pretty colours in their recycled DK yarn. It’s composed of 95% cotton, 5% other fibres, gives a rustic appearance and comes in a 100g skein.
4ply/Sport weight (#2)
The choice in 4 ply is considerably less but I hope with the current trend in upcycling and reuse, that yarn companies will make more in this thickness.
Drops Love You 6 (discontinued) and 9 recycled cotton come in a pretty range of colours. This is a fantastic strong yarn that I use a lot for flowers. Check with Garnstudio for stock and suppliers, there are quite a few.
Cascade Yarns Reverb (70% Recycled Polyester 30% Recycled Alpaca), 100g ball. A wonderful eco-friendly option for wool blend yarns in this thickness.
I recently discovered a very pretty one through another crocheter, Banana Moon Studios. Trend Setter Recycled Linen Hand Dyed (84% Recycled Linen, 16% Linen) Sport weight, and it looks beautiful. Check out the review of it by Banana Moon Studio.
Lang Yarns Cashsoft Baby (50% recycled Cashmere 50% Virgin Wool, 25g (0.9oz), 4-Ply 10 pretty shades. Luxury yarn, very pricey.
Lace Weight Silk Yarn at Darn Good Yarn, made from recycled, ethically sourced, hand-dyed by artisans in India. It comes in a stunning range of colours that you will fall in love with!
A range of recycled undyed and bleached recycled cotton yarn and macrame cords in various thicknesses are available at UK based Airdale yarns. Perfect for dyeing your own.
Retwisst have recycled Macrame cord in a range of beautiful colours including a fab cake range too. It’s 80% cotton 20% polyester (2-4mm crochet hook) This could be a great alternative to DK
So there we are, quite a few different yarns in all shapes and sizes! Hope this helps you source the perfect recycled yarns for your projects and encourages you to try recycled yarns. Let me know what you think and please PIN it (you can pin any photo) and SHARE it to help others find it. Together we can make a difference 💚
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