Earth Day Projects-Knit and Crochet Projects from Recycled Materials

One of the great things about knitting and crochet is that you really can use your imagination when it comes to what materials you use to make your project. With Earth Day right around the corner I thought that this would be a great time to look at all of the untraditional materials that you can use to make your knit and crochet projects. Which will you pick as your Earth Day project?

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:

Working with your hands to make things is a great way to follow the true feeling of Earth Day. We know how important it is to take care of our Earth and when we knit and crochet we can make reusable items. Making our own washcloths or kitchen scrubbies is better for the earth, in most cases, than using disposable items.

You can find wonderful cotton yarn to make these projects but you can also use untraditional materials to make projects as well. After browsing on Pinterest I have found a few ideas of how we can reduce, reuse and recycle for our next adventurous Earth Day project.

Recycled Materials for Knitting and Crochet Earth Day Projects:

Plastic bag mats and bags:

Plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills. We have been encouraged to use reusable bags and are even charged in some states for using plastic shopping bags. Some stores have bins that you can recycle your plastic bags, or you could turn them into plarn.

Most of the projects that I have found using plarn have been crochet. Once you make your own plarn you could crochet a reusable bag that you can use for a very long time. You can customize the color placement by what bags you use. There has also been a movement to make sleeping mats for the homeless using plarn.

Vickie Howell recently held a Facebook LIVE where she showed how to make your own plarn.

Recycled Christmas Card Ornaments:

At the end of the holiday season we end up with a pile of cards. I hate throwing them away but what am I really going to do with them all. After searching on Pinterest I saw the great idea of attaching a crochet border and then using them as ornaments! These would also make great package toppers.

Just punch holes around your card, or section of card. Then using a blanket stitch make your base around the card. After that you can crochet directly into the blanket stitch you created and make a beautiful border to finish off your ornament.

Soda Tabs:

I don’t think I could ever get close to guessing the number of soda tabs that are in circulation at any given point in time. Typically we open a soda and recycle the can, but next time you open a can keep the tab and make a recycled project.

If you head over to Pinterest you will see some AMAZING patterns people have made using crochet and soda tabs. They are making bags, jewelry, ornaments, belts and more! You will never look at a soda tab the same way again.

T-shirts and Jeans:

When we grow out of clothing, or grow out of their style, or have ripped clothing we typically throw it away or turn it into rags. Now you can make your own t-shirt or jean yarn. Over the past few seasons we have seen more t-shirt yarn and jean yarn come on the market. Why spend the money to purchase the yarn when you can make it yourself.

To make your own t-shirt yarn or jean yarn you will follow the steps that you did to make plarn. I found a really great photo tutorial of how to make your own t-shirt yarn if you want to get started!

Produce Bag Scrubbies:

As much as we try to recycle there are just some things that we don’t know what to do with. The produce bags that things like oranges come in are one of those items that I am never sure if it should be tossed or recycled. Now I know the answer, RECYCLED into scrubbies.

Over on the Make and Do Crew blog you will find a great tutorial on how to turn those produce bags into useful scrubbies for your kitchen. Pair it with Red Heart Scrubby Smoothie and you will have your next kitchen sponge ready in no time.

Felted Sweater Mittens:

I know what you are thinking, the whole point of washing a handmade sweater is to keep it from felting not make it felt! Well we have all had that one time when we have accidentally felted something that we didn’t want to and then didn’t know what to do with the sweater. Now I have the solution.

Turn your felted sweater, or other items, into custom mittens. Just cut out the mitten shape to fit your hand size and sew them together and you have a super warm pair of mittens.

You might be thinking that you don’t have any wool to felt with, but that isn’t a problem. Even if you aren’t making the sweater yourself to felt (that would be a lot of work) head to your local thrift store and pick up a wool sweater for this project. Rather than letting that sweater sit with no purpose give it a new life as your next pair of winter mittens.

Here is a great tutorial on how to make felted sweater mittens from the Make and Do Crew Blog.

Knitting Needle Jewelry:

We have talked about materials that you can recycle to make your projects in but what about the tools that we use? Often we start out with a simple set of needles or hooks and then upgrade to something more special as we fall more in love with the craft. The question becomes what to do with our old tools.

Looking on Pinterest I found tutorials for making knitting needle jewelry. Some of the ideas included hammering your old metal needles to then form into a bracelet. I found you could saw your metal needles to make beads to string. Or you could head up the metal needles and bend them as is, without hammering, to make a wrap bracelet as well.

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Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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