Knitting Patterns Using Recycled Materials
There is something satisfying about knitting a re-usable shopping bag from old plastic bags. Or creating a pretty waste basket from waste materials.
Here are knitting patterns using recycled, reclaimed or upcycled materials such as yarn made from plastic bags – plarn, t-shirts, fabric and more.
Be patient with these new materials. Plastic bag yarn is less stretchy than fiber yarn. Some knitters also have said it is easier to knit with thinner plastic bags.
To get the knitting patterns, scroll down the page to the individual pattern you want and click on the link to that pattern.
All links on this site are for informational purposes, but please note that some links are to affiliate sellers that pay me a small commission on purchases.
Free Knitting Patterns
This basket is knit with t-shirt yarn in twined technique that creates a sturdy fabric. Designed by Melissa Somerville
Tee Shirt Rag Rug
Rug made of mitered squares knit with tee shirt fabric. Designed by Jana Trent
Recylcle Bath Puff Into Scrubber and Yarn Sleeve
Salihan Laugesen’s ingenious instructions help you re-use bath puffs that have unraveled. Bath puffs are made from tubes of netting so you can cut off a portion of the netting tube and slip it over your yarn cakes or balls to keep them neat. Then you can knit the remaining netting into a scrubber to use in the shower or kitchen.
Cable Rag Rug
This Rag Bath Mat was knit from two pre-washed twin size sheets ripped into 1 ½” strips. Ravelrers have also used duvets, t-shirts and other fabric. Size approx. 18″ wide and length desired
Julie Weisenberger’s totes are knit from plastic bags and come in two sizes – large and small.
Sari Ribbon Easy Peasy Bag
This purse is designed for sari ribbon yarn and is a good use for recycled sari yarn. Bag is knit flat and then seamed to fit handles. Designed by Louisa Harding. Pictured project by peppin
Sari Ribbon Pullover
This long-sleeved sweater is designed for sari ribbon yarn and is a good use for recycled sari yarn. Available in English and German. Sizes 36/38, 40/42, XL. Designed by Lana Grossa
Sari Ribbon Basket or Bag
10 hours or less designed this Dusk to Dawn striped tote with a cable rim for recycled sari ribbon yarn.
Plastic Bag I-cord Sandals
Kimberly Golynskiy designed these sandals as part of a thesis project to upcycle plastic bags. Size shown is for 12-18 months but is easily customizable.
Alison Hogg designed this small bowl that is about 4cms (1¾ in) high and 8cms (3¼ ins) in diameter.
Eyepod Eyeglass Case
Laurie Balbo designed these cute striped cases made of plastic bag yarn.
Polo Collar Shawl
This openwork drop-stitch shawl with garter stitch color gets its unique look from yarn reclaimed from a sweater. But you can knit it with regular yarn, of course! Designed by moon_custafer
Openwork Sweater in T-Shirt Yarn
Love this pullover by Donatella Mestriner! The strips are cut at 3/4” width so won’t be too bulky, and there will be enough to knit the whole garment.
Upcycled Oven Mitts in T-Shirt Yarn
Melissa Somerville’s oven mitts come in three sizes and take approximately two men’s large t-shirts.
Rag Doily Rug
Julie Weisenberger’s design uses old sheets for yarn to create a pretty and absorbent rug for bathrooms and entryways.
T-Shirt Yarn Necklace
Easy necklace design from Fancy Tiger Crafs.
Mom & Me Cloche Hats
Denae Merrill’s t-shirt yarn hat is available in 3 sizes from mom (20-22in), older child/teen (18-20in) as well as younger child (16-18in). The hat is knit in reclaimed t-shirt yarn.
Janine Le Cras recycled old denim jeans to make this clever tote bag that even recycles the seams for the straps.
Arm Knit T-shirt Yarn Cowl
Heidi Arjes’s cowl is stretchy and comfy and made from two t-shirts.
Plastic Bag Shopping Bag
This shopping bag won 1st place in a 2015 Earth Day Recycled Art Show for its creator jamiemyselfandi. Molly Aplet created the original design for this shopping bag knit from old shopping bags. However, this pictured project and others added several modifications so I recommend you check out the project gallery.
Clothesline Floor Mat
This floor rug by CraftPassion is 40″ x 29″ and made of durable clothesline rope.
Recycled Plastic Bottle Cable Knit Bracelet
Zylo Lugosi’s bracelet uses leftover plastic bottles to create the base of this bracelet. The instructions outline the cable knit cover and assembly instructions for the bracelet.
Recycled Plastic Business Card Case
Caroline Steinford’s small pouch could be made using strips of any plastic (the more flexible, the better), scrap cloth, or less than a skein of leftover worsted-weight yarn.
Yarn and Patterns for Purchase
Save time by buying your plastic bag yarn! You’re still making eco-friendly designs without the hassle of cutting and winding the plastic bags. Many colors available!
Save time by buying your t-shirt yarn! You’re still making eco-friendly designs without the hassle of cutting and winding. Many colors available!
T-shirt Yarn Clutch
Knit a small purse with recycled t-shirt yarn. The size of the clutch is 33 x16 cm.
Market Tote with T-Shirt Yarn
This tote bag is knit with upcycled / recycled t-shirt yarn. Includes a tutorial on creating t-shirt yarn.
DIY Tutorial XXL Pouf
This footstool is knit with t-shirt yarn. Diameter 55 cm (22“) Height 40 cm (16“)
Rags to Riches Fabric Purses
Purses knit from fabric strips. Many options included to knit flat or in the round. 2 hour project. Measurements: 12″w x 12″h
Knitted Rag Rugs
Detailed instructions for knitting rag rugs from fabric strips, using basic stitches. Step-by-step directions make it easy to create knitted rugs in many different forms and designs, such as shaggy rugs like the Shaker “confetti” rugs, strip or block assembly rugs, coil knitted rugs, wedge knitted rugs, bullseye rugs, hexagonal and even two methods to knit a heart shaped rug.
20 knitting paterns for plastic bag yarn including bags, jewelry, baskets, and more.
Easy pattern for knitting a garter stitch basket from cotton rope.
Ombre Garden Pods / Planters Using Plarn
Knitted plant pods from plastic bags make great planters! The woven plastic retains water, keeping the soil moist and the plant well-watered while also allowing airflow and drainage, keeping the plant healthy and thriving! This pattern offers detailed instructions on how to make the plarn needed for the pattern as well as instruction for making three sizes (small-4″ diameter x 2″ high, medium-6″ diameter x 3″ high, large-8″ diameter x 4″ high) of ombre style plant pods.
Cowl Neck Poncho
Denae Merrill’s prize-winning design drop-stitch poncho uses sport-weight Recycled Silk Yarn.