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Knitting Patterns Using Recycled Materials

by | May 28, 2016 | Accessories, Bags, Purses, Totes, Featured, Oddball / Remnant / Stash, Yarn Specific

Knitting Patterns using Recyled or Reclaimed Yarn such as T-shirts, Fabric, Jeans, Plastic Bags and more. Most patterns are free

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.

These patterns are not my designs but links to other designers who have generously shared their patterns. If you have questions about how to knit a specific pattern, please contact the designer directly.

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

Free Knitting Pattern for Knitted Boots

Knitted Boots

Upcycle a pair of unwanted shoes into mukluk style boots by knitting the boot upper through holes in the shoe. Jumbo yarn. Designed by Tina Marrin

Free Knitting Pattern for Tee Shirt Rag Rug

Tee Shirt Rag Rug

Rug made of mitered squares knit with tee shirt fabric. Designed by Jana Trent

Free Knitting Pattern for Recycling Bath Puff

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.

Free Knitting Pattern for Cable Rag Rug

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

Free knitting pattern for tote bag made with plastic bags


Julie Weisenberger’s totes are knit from plastic bags and come in two sizes – large and small.

Free Knitting Pattern for Easy Peasy Bag

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

Free Knitting Pattern for Sari Ribbon Pullover

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

Free Knitting Pattern for Sari Ribbon Basket or Bag

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.

Free knitting pattern for sandals made with plastic yarn plarn

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.

Free knitting pattern for Plarn Bowl

Plarn Bowl

Alison Hogg designed this small bowl that is about 4cms (1¾ in) high and 8cms (3¼ ins) in diameter.

Free knitting pattern for eyeglass case made of plastic bag yarn plarn

Eyepod Eyeglass Case

Laurie Balbo designed these cute striped cases made of plastic bag yarn.

Free Knitting Pattern for Polo Collar Shawl

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

Free knitting pattern for Openwork sweater in t-shirt yarn

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.

Free knitting pattern for Upcycled Oven Mitts

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.

Free knitting pattern for Rag Doily Rug

© print-of-the-wave

Rag Doily Rug

Julie Weisenberger’s design uses old sheets for yarn to create a pretty and absorbent rug for bathrooms and entryways.

Free knitting pattern for Mom and Me Cloche Hats in t-shirt yarn

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.

Free knitting pattern for Injeanious tote bag made from recycled jeans


Janine Le Cras recycled old denim jeans to make this clever tote bag that even recycles the seams for the straps.

Free knitting pattern for Arm Knit T-Shirt cowl

Arm Knit T-shirt Yarn Cowl

Heidi Arjes’s cowl is stretchy and comfy and made from two t-shirts.

Free knitting pattern for Market Bag made of plastic bag yarn plarn

© jamiemyselfandi

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.

Free knitting pattern for Floor Mat knit from clothesline rope

Clothesline Floor Mat

This floor rug by CraftPassion is 40″ x 29″ and made of durable clothesline rope.

Free knitting pattern for bracelet using recycled bottle base

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.

Free knitting pattern for ladycaroline's Recycled Plastic Business Card Case

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!

tshirt yarn

T-shirt yarn

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!

Knitting pattern for T-shirt Clutch made with t-shirt yarn

T-shirt Yarn Clutch

Knit a small purse with recycled t-shirt yarn. The size of the clutch is 33 x16 cm.

Knitting Pattern for Market Tote with T-Shirt Yarn

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.

Knitting pattern for Pouf of T-Shirt Yarn

DIY Tutorial XXL Pouf

This footstool is knit with t-shirt yarn. Diameter 55 cm (22“) Height 40 cm (16“)

Knitting Patterns for Fabric Purses

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

Knitting Pattern for Denim Fluff Rug

Knitting Pattern for Seafoam T-Shirt Rug

Denim Fluff Rug and Seafoam T-Shirt Rug

Knitting Rugs: 39 Traditional, Contemporary, Innovative DesignsThe Denim Fluff Rug is knit with old jeans cut in strips and yarn. The Seafoam Holey T-Shirt Rug is knit with t-shirt yarn in a classic drop stitch pattern.  Two of the patterns in Knitting Rugs: 39 Traditional, Contemporary, Innovative Designs. Available in Kindle and Paperback (Prime available).

Eco-Friendly Knits Book Cover

Eco-Friendly Knits

20 knitting paterns for plastic bag yarn including bags, jewelry, baskets, and more.

Knitted Rag Rugs

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.

Knitting pattern for Rope Basket

Rope Basket

Easy pattern for knitting a garter stitch basket from cotton rope.

Knitting pattern for Garden Planters made of plastic bag yarn plarn

Ombre Garden Pods / Planters Using Plarn

Knitted plant pods from plastic bags make great planters! The woven plastic retains water while also allowing airflow and drainage! 3 sizes.

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