Unravel A Sock & Rejuvenate the Yarn

When I buy the gorgeous Opal ranges for the Knitting Squirrel’s Yarn Shop, sometimes, in the bottom of the box there is a sample sock. Usually, I glance at the sample sock and set it aside for later. Today, when the new Gallery and Best Friends Opal ranges arrived, there was a sock in the bottom of the box, machine knit using one of my favourite colours in the Gallery sock yarn range – Blue Whale in the Red Sea – isn’t this a cool name for a gorgeous colour combination? I’ve always felt there was enough yarn in the sample sock to make it worthwhile unravelling the sock and rejuvenating the yarn for using in a new project.

Opal Gallery 8887 Blue Whale in the Red Sea Sock

So today, later... finally arrived for the sample socks in these vibrant yarns: Gallery – Blue Whale in Red Sea, Play – Chase, and Beachcombing – Driftwood.

The first thing I did was to weigh the socks – they were all approximately 46 grams. The perfect amount for a pair of fingerless mitts or if I use 50 grams of a solid or semi-solid coloured yarn I could knit a really cute pair of striped socks.

Opal Play and Beachcombing Socks

So I set about unravelling the socks. On turning the sock inside out, I could see that there was a seam across the top of the toe joining it to the instep. So I carefully snipped along this edge on the instep. Then I snipped the rest of the toe off following the same round of knitting.

Yarn Winding

I decided to unravel each sock and wind it into a ball using my ball winder. I held the yarn coming from the sock under slight tension and wound the sock yarn onto the ball winder. It seemed the easiest way to keep control of the very crimped yarn. I really didn’t want to have a tangled mess of yarn as the crimped fibre turned into knots very easily.

Wound balls and Leftovers

A while later I had three balls of yarn each weighing about 44 grams. Then I unravelled the toe (you never know when you will need a little bit of extra sock yarn) and had three little 2.5 gram balls of sock yarn. Aren’t the little curly colourful scraps really sweet?

Used Elastic

The edge of the socks had been knit using a neat tubular cast on and about 5 cm of the top of the rib had elastic added to give the cuff section of the sock more stretch. This is something I never do with my own socks so it was interesting unravelling it. The elastic added extra stretchiness to the top of the sock.

Play on the Swift

Next, I held the ball of crimped yarn and wound it onto my swift to make a skein. The sock yarn in the photo is from the Opal Play Sock Yarn range in colour 8825 Chase.

Figure of Eight Ties

I tied the skein in three places with figure of eight ties to stop the yarn tangling when it is soaked in the warm water. I also wound the two loose ends around the skein and tied the two ends together so that they wouldn’t tangle.

Crimped Skein

When the tied skein was taken off the swift it was really cute. I just wouldn’t like to be knitting something with it in this state!

Crystal Tipps and Alistair

Neil said it reminded him of Crystal Tipps hair, from Crystal Tipps and Alistair, a cartoon we loved when we were kids.  I can really see what he means!

Swirl in Water

I filled a basin with warm water and added a tiny amount of synthrapol to it. Then I soaked the skeins in the water. The kinks disappeared very quickly, leaving lovely smooth skeins of sock yarn.

Wet Skeins

I took the skeins out of the basin, gently pressed the water out of the yarn and laid them outside on the table to air dry for a while. Then I brought them in and hung them over the clothes rack.

Drying Skeins Outside

Once they have completely dried, I’ll wind each one back into a ball. I really love my swift and ball winder. Don’t know what I’d do without them.

I enjoyed unravelling these socks but this process could be used for rejuvenating any yarn that you want to reuse from a finished project that you intend to frog. It really helps to remove the crimped effect in the yarn before knitting with it. I’m planning what to knit with these lovely sock yarns.

Who wouldn’t want to save these gorgeous yarns to knit into a really cute garment to wear! What have you unravelled recently?

About Nicolette


  1. Thank you, I will be unraveling one pair of holey socks and attempting to use the yarn to Swiss darn another pair that is wearing thin.

  2. Great idea! I have taken apart thrift store sweaters and made shawls from them in the past. I may unravel my first knitted pair of socks that are to big for me and give it another go.

  3. I love unravelling knits – so satisfying!


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