Along avec Anna

How to : Straighten Used Wool

Hello everyone! I hope you are well and that you are ready for a new knitting tutorial : how to straighten used wool.
Have you ever made mistakes in a project, and have to unknit it? Or you didn’t like the result and wanted to use the yarn to make something else?
I recently experienced a hole on the front of my sweater and I had three solutions to this problem: patch up as I could with a seam, hide it with a brooch, or unknit my project to the hole and start again. As I am quite perfectionist with my projects, I chose the third solution.

If you’ve ever unkitted a project, you may have noticed that the wool is completely curled, and that it is impossible to use it thus. : I’m going to show you today how to do it.
There are several techniques: put your yarn in skein and wash it, wrap it around a bottle, or heat it with steam. I will explain the first technique in photos, which is the longest but the least risky, and I will describe the others at the end of the article.

So let’s do this, are you ready?

First, you have to unknit the part, or the whole project. For mine,  I picked up my thread at the neck band, and I unknitted to the hole in the chest, while winding my wool in the form of a ball.


Courage, it’s quite long, especially if you have to unknit all your project! Do not hesitate to make several balls if yours becomes too big. Once knitted, your wool will be curled and will look like this, which will be impossible to knit! There are therefore several steps before it can be reused.

The next step is putting your wool in skein: for this you have to use your knitting umbrella, and wrap your yarn all around. If you don’t have a one, you can wrap it around a chair for example. Your skein must be large enough (so that your wool dries faster), but not too much so that it does not twist and knot!

Once the skein is done, you need to wrap small pieces of wool around in different places to hold the skein: this will prevent it from making knots when you wash it!

Your skein is made, and the yarn is still curly! It means that it’s time to wash it! To do this, dip it in a basin of lukewarm water, with laundry detergent: personally I use Eucalan non-rinsing detergent which is very practical and also softens the wool, but there are others of the same kind.
You can let your skein soak for a few tens of minutes.

Once you have let your skein soak for a little while, you can take it out of the water and wring it gently. Be careful! Never twist the yarn too much. To actually wring your skein, you have to wrap it in a towel and press it. Repeat the operation several times.

Now, it’s time to dry the skein! You can put it to dry on a clothes airer as in the pictures: try to distribute the yarn so it will dry faster! And you must wait until it is completely dry before starting the next step!

Your yarn is dry? Perfect, you can replace the skein on your knitting umbrella, as if it was a new skein. Then, cut the pieces of wool that you put around to make it run smoothly when you wind your yarn.

And it’s time to make a ball of yarn (or a cake)! Take your yarn and pass it this way in your winder: in the small hole of the metal foot, then in the line of the winder, leaving a small piece of wool to protrude. And…. let’s go! Your tension must be strong enough, but not too much either. Try to keep the same tension throughout the process so that your ball has a good shape. This will be easier to knit.

And now, your curly yarn is ready to be re-used to restart your project, or start another! Really easy, right?!

The technique explained above is the most ‘conventional’ but is also the longest. Personally, this is the one I prefer to use because I know it will not ruin my yarn.

However there are two other techniques to straighten the wool but that I have never tried:

  • With a bottle : This method consists of winding your wool around a glass bottle (bottle of wine type) by stretching it well. Try to wind it around the bottle rather than in one place so it will dry faster. It is then necessary to soak your bottle in lukewarm water (about 30 degrees, temperature to adapt according to the material). Once the yarn is well covered with water, drain your bottle and place it on a heat source and wait until the wool dries well. (Source Joueuse de Pelotes)
  • Steam: This method consists of placing your curly wool balls in the steam basket and place it in the cooker that contains boiling water. The lid should then be closed for about 5 minutes. Then, take out your balls of yarn and let them dry before you can reuse them. Be careful, this method is not suitable for all types of wool (mohair for example). If you used this method, you should knit the yarn  with a smaller needle size. (Source Laramicelle)

I hope this new article will have helped you, and that you will not be afraid to unknit projects that you don’t like anymore !! I wish you a very nice weekend!


  • 10 March 2017
    Carole I.

    Cet article tombe à point ! J’arrive à la fin de mon 4eme écheveau pour mon lighthouse ! Pas d’autre choix que de détricoter mon échantillon en espérant que la quantité de laine suffira ! Je vais donc pouvoir tester ta méthode. Merci !

  • 10 March 2017

    je me souviens ma mère pratiquait cette méthode avec les chaises de notre salle à manger; merci pour vos rubriques oujourstrès interessantes

  • 10 March 2017

    bravo et merci Anna pour ces explications très claires et utiles !!!! et merci aussi à Alice pour sa coopération…..

  • 10 March 2017

    Merci Anna! Tes tutoriels tricot sont vraiment géniaux! J’adore ❤

  • 10 March 2017

    Bravo et merci pour toutes informations très précieuses 🙂

  • 11 March 2017

    Pour ma part j’enroule la laine autour d’une bouteille en pet (Evian ou Contrex) et ensuite remplis la bouteille d’eau chaude et laisse refroidir pendant quelques heures (pas besoin de mouiller la laine). C’est simple et radical

  • 11 March 2017
    Sandrine P

    Bien pratique cet article je dois justement détricoter le corps d ‘un pull bien trop grand. Il ne me reste plus qu’à trouver un dévidoir et un bobinoir. ?

  • 20 March 2017
    Hermine Bleue

    bonjour Anna !
    pour ma part, j’ai toujours utilisé cette méthode : enrouler la laine autour d’une bouteille “PET”, mouiller la laine à l’eau froide, remplir la bouteille d’eau chaude, et laisser sécher loin de toute source de chaleur. une pelote par bouteille pour ne pas faire d’épaisseur trop importante.
    l’avantage (quand on est comme moi sous équipée), c’est que tu passe directement de l’ouvrage à défaire vers la bouteille, puis vers la pelote. pas besoin d’échevaudoir !
    merci Colinette, je n’ai jamais essayé sans mouiller !

  • 15 November 2018

    Bonjour Anna.
    Je suis un peu déçue par votre tuto car je viens de laisser tremper longuement de la laine frisée dans de l’eau (au début) tiède et elle est toujours aussi frisée à la sortie. Pas du tout comme sur votre photo.

  • 6 March 2019
    Liliane RIGAULT

    Bonjour Anna, J’ai récemment détricoté une veste que j’avais tricotée et que j’ai dû porter 2 fois. J’ai fait comme ta première méthode. Mais alors comme elle était tricotée avec 2 fils et que je voulais la récupérer en 1 seul fil, c’était la galère pour les dédoubler, mais j’y suis arrivée ! et j’avais utilisé 20 pelotes pour cette veste !

  • 20 May 2019

    Bonjour Anna, je viens de suivre ta méthode et le résultat est magique ! Je vais pouvoir continuer mon cardigan blossom sans souci 🥰 mille mercis pour ton tuto !

  • 10 September 2019

    Super tuto qui m’a été bien utile. J’ai choisi la 1ere version et ça a été Magique ! Ma laine était très frisée et après sechage elle avait un beau brushing tout Lisse ! Merci Anna pour tes précieux Conseils ! 😘😘😘

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