I have some knit sweaters that I’d like to recycle to other projects. How’s the best way to do this without having them unravel when I cut out the motifs?
There are several ways to do this successfully and save those cute snowmen, Santas or whatever design you love. If the sweater is wool, one of the easiest ways to work with it is to felt it. Throw the sweater into the washer and dryer on hot temperature settings and let the fibers shrink and compact. This will alter the design motifs slightly, but you can then simply cut the fabric into any shape you want without fear of it raveling. Felted fabric is sturdier than its original knit state as the wool fibers have interlocked closely.
If you don’t want a felted look, or the sweater is synthetic, consider fusing a lightweight interfacing behind the area you want to save, before cutting into it. This will stabilize the knit and add some body to keep the cut edges from pulling out.
If you prefer not to add additional stability to the area, simply stitch around the motifs you want to recycle and cut close to the stitching to prevent raveling.