I attempt to revive my former favorite jeans into a workable project

Early last December when I was in the throes of preparing for the upcoming holiday, I posed the question: Can these jeans be saved?

My former favorite jeans

In my search for an answer to that question, I cut the former favorite jeans into strips:

My former favorite jeans cut into strips

which I then washed and dried, leaving me with a continuous (sort of) fabric strip with which to crochet:

My former favorite jeans after being cut into strips and then washed and dried

After detangling the blob of denim strips pictured above, I found that not all of the seaming had held together well.

Undeterred, I got out an 8.0 mm hook and attempted to crochet with the resulting fiber.

To put it charitably, the result was less than spectacular. I carefully frogged the stitches I had crocheted with my surprisingly fragile denim yarn, wound it into a ball, and set it somewhere in my crochet empire, and promptly forgot where exactly that somewhere was.

Then a couple of days ago as a result of my continued effort to bring order to the chaos that is my crochet empire/guestroom, I found the fabric strips that I had made from my former favorite pair of jeans, and I had been preparing for the day that these denim strips surfaced.

While my effort to crochet with the fabric strips had not gone well, these jeans were my favorites for a very long time, and I was not going to give up on them easily. I had decided that rather than crocheting with the strips of denim, I would crochet an open fabric and weave the strips of denim through the open fabric.

To that end, I made two swatches.

The first made use of a common stitch pattern that is described in The Adventurous Crocheter as “the sweater stitch.”

Using an H hook and Red Heart Super Saver shocking pink, I began with an even-numbered base chain and worked a single crochet stitch into the second chain from the hook. From there, I chained one, skipped the next chain and worked a single crochet stitch into the next chain. I continued in this fashion until I got to the end of the first row, making a single crochet stitch into the last chain.

From there, I chained one, turned the fabric and worked a single crochet into the first stitch, chained one, then worked a single crochet into the next single crochet stitch from the previous row.

I did this until I had a sufficiently large swatch and even number of rows. Here is the completed swatch:

I make small swatch of the sweater stitch

Using the same hook and yarn, I then made the filet crochet swatch pictured here:

I make a swatch of a filet crochet grid with a single crochet edging

Then I wove strips of the fabric through the open weave of the sweater stitch:

The sweater stitch swatch with strips of my former favorite jeans woven through the stitches

and the filet crochet:

The filet crochet swatch with strips of my former favorite jeans woven through the stitches

I particularly like the look and feel of the sweater stitch grid with the fabric strips running through it, and as soon as I settle on the perfect color yarn, my favorite jeans will indeed be transformed into a scarf I really like.

For me part of the magic of crochet is the journey, and this project has been (so far) a very interesting journey.

I can hardly wait to see how it ends.

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5 thoughts on “I attempt to revive my former favorite jeans into a workable project

  1. Such a clever idea. I also prefer the sweater stitch.

    I am planning on turning a fleece blanket into ‘yarn’ so that I can crochet a dog bed with it. Still haven’t got the courage, but one day.

  2. I think I like the sweater stitch better out of the two examples. A rich purple or deep green might look really good with the jean strips.

  3. I have to agree with the others and favor the sweater stitch. I have been following your jean saga and it led me to experiment with my own. Fortunately I have 2 growing boys and TONS of old jeans. I have tried cutting horizontally and vertically, thick and thin, and then washing (because I LOVE that frayed look) and still haven’t found the perfect technique.

    This gives me new hope for my “ball o’strips” that I planned to sew end-to-end to try crocheting with. Maybe now I don’t have to. I HATE to sew. I’m still going to try to find that perfect technique for crochet-ready denim strips, though.

    Kudos for not giving up!!

    Lynn (puhlease from Rav)

  4. Must have left the planet that I am first seeing this now so late in August however I must say this is very interesting!!! I have crocheted many times using torn fabric: old bed linens and flannel pants etc… while these are softer than denim (even old favorites) I found they held up well and I made several large bags….. akin to your yarn storage bags….. Love this combined affect! So clever!

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