Deadstock No More: Saving Yarns from Fashion Landfills

Lindsey Degen addresses the serious issue of textile waste with creativity and a playful aesthetic.

Carol J. Sulcoski Jun 12, 2024 - 5 min read

Deadstock No More: Saving Yarns from Fashion Landfills Primary Image

Designer Lindsey Degen (above right) takes a joyful approach but tackles serious issues in her knitwear. Photos courtesy of

Enjoy this extended article by Carol J. Sulcoski from the premier issue of Farm & Fiber Knits. “Farm & Fiber in Fashion” features a handful of companies and designers with a passion for sustainability and a love of Mother Earth who are bringing the farm-to-fiber movement to the fashion world, and vice versa.

It’s a shocking statistic: An estimated 92 million tons of textiles are sent to landfills every year by the fashion industry. Addressing the issue of textile waste—only 15 percent of which is recycled each year—is a priority for knitwear designer Lindsay Degen.

Degen describers her eponymous company as “a lifestyle brand for creative people.” She sells finished sweaters, accessories, and baby items as well as craft-related tools on her website. She also offers handknitting patterns for some of her most popular designs.

Degen translated her personal interest in sustainability into a clever business decision: exploring the possibilities presented by deadstock textiles. Deadstock textiles are the unused fabrics and yarns left over at the end of a season, often the result of a manufacturer overestimating its needs. Instead of letting perfectly good textiles languish in landfills, intrepid designers such as Degen use them to make their own products. Degen is currently collaborating with The Endery, a company specializing in deadstock design. The result? A popular capsule collection made with 100 percent deadstock materials.

Capitalizing on Degen’s preference for vibrant colors and geometric lines, her collaboration with The Endery has produced fun, relaxed clothing like the Wavvy sweater, a multicolored adult garment with bright rippling stripes reminiscent of classic Missoni designs. Baby booties with a stylish mishmash of colors and patterns are made from deadstock cotton yarn, as are fun baby sweaters—including one that reads YUCK! across the chest.

Baby in striped sweater with orange textured knitted leggings Degen’s designs for children involve a joyous use of color.

Degen finds her work with deadstock textiles to be incredibly rewarding as it creates beautiful garments out of what otherwise would be waste. However, there are challenges. She says: “In the fashion industry, you typically make a sample, spend three months selling it to stores, then place an order to be produced four months later, a full year process. Working with deadstock means that you need to find enough material to fulfill the orders and forecast what those orders will be so that you can lock in that deadstock.”

If you snooze, you lose: There’s a finite supply of a specific yarn available, and other designers may snap it up if you don’t act quickly. As a result, Degen likes to incorporate deadstock yarn as pops of color for embellishment, less risky than planning an entire garment around deadstock inventory. Brightly contrasting embroidery also highlights the deadstock, making it a central design element.

Degen’s designs are casual, colorful, and playful. (Think sweaters with dots and geometric shapes, vertical motifs, and unexpected colors and stripes.) Although it’s hard to put an exact label on her sensibility, Degen loves “volumes and proportions, simple shapes and bold color used with muted color. I like a big fit—big top, big pants.” Given her love of handknitting, Degen offers a selection of handknitting patterns for some of her most popular designs. You’ll find patterns for sweaters and socks, along with accessories like hats and scarves, even a pair of socks with smiley faces on the heels. Degen also sells charming craft-related tools like stitch markers and scissors on her website.

You can learn more about Lindsay Degen and her products at; her handknitting patterns are also available on Ravelry.

Carol J. Sulcoski is a knitting author, designer, and teacher. She’s published seven knitting books, including Knitting Ephemera, which is full of knitting facts, history, and trivia. Her articles have appeared in publications such as Vogue Knitting, Modern Daily Knitting, Noro Magazine, the Craft Industry Alliance website, and others. She lives outside Philadelphia and teaches at knitting events, shops, and guilds. Her website is