A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Knitting a Green World

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep.~~Scott Adams

Is recycling yarn Frugal, or just Plain Cheap? Have you read about this mysterious art of unraveling sweaters for yarn and are ready to try it out? Unlike my teen who often finds beautiful, like new, clothes for $.50 to $1, I feel lucky just be able to grab a sweater at Goodwill’s for $4.99-$6.99. My thrift-store shopping skill needs improvement.

I love the idea of recycling sweaters for several reasons: 1) It’s a fantastic sweater construction tutorial; 2) I get to try yarns that I wouldn’t ordinarily get to use; and 3) I get a ton of yarn for WAY less than LYS or even craft store prices What do you buy to get started? If you’re like me, you could end up with 20 sweaters from your first thrift visit of varying quality. There are a few things you should look out for that will save you plenty of grief later. Some ideas for thrift shopping and what to look for in a Thrift Sweater:

1. Check the seams! Make sure they’re not surged–unless you like knitting with 3-foot strips of yarn. If they’re not surged, check the underarm seam. You would have to toss a good bit of yarn because the underarm areas were felted.

2. Check the fiber. I don’t like acrylic and nylon and will not waste my time on them. If you’re okay with that, go ahead. Cotton is a maybe.

3. Light yarn is easier to unravel than dark yarn, especially with yarns that aren’t as smooth. It was a murder to unravel the dark brown Old Navy vest.
What used to be a machine-knit/surged cabled vest

Deconstruction experiment left me with hundreds of short and long strands of wool in a pile. Most people would’ve tossed them out, not me. Perseverance pays off–I now have close to 40 grams of lace (30 wpi) in a ball after endless hours of felt-splicing. I am getting really good at it (down to half an inch from each fiber)–no break, no join that can be seen. 160 grams more of lambswool to harvest…

Reclaimed ultra soft, 2-ply lambswool

Be sure to visit Dawn’s wonderful, comprehensive tutorial if you like to try hand at recycling sweater for usable yarn.

Happy creating!


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