Recently I’ve come across a couple articles and tutorials on how to recycle yarn. At first I thought someone was taking it too far. I mean, wouldn’t that be a HUGE amount of work for a little bit of yarn? No. Think about how many skeins of yarn it takes to make a normal sweater — 4, 8, 12? Depends on the sweater and the yarn but that’s a lot of money if you buy something that isn’t ugly clearance-pile acrylic. Just a decent small wool skein is $5!
So I experimented.
I bought two small hooded Goodwill sweaters, cute as buttons, but only big enough to fit one of my boobs in. Okay, more than that but just knowing that someone that petite existed made me want to destroy the sweaters. Kidding! They were 100% cotton and appeared to be Super Bulky. I did the seam check… Awesome! The panels were shaped, not knitted in large blocks, cut and then serged together. That would mean that the yarn would be in lots of little pieces instead of one continuous strand. Had the sweaters been made out of an acrylic I wouldn’t have bothered because acrylic is so much cheaper in the stores that it’s not worth the work.
Basically, all I had to do was separate the sweater pieces — hood, sleeves, back, placket, etc and then unravel them. I used no fancy tools besides a seam ripper, and just wound the yarn around my arm, like you would do with an extension cord. It didn’t take me very long as once I had the sections separated I could wind the yarn while watching TV without paying attention. It was definitely a good workout for my “mama arms”! Because the sweaters were made of cotton yarn I washed them first as there was no risk of felting, but now that it’s unraveled it’s kinky as shown by the pictures. So I’ll soak it in hot water and then hang it out to dry with a little bit of weight on it. The top picture is on a full sized coffee table for an idea of how much yarn one sweater gave me. Oh, and both had about 8 really cute buttons on them that I can reuse too.
A few tidbits:
- Uncertain if it is wool or not? Soak it overnight in straight bleach. If it dissolves then it is wool. If nothing changes then it is probably acrylic.
- Angora is oh so soft and pretty in a completed sweater but does not unravel well. Either does anything furry, eyelashy or bumpy.
- Try not to cut any of the yarn while pulling out the seams. You’ll have to splice it back together.
- Make sue to label your finished yarn so you remember the fiber content of your finished product. Here are some PDF labels from MysticSpiral.com
- Don’t like the color but the yarn is wonderful? Dye it!
- Rethink lace-weight sweaters. If you’re doing everything by hand, you’ll never finish unraveling. I know I didn’t.
- Watch out for button holes. If they are on a separate placket then just discard the placket. If the button holes are cut and sewn into the body of the sweater that yarn will be cut and not continuous. Either splice the yarn back together, discard the button-holed section or look for a different sweater.
Here are a couple tutorials if you are interested:
Oh and if you have any wool or cotton sweaters laying around that you don’t want and they aren’t serged I’d love to have them!
Tags: Bleach, Boobs, Coffee Table, Continuous Strand, Cotton Yarn, Couple Articles, Cute Buttons, Extension Cord, Fancy Tools, Goodwill, Hot Water, Little Bit, Little Pieces, Mama, Paying Attention, Quot, Recycling Yarn, Risk, Seam Ripper, Skeins Of Yarn, Sweaters, Watching Tv, Workout