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Topic: How do I Unravel a Sweater?  (Read 6763 times)
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« on: October 15, 2004 06:29:43 AM »

Seems like a silly question, but if I buy a thrift store sweater to recycle the yarn, how do I do this?  Where do you begin?  Any tips are appreciated!
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2004 07:19:29 AM »

There's a complete tutorial.
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2004 07:22:40 AM »

I personally haven't done this, but just saw an episode of Knitty Gritty on the DIY channel that outlined the basics.  I guess one of the most important things is choosing the correct sweater to begin with.  Make sure that it isn't cut at the seams or you will end up with strips of yarn rather than one long continuous piece.  Also, you want a sweater that hasn't become slightly "felted" by washing or wear- you won't be able to separate it out.  From there, you snip out the seaming and begin to unravel.  They reccomended a salad spinner to wick away moisture after washing the yarn and hung it weighted from a hanger to pull all of the crimping out of the fiber.  I am really anxious to try it.  It seems like I have come across a few posts here at Craftster regarding successful recycling of yarn.  A bit of effort, but with the cost of some yarns...well worth it.
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2004 12:24:34 PM »

I had been secretly doing this for a few years.  I say secretly because most of the people I know make fun of most of my crafty endeavours until the see the finished product and then they all want one (the spoon wind chimes, the felted sweater handbags etc).  Also secretly because some of the sweaters I recycled were given to me by my mom, who means well but really doesn't understand what I might wear!  I had a couple of frustrating attempts to recycle sweaters that were NOT knit from one continuous strand, ie they were knit, cut and seamed as opposed to those sweaters which are knit with a selvedge stitch and seamed.  Anyway, since finding Craftster I'm much more open about my bizarre thought processes which usually involve the thought "I could make X out of that". 

Word of caution, otherwise known as "I got so frustrated I gave up".  I found this great Fair Isle patterned sweater at Salvation Army the other day.  It had such great fall colors but the pattern was kind of cheesy.  I had great plans to take it home and separate it out and knit bags to felt (100% wool!!).  I started and discovered that whoever hand-knit it had knotted all the ends when they joined new colors.  Also, the yarn was not all the same weight (a little weird!) and some of the strands were not worth working with.  Anyway, I now plan to just felt the pieces and use it in some future project.

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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2004 02:10:00 PM »

Here's another picture tutorial posted awhile back by a Craftster:

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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2004 02:54:33 PM »

The link that Melidomi posted is awesome. I used it a while back to unravel a sweater and got about eight larges balls of bulky weight yarn that I otherwise wouldn't have bought, but for $2.50, how could I go wrong. A word to the wise: no matter how lucious that mohair sweater looks, don't buy it as you won't be able to unravel it without a huge fight!

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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2005 02:10:33 PM »

Again, i can only take credit for finding this wonderful link. But i just thought it was a great tut!! had to share

Let me know what you think??

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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2005 07:23:07 AM »

I bought a beautiful Irish sweater at the thrift yesterday for the wool--it's 90% merino, 10% polyamide, and had been slightly felted--the stitches were still distinct, but when I was unraveling I had to tug to separate the yarn.

The yarn has a really interesting texture--as you can see from the pic--it struck me that this would be fun to experiment with--felting deliberately to achieve different effects.

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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2005 07:34:31 AM »

how do you find all these great sweaters at thrift stores? my thrift stores must SUCK. everything i've ever found was a hideous color, way too small of yarn (practically thread), bad yarn (such as acrylic that I can buy at walmart), or badly worn out.

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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2005 08:06:27 AM »

fluffymonkey--yes, I am very lucky with my thrift--in fact when I think about moving, I can't bear to not be able to visit it every few days!

It's a church run thrift--small, and I live in a very rich area--so people just have so much stuff that they haul huge piles of new or perfectly good crap to the thrift shop.  And there are also lots of old ladies in town so when they move on there's great old stuff, too.

My advice is to hunt up thrifts in rich neighborhoods or tag or rummage sales for the high quality stuff.  If you are in a city look for the charity shops--they are more expensive than sally army, but worth it, usually.  If you are in the middle of nowhere--that's tough--make a road trip a few times a year with a friend to where the good stuff is.

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