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Topic: reclaimed yarn question  (Read 868 times)
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« on: November 05, 2005 04:17:40 PM »

I just bought a few sweaters from the thrift store to take apart and reuse the yarn. The first one I took apart went well, since it was handmade.

I didn't think about it at the time since I am new to this, but the other ones I bought are all made so that the front, back and arms are not only separate pieces, but have seams in them. The arms are not done as "tubes" that I can take apart, either.

Well, I can take them apart, but not in a way that I get reasonably sized pieces of yarn. So I'm going to end up with a lot of sleeves that could be crocheted onto other things (I think...I haven't tried that, either).

So, I guess I have several questions. Has anyone else done this, and how did you handle it? DId you only take apart things with no seams, or is there a way to take those panels apart and still get decent sized pieces of yarn? By "decent" I mean a few yards or so. I have no problem tying them together, but not 2 foot long sections.

Also, what to do with all of these sweater parts?

And, in regards to the smaller pieces of yarn: I want to get into spinning, too. Can I use this stuff for that? I'm really clueless as to what that entails.
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2005 04:24:08 PM »

Make sure you get sweaters with "good" seams. There's an awesome page that has step-by-step instructions about this, but I don't have the URL off the top of my head. Do a search on here for "unraveling" and you'll probably find it.

My website is coming together nicely! Please send me feedback, as I don't know how well it works on systems other than mine.

Also, I have a blog at  http://neglectedblog.blogspot.com/
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2005 04:51:05 PM »

Thank you! I had done some other fruitless searches, but unraveling was the magic word!
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2005 05:07:20 PM »

I just finished my first project with reclaimed yarn, it wasn't the easiest thing to unravel the sweater but now that I have my shawl finished it is so worth it.
I used the tutorial on this page as a guide. It's fantastic! http://www.neauveau.com/recycledyarn.html
Here's another one that helped, although I didn't get nearly as much yarn from one sweater as she did. http://www.az.com/~andrade/knit/thrifty.html
The sweater I bought was commercially made and I checked the seams before I bought it. The strand used to stitch it together was the exact same color but slightly thinner. I didn't worry too much about keeping that intact when I was unraveling. Each piece of the sweater yielded one long strand of yarn. I balled them up piece by piece so that I had 5 balls(1 front, 1 back, 2 sleeves, 1 collar).
I made a single crochet triangle shawl out of my yarn and it's fairly large. I haven't measured it, but I'm plus sized and it covers me well.( I'll post a picture of it in the finished section when we finish the roll of film the pic is on.)
I hope some of this helps.

History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men. - Blue Oyster Cult
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2005 01:45:49 PM »

I'm crocheting a bag right now with recycled yarn that's full of knots.  I took apart a cotton sweater that was machine made.  Basically, every row was a separate piece of yarn.  I just knotted them - using most of the front, the back, and the sleeves.

I spent way too much time on this, but I just left it by my desk and worked at it when I was waiting for pages to load or on a phone call that didn't need 100% of my attention.  I even did some in the car - only when I was a passenger of course. 

I'm pulling the knots to the back.  I'll line the bag and no one will be the wiser.  This wouldn't work on a very smooth, even pattern.  But this is a complicated looking pattern and there's another yarn involved. 

So, my take on it is that it may be worth doing if you really like the yarn or really like the challenge.  You may want to pull out a little yarn, tie it together and try a few rows to see how it will work with your pattern.


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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2005 03:17:31 PM »

I'm only a novice spinner, but the only way I can think of to use short lengths of yarn in spinning would be to snip them very short, and card them into unspun fiber to make tweedy yarn. You may also want to slightly felt the yarn first if you do this.

However, I think what might be more useful would be to use all those short pieces in modular or mitred square knitting. You might do web searches for Horst Shultz, Vivian Hoxbro (she calls it domino knitting), or Patricia Werner. I own Werner's book, Dazzling Knits, and the patterns are amazing!

Also, the last issue of Family Circle Easy Crochet has some sweaters that combined knitting and crochet. Perhaps you could use that as inspiration for what to do with your orphan sleeves?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2005 04:19:45 PM »

I did a couple of projects with some yarn I tied together, and they look cool (I think) and novelty-yarn-ish. I'm really enjoying this.

One of my sweaters I thought had "good" seams, and that was the last one I had to take apart. I still had issues with it, though. But, I know what to look for from now on!

The last one that I bought to take apart is such a cute sweater I think I am just going to put it on ebay or something as is. I'd wear it if it fit me! It's an Esprit, very 80's, and made from a thin mohair blend. I think it would be too much of a challenge to take apart.

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