Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Upcycling/Recycling Yarn- My story

I find that today more than ever people are conscience of what they are throwing out. As a knitter, I thought about how I can contribute to recycling. Since college I have been an avid thrift store shopper and while picking through the craft items a light bulb went on in my head. I am sure we have all had those Ah-Ha moments in our lives mine came to me in my local thrift store. Sweaters!!! I wonder if I could take those apart and re-use the yarn? So, I ran to the clothing section and there before me was an array of beautiful yarn! Sweaters that were no longer wanted because of fashion or size tossed into the local thrift store for resale. Some see garbage from fashions gone by I saw yarn!! Lots of it in every color under the rainbow - cotton, wool, cashmere, alpaca my eyes were getting wide with excitement. So, I chose just a couple to see how hard and labor intensive this new idea of mine would be.

I already had what I now call the essentials tools for upcycling yarn.

  1. 1.A seam ripper

  2. 2.2. yarn winder

  3. 3. 3. scissors

  4. 4. 4. determination

  5. 5. 5. love of yarn

I could barely wait to get home to experiment! I paid for my items and drove home. As soon as I walked in the door I ran to my sewing supplies grabbed my seam ripper, a pair of scissors and my trusty yarn ball winder. Plopped myself down on the couch, turned on my trusty craft light, grabbed my sweater and away I went ripping seems without a clue about what I was doing. I made a COMPLETE MESS. There was thread everywhere!! But I didn't care I managed to take the sweater apart. Now I had to figure out how to get to the yarn. After experimenting a bit I found that just cutting across the top seam to release the yarn was the easiest. So, I pulled and pulled and pulled and pulled until I had a nice little pile on the floor. I threaded the yarn end into my yarn ball winder by Strauch and began to wind. It was working! So I pulled some more and then I wound until the yarn was wound into a beautiful center pull ball of love! My arm nearly feel off from exhaustion but it worked!! I finished unraveling the sweater and winding it then realized I had over a pound of yarn! The next step was to wash it! (should have thought of this BEFORE I took the sweater apart!!) So I got out my niddy noddy wound the yarn around it made a nice skein and dunked it in sink. I let mine air dry without tension and it works great! Wound it back in a ball, this time with a counter that told me how much yarn I had from just one sweater. I was astonished. Thus began my love affair with what we now call upcycling yarn. I do it as often as possible with great results. I feel better about 'saving' unwanted items that would eventually end up in the garbage.

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