Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Recycled Yarn

Give unwanted sweaters from the thrift store a new life! 

Recycle Yarn From Thrift Store Sweaters By Over The Apple Tree

It takes a little work, but thrifted sweaters are a great place to source yarn. You can find unique and what might normally be expensive fibers, for a crazy low price. Bonus, you save a sweater from living the rest of its life in a landfill! There are plenty of posts out there showing how to take apart your sweater, how to chose the best and how to wash your yarn. Please defer to the experts, I'm an amateur with this! Here's a good post from How To Spin Yarn. Need more help? YouTube tutorials are great for visual learners!

Recycle Yarn From Thrift Store Sweaters By Over The Apple Tree

When picking sweaters, think about this...

  1. Unless it's a to die for color you can't resist, skip the acrylic and go for the high end materials like wool, cashmere, cotton, or silk. There's nothing wrong with acrylic, I use it all the time. Acrylic yarn is very inexpensive and you may not feel like the time spent unraveling and rewinding sweaters is worth it. If I'm going to burn a couple hours I want a yarn that I can't afford or I can't find anywhere else.
  2. Besides checking the tag for fiber content, you need to take a look at the seams. Seams that have been machine serged are a no no(except if it's just shoulder seams). You want seams that have been crocheted, it looks like a braid on one side. Here's another great informational post from My Virtual Sanity
  3. This takes time, accept it. If you think you are going to hurry through this project, you'll get frustrated and give up. Get comfy and be patient, this can really be worth it!
  4. Don't forget you need to wash your yarn.  You don't know where these sweaters have been after all.
Recycle Yarn From Thrift Store Sweaters By Over The Apple Tree

This is my first time harvesting yarn from sweaters. It was 50% off Saturday at Goodwill so I scooted right over there and started my search. These sweaters cost $2.50 each. Side note, The following day I got an email alerting me it was $.99 sweater day, figures! I found two sweaters I liked. The first is a J.Crew hand knit wool sweater and the second a soft wool blend from Talbots.

If you need a detailed tutorial, please visit the links I provided. I started up the sides and took the arms off first. When it came time to do the main body, I was not screwing with this v-neck so I just cut straight across underneath. It took a minute, but I eventually found the end and started pulling from there. These balls pictured are all the yarn I got. No clue on yardage and it's hard to tell from this picture how much this is. I just barely managed to stuff all these into a gallon ziploc bag if that helps.

Recycle Yarn From Thrift Store Sweaters By Over The Apple Tree

Now I need to figure out what to do with this! I've used this texture of yarn before and it's kind of a nightmare. It looks and feels great but when crocheting with it, you can hardly see your stitches. If you've been crocheting a long time, you can kinda do it by feeling. I debated between leg warmers or mittens. I decided on these cool fingerless gloves because they use a simple single crochet throughout. I started working with this pattern but it wasn't really working out with my yarn. I ended up having to write a new pattern based on the original style.

These gloves are awesome and amazingly soft and stretchy. You can find them in my Etsy shop!

Recycle Yarn From Thrift Store Sweaters By Over The Apple Tree

Recycle Yarn From Thrift Store Sweaters By Over The Apple Tree

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14 comments:

  1. I love this, I've undone handmade knitwear before but I've not bought something specifically to take it apart.
    I would probably knit with a textured yarn like that, I'm like you, I find textured stuff hard to crochet with. At least on a knitting needle you can see all your stitches. That said, your fingerless gloves have turned out beautifully.

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    1. Yes, I have heard that knitting with this yarn is easier. Thanks for stopping by Julia!

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    2. Hi, just to let you know your clever and thrifty idea is featured at this weeks #handmademonday :-)

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    3. That's fantastic Julia, thank you so much!

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  2. What a great way to upcycle sweaters! I have found good knitted scarves and wool sweaters on the cheap at thrift stores, but never knew you can unravel them (I don't knit) for the yarn. Very cool! Thanks for linking up with us at the #HomeMattersParty - we hope you will link up again this coming Friday.

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  3. Funny that you mention the .99cent sale... I was just over at our local SALLY-ANN on Saturday and they were having one on sweaters too! But pickings weren't that great and I didn't see anything worth getting.
    BTW, one thing to watchout for... PET-OWNERS... No matter how much you wash it, cat & dog hair is a pain to get out of the yarn! #NotQuiteAngora
    As for yarn washing, it's another "step" and time consuming, but I do it with ALL of my thrifty yarn buys. If it's in ball, unwind it into SKEINS. Just wrap around thumb and elbow... Then do a few ties to secure the strands, then stick them into laundry sacks. Wash/soak accordingly. Squeeze out the water and hang to dry... As I said, MORE work, but a least the yarn will be CLEAN to work with and pre-shrunk!
    oh. And if you're doing anything with Cashmere, just soak it! Or else you'll be finding "roving" EVERYWHERE!! #LearntTheHardWay!
    ;-D

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    1. Yeah the washing part I was a little stuck on. I did wash the sweater when I got it then washed my project after I was done. I saw people that skein ed the yarn like you describe but I'm wondering how you prevent it from getting all tangled.

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    2. Get some cotton yarn or cotton string and tie about 4 [or more depending on the yarn] loops to hold the skein strands together firmly-ish. [Think a bunch of elastics on a ponytail] Get some small laundry pouches from a Dollar Store and put 1 or 2 skeins in a bag. If you just soak/hand wash the yarn instead of in a machine, it'll tangle less. The trick is to keep it all from felting if you're doing wool [I've heard that a bit of vinegar helps..?]. Also, keep your skeins small in diameter. Not more than an inch thick.
      It's tedious. And at the end of the day, you'll probably be spending more money on water & power than it would cost to just BUY a skein. Personally, I'd just FELT the sweaters and get creative with that.
      ;-D

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  4. I have undone knitted garments I have made myself before but never thought to buy to recycle. Have to have a trip round the charity shops

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  5. Such a great idea! Sometimes yarn is so expensive, and this is a great way to get it for cheap! :) Lisa

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  6. That's such a great idea Laura and you do find such lovely sweaters for a steal at the thrift shops. I'm loving your fingerless gloves too. They look so snuggly and warm

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    1. Thanks Michelle. They are nice, good thing I still have lots of yarn left, I might have to make another pair!

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  7. Wow, I never knew you could do that with sweaters. I wish I had every sweater I donated back now. I'd love for you to join our link up To Grandmas House We Go.
    http://abbottsathome.com/2017/03/14/to-grandmas-house-we-go-link-party-27/

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