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A skein of 2nd Time Cotton
2nd Time Cotton once knitted up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: 2nd Time Cotton

First Impressions
The apparel and textile industry produces mountains of extra scraps and tidbits every year. Instead of letting them go to waste, Knit One Crochet Too has begun repurposing these leftovers into a new yarn called, quite appropriately, 2nd Time Cotton.

This eight-ply cotton/acrylic blend is available in seven heathered colors, all of which you'd expect to see in a much-beloved jean jacket. Although blues prevail, you also can choose from a deep purple, two shades of tan, and the Tahiti red you see here.

Knitting Up
Knitting was extremely fast and effortless. Before my tea could cool, I had a healthy swatch in my hands.

I feared snags from the eight strands, which seemed to come unplied at the end of each row, but I encountered only one snag. Stitches appeared consistent and the finished fabric cohesive, thanks to the yarn's smooth evenness.

Even while knitting, however, I had to stop periodically to remove loose pills from the fabric—a byproduct, I suspect, of the yarn's recycled heritage. Finished materials that have been re-blended together normally don't hold together as cohesively as something that has been spun straight from raw fibers.

But if you know about this ahead of time, you can maximize the effects by using the yarn for a garment you want to look comfortable and weathered.

The yarn depicts stitchwork beautifully, especially seed stitch and cables. Because of cotton's innate inelastic quality, you'll only want to use ribbing for visual effect and plan for it to stretch out as soon as you don your garment.

Blocking / Washing
The label recommends a cold wash, and for good reason: My red swatches began to bleed as soon as the water temperature rose above cold. They emerged from their bath fully soaked yet firm in shape and feel.

After blotting them dry, I reshaped my swatches on a towel and waited for them to dry. And waited. And waited. (Hint: Don't wash a handknit cotton garment unless you have a few days to spare.)

There was no change in gauge, and even those swatches that had been washed in warm water showed no sign of color fading.

Wearing
I was worried about this stage of the testing because of the few pills that emerged while I was knitting up my swatches. And indeed, the swatches did lose some of their crisp surface detail after a moderate amount of abuse.

Pills and loose fibers manifested themselves in tiny small waves across the fabric. I should note, however, that the yarn's heathered coloring helped conceal signs of wear except from up close, and that the overall integrity of the knitted swatches was never in question.

The swatches softened and relaxed like old jeans, but thanks to the presence of acrylic, they never lost their fundamental shape and form. Some cottons can look like sad limp rags after extensive wear, but this one didn't.

Conclusion
Recycled objects are often perceived as being of lesser quality than their pure new counterparts. Such is not the case with 2nd Time Cotton, despite its aged-denim look and feel.

This yarn is composed of brand new marketable materials that were not usable in their existing form. Knit One Crochet Too has simply repurposed these materials into yarn, where they can finally achieve their dream of clothing a deserving wearer.

The price is reasonable: Each 180-yard skein costs $6.50, which means a medium-sized woman's long-sleeved sweater with some textured stitching will require only six skeins. That's less than $40 for a new garment that makes an earth-friendly fashion statement.

 
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