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 Recycling yarn
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Warming Up

96 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2006 :  12:18:12 PM  Show Profile Send kittysmom a Private Message
I have a question about choosing sweaters for recycling. How do you pick the ones you want to recycle? How good (or bad) a condition should they be in? It is hard for me to frog a prefectly good if ugly or out of style sweater, but you wouldn't want to buy one in really bad condition either, would you? I have in my closet now a Goodwill sweater - wool, mohair, nylon blend that I know I will never wear, I've read how to take them apart, now I just have to do it.


Seriously Hooked

878 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2006 :  4:49:50 PM  Show Profile Send metromaples a Private Message
I don't have a do about choosing sweaters for recycling but I have a don't.

Don't choose a sweater to recycle that has fairisle type colorwork. There are knots and short pieces of yarn in the one I (bought and) frogged.
The yarn doesn't even felt very well...

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Permanent Resident

3291 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2006 :  4:53:24 PM  Show Profile Send ozknitter a Private Message

I agree with Jeri 100%. I usually look for ones with the softest yarn that is not too fine, I would never try and unpick a shop bought jumper, its pretty much impossible, unless it is made out of thickish wool.

Knit in peace and harmony.

Rose in Melbourne, Australia.
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Warming Up

85 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2006 :  10:21:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit latebloomer's Homepage Send latebloomer a Private Message
It's kind of random for me. I look for yarn weight, color, composition (don't do acyrlics) and condition. If it's heavily pilled, then I skip it. A single hole isn't the end of the world, if the rest of it will work. Of course, check the seams to make sure the pieces weren't cut, then sewn.

I prefer bigger yarns. If they're 100% wool, I don't worry too much about the color, because I can dye it (I dyed some super bulky gray with black cherry Kool-aid and got a nice burgandy). My best find so far was a silk/cashmere blend in at least a worsted weight.

I also buy sweaters to felt, and the requirements are a little different. Color, including pattern, and content.

Knitting & sewing in Michigan
my blog
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Permanent Resident

1872 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2006 :  10:41:13 AM  Show Profile Send pieheart a Private Message
I remember reading online somewhere a while ago (sorry so vague, can't remember details) that you need to be careful of the way the edges are finished. Some sweaters have fabric that is cut and sewed, which means each row is a separate piece of yarn when you take it apart. Others are knit in pieces, which means you can just frog. I think if you do a search for "recycling sweaters" or some form of that you will get the site.


Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday----Dale Carnegie
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Seriously Hooked

635 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2006 :  2:18:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cayli1's Homepage Send Cayli1 a Private Message
The easiest way to tell if it is cut and sewn or not is if the seems are serged then it was cut and sewn. Then I usually look for lighter colors to overdye or colors you like, no pilling and nice yarns in resonable weights. Some are so thin I would not even bother even if it is cashmere.

Cayli in San Diego

My Blog and Handspun Yarn for Sale

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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Chatty Knitter

103 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2006 :  2:43:28 PM  Show Profile Send NursePurl a Private Message
I have always loved going to thrift stores, but I I think I have become addicted to unraveling sweaters
By unraveling a sweater from a thrift store or from your closet never to be worn again, you are giving it a second "life" by making it in to someithing that you will wear and enjoy...your not destroying it, you are remodeling it!
I have found that most times designer label sweaters have better yarn (some of my best finds have been from Old Navy and Parisian). I look at the seams, the quality & type of the yarn( no to very soiled or yarn with pills) and just the overall appeal to me. I have not had the best of luck unraveling the smaller gauge sweaters, though that may just be me they seem just harder to deal with.
here is the tutorial that has been a huge help to me


"We cannot all do great things but we can do small things with great love" Mother Teresa
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Seriously Hooked

788 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2006 :  5:45:55 PM  Show Profile Send westcoastchica a Private Message
I'm definitely picky when it comes to recycling sweaters; if it doesn't look almost new (maybe minus a small stain or hole I can work around) I won't get it.

Do not pass over store bought sweaters if they look to be in a reasonable (DK or thicker) gauge. Check the side and sleeve seams to make sure the thing was knitted in pieces and then go for it (ignore the shoulder seams... many are serged but you only lose a few yards by cutting that part out).I've often found store-bought sweaters to be the best steals (plus there's usually the fiber composition label still in the garment... very handy). The best I have found have come from Eddie Bauer, the Gap, and Old Navy.

Oh, and definitely raid the men's section for large, light-coloured (for dyeing) wool or wool/blend sweaters... my best buy so far was a men's size L 100% wool sweater (chunky weight) in light grey for $3.99 CDN.

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Warming Up

96 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2006 :  07:10:31 AM  Show Profile Send kittysmom a Private Message
Thanks all. I don't know why I hadn't thought to look through the men's racks. Those would have more yarn and I would be less likely to wear them. I bought 2 the other week to try unravelling, tried them on to see if the yarn was itchy, so I'd have an idea what to make of them and decided I liked one well enough to leave whole for now. That I have found is one of the great advantages of buying a sweater to unravel. I can put the thing on for a while and know if I will be able to wear the yarn against my skin or if needs to become an over-sweater sort of thing.

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