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 Recycling Previously Loved Skeins
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - 11/24/2009 :  07:00:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great article, Clara! I just unwound a commercial sweater that was made of lovely yarn but was oddly styled, and this article reminded me that I think the hanks would benefit from a second, longer soaking with conditioner. I may even add a touch more twist to the yarn if I get the notion.

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Clara
queen bee

USA
4398 Posts

Posted - 11/24/2009 :  1:42:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So glad this was helpful! An answer to Ceil's question about whether or not to soak and re-skein the skeins she hasn't knit. The answer is no, there's no need to do that, unless you expect some significant transformation to take place in the wash that would make your skeins dramatically different. Even then, we can assume that this same transformation would happen again to the unwashed yarn when you wash the garment, bringing everything back to neutral.

The reason you're washing the skein is to release the kinks that happened when the yarn was knitted. If it hasn't been knitted, there's no need to wash.

As for the question about fuzzy yarns like mohair, if you're really gentle with the wash you should be fine. The ripping out is trickier because you can actually snag fibers between different stitches. If it's just a hank of yarn, you won't have such complicated snags to deal with.

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
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docious1@juno.com
New Pal

2 Posts

Posted - 11/24/2009 :  5:00:34 PM  Show Profile Send docious1@juno.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is an excellent article for me because I primarily buy used yarn from yard sales goodwill and friends who are trying to reduce their stash. I have a bad habit of knitting straight from the ball without unwinding it to clear out the kinks. I mostly make scarves, wraps and shrugs, so sometimes the kinks are just amusing, not problematic. :)
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Jessica-Jean
New Pal

Canada
27 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2010 :  11:40:27 PM  Show Profile Send Jessica-Jean a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Since most of my knitting is flat, not fitted, items, I skip all the steps but one. I just rewind the too tightly wound balls sold in church bazaars and knit them up. I learned to do this after being dismayed to find one gorgeous ball was in fact all the small pieces that had once been a sweater. I've since figured out that the ladies in the church spend their time ripping out torn or damaged sweaters and rewinding all the pieces into a single big ball. It was very deceptive to buy a big ball of what looks and feels like mostly mohair and find it was many, many small balls. It will still become a light and airy shawl - without being relaxed or de-kinked.

As for ripping out mohair ... I think the technique should be reduced to picking it out one or two stitches at a time - very patiently and very slowly. Soft background music may help. If it's a big job, take frequent breaks. A good yarn is worth the time.
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DonnaParker
New Pal

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2010 :  05:59:30 AM  Show Profile Send DonnaParker a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have frogged a project where I double stranded the yarn. When I ripped out the project, the two strands were wound into a ball. I have attempted to un-do those two strands, so I can now have the original 800 yards of the yarn. We have tried twice...but the yarn keeps winding upon itself as we attempt to calmly wind two balls at the same time from one ball. I hope I am explaining this correctly. Any suggestions?
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Consuelo
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
582 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2010 :  11:22:10 AM  Show Profile Send Consuelo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just finished a sweater made from a frogged poncho. I never wore the darn poncho and it was nice yarn. Now I have a brand new sweater. I'm happy.

Consuelo
"Travel is fatal to prejudice" Mark Twain
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marfa
Permanent Resident

USA
1953 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  03:39:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit marfa's Homepage Send marfa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How do.

Clara, thank you for reminding me of all the excellent techniques, tips & inspiration you gave us in this article. I spent time this week working on frogging a small project & your article has given me the motivation to complete it.

Martha
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stitchellen
Warming Up

54 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  07:14:17 AM  Show Profile Send stitchellen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have used this process to reclaim the yarn from second-hand store cashmere sweaters. It takes a great deal of time and patience, but if you haunt shops in upscale neighborhoods you can find excellent quality cashmere sweaters knit of yarn that is more substantial than the extremely thin yarn I see in stores today. They often are donated with single or very few moth holes and sell for next to nothing. Make sure they are full-fashioned, not made from knitted fabric that is cut and sewn together. Unstitching the seams and then frogging and balling the yarn takes many hours, but you have cashmere yarn at a small fraction of the cost of ready-to-knit cashmere. I generally use double strands of yarn and size 2 or 3 needles. A large or extra-large men's pullover sweater will yield enough yarn for a woman's vest.
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Spiky
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  09:11:27 AM  Show Profile Send Spiky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Reminds me of growing up in the UK in the 50s & 60s where I learned to recycle yarn from my mother and grandmothers. During WWII and for several years afterwards (food was still rationed into the early 1950's) everything was scarce, so all knitted objects were recycled. These days I use my forearm to make a standard, but small, skein - using the notch between my thumb and forefinger as one end, and my elbow as the other. I was taught to hang the damp skeins from a washing line with a light weight on each (a spring clothes pin), to help even out the kinks. Of course we were all using wool back then, so it would spring right back - I suspect that using any kind of weight would cause problems with other yarns.
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geniaknitz
New Pal

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  09:30:54 AM  Show Profile Send geniaknitz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That is gorgeous yarn. Any idea what it is?
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hkpdx
New Pal

USA
17 Posts

Posted - 09/30/2013 :  04:18:09 AM  Show Profile Send hkpdx a Private Message  Reply with Quote
After frogging and making hanks, my Mom taught us to steam the hanks in a steamer made of a colander sitting in the top of a big pot. When they were hot and damp we would hang them up to dry. We didn't use any weights. We could then have a new sweater.
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terryknits2
New Pal

37 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2013 :  05:27:41 AM  Show Profile Send terryknits2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I once made a complete sweater using five different yarns held together. After finishing it I decided I didn't like it and started unraveling the whole thing. I would pull out a few yards and wind up fiver separate balls then pull out a few more yards. I would only work on it an hour or so at a time and would put it away for long stretches, but eventually finished the job and all the yarns have been successfully reused. I did find that the different yarns had stretched differently just from the process of knitting and unwinding. I didn't steam or wash the rewound balls before using them again but all was well..
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