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Old 08-05-2013, 08:41 AM   #1
Shandeh
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Unravelling - Recycling Yarn
I love to find sweaters at thrift stores, made from gorgeous yarn. Because I can unravel them and make what I want!

Recently, I came across a red sweater, with bad seams that were coming apart. It was handknit, and the seams were not serged, so I knew I would be able to unravel it.

Brought it home, and got started, then used my yarn winder to make quick work of it. Now, I have lots and lots of nice boucle yarn.

Unravelling Red Sweater by Shandeh, on Flickr
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:32 AM   #2
KnittinGal
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A friend of mine does the same thing. I've never tried it, but I'm going to have to start looking. My mom, my sister, and I are always shopping at thrift stores, and it would be a great way to get cheaper yarn!
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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Great colors! I'm gonna start hitting the thrift stores. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:36 AM   #4
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Mmmm, lovely basket of yarn and in my favorite color. I couldn't have passed it up either. It'll be happy in its new life, whatever you choose to make with it.
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:51 AM   #5
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Nice yarn! It's a great idea to get cheap yarn on the thrift stores.
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:34 AM   #6
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Recycled yarn still on the brain...I got a sweater-vest at the thrift store the other day.

Shendeh, you mentioned that the sweater you bought was hand-knit. Can you only use handmade garments for recycling yarn? I took apart one that was commercial-made, but it was sooo hard to unravel because it was seamed with sewing thread along the edges. And now it's in about a dozen little skeins! Did I do something wrong? It's pretty fine, almost like sock yarn...actually, not even really like yarn. It's almost like embroidery floss, made up of little threads.

Also, I was wanting to use it for a lacey scarf, but since it's kink-y from being previously knit, will it make my scarf look rumply or something?
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:02 AM   #7
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Hi KG!
If the seams are sewn with sewing thread, they are not a good choice for unravelling. Those seams have been serged, and the fabric is trimmed along the side as it is stitched. So, if you pull it apart, you will just get lots of yarn strands which are not very long. Now you have experience on your side, and know how to avoid those.

All yarn is curly when you unravel it. I usually wind it on a swift, or around a chairback, gently add some securing ties all around the hank, then get it wet, and gently squeeze it dry in a rolled up towel, then hang it to dry, with some weight pulling it straight. (Not too heavy, to avoid stretching) This pulls out the kinks, and it looks like new yarn.
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:33 AM   #8
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Thank you! That is a big help! Next time I go shopping, I will have to take a better look at the seams to make sure they aren't serged.

And I will definitely try wetting down the yarn!
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by KnittinGal View Post
Recycled yarn still on the brain...I got a sweater-vest at the thrift store the other day.

Shendeh, you mentioned that the sweater you bought was hand-knit. Can you only use handmade garments for recycling yarn? I took apart one that was commercial-made, but it was sooo hard to unravel because it was seamed with sewing thread along the edges. And now it's in about a dozen little skeins! Did I do something wrong? It's pretty fine, almost like sock yarn...actually, not even really like yarn. It's almost like embroidery floss, made up of little threads.

Also, I was wanting to use it for a lacey scarf, but since it's kink-y from being previously knit, will it make my scarf look rumply or something?
Originally Posted by Shandeh View Post
Hi KG!
If the seams are sewn with sewing thread, they are not a good choice for unravelling. Those seams have been serged, and the fabric is trimmed along the side as it is stitched. So, if you pull it apart, you will just get lots of yarn strands which are not very long. Now you have experience on your side, and know how to avoid those.

All yarn is curly when you unravel it. I usually wind it on a swift, or around a chairback, gently add some securing ties all around the hank, then get it wet, and gently squeeze it dry in a rolled up towel, then hang it to dry, with some weight pulling it straight. (Not too heavy, to avoid stretching) This pulls out the kinks, and it looks like new yarn.
According to Techknitter it's sometimes possible to iron out the kinks, but I would only use this method on yarn I know is clean. If in doubt I would use the wetting method and give the yarn a wash at the same time.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:02 AM   #10
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Speaking of recycling yarn.............

Yesterday I recycled some yarn from an old afghan I crocheted over 20 years ago. It was made with acrylic yarn and I'm wondering if I need to go thru this whole process with this yarn. I've rolled it all up on separate balls, which have turned out as big as basketballs, but the yarn still has kinks in it.

I'm planning on using it to knit some prayer shawls. Should I go ahead and knit with it the way it is or try to straighten it out????

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