Finding Yarn

13 10 2010

I love recycling sweaters for yarn. It makes me ten different kinds of happy.

First, I get to hunt through all the local (and not-so-local) thrift stores in search of pretty potential yarn. I love hunting for bargains. Hunting for potential yarn is a bigger challenge. I favor natural fibers over acrylics, and animal fibers over plant fibers. I can buy acrylic at Wal-Mart. Natural fibers like cashmere and lambs wool are more elusive where I live, as I have yet to find a yarn store closer than an hour away.

Secondly, you can’t just recycle any old sweater you find. It’s hard for me to explain what to look for, so allow me to link you to a tutorial I’ve found helpful. So you see, hunting for the just-right seam can be tricky, especially on darker colored sweaters. Another problem is coming across sweaters with button holes or zippers. I’m told these kinds are far more trouble than their worth, so I’ve had to pass up some beautiful potential yarn because of this. This adds to the challenge and thrill of the hunt, and therefore tickles me to no end when my recreational hunt can be extended.

And  finally, my favorite reason for recycling yarn is the price. I’ve gotten over a thousand of yards of yarn for a mere $2.50, sometimes even less than that. I’m a very thrifty person (read: cheapskate) and could never justify buying hundreds of dollars in yarn. I spent nearly $40 on a project once and nearly died handing over the money for the yarn. A project I never finished, mind you. By recycling yarn, I’m spending less money on beautiful yarn, plus it’s not a big deal if my $3 yarn project sits in a box for another six months.

I’ve only recycled one sweater completely. I’ve recycled half of a humongous afghan and half of another sweater that was too complex for me at the time. However, a couple of weekends ago, I tackled my second sweater and first turtleneck sweater.


This sweater is 40% merino wool, 30% viscose, 20% angora rabbit, and 10% cashmere. As  you can imagine, it’s as soft as silk. It also unraveled very easily with minimal difficulties, despite the intimidating cables and turtleneck. After two days, I ended with six cakes worth of yarn.


Now, as for how many yards this adds up to… your guess is as good as mine. In previous yarn recycling experiences, I measured before I balled the yarn, a decision I regretted over and over again due to the tangles. This time, I balled the yarn as I recycled it to prevent the yarn from tangling. Eventually, I’ll get around to measuring it, but my estimation is around 700 yards, give or take. I could be very wrong, however.

My next recycling project popped up quite unexpectedly a week or so ago. Despite my yarn diet, I had to buy this sweater the moment I laid eyes on it. It’s quite possibly the most beautiful color I have ever seen. Photos do not do it justice.


The sweater is a beautiful midnight blue with hints of pale blue in it. It’s 50/50 acrylic and mohair, and while I do tend to avoid buying acrylic sweaters, I had to make an exception for this one. It’s very, very warm and very soft. I haven’t decided yet if I want to recycle it or wear it. 😉

But yes, that is my hobby as of late.