Tag Archives: recycling

The Long Goodbyes

18 Jan

I’m taking part in a swap table at my campus. You can bring stuff and exchange it for something else, or just dump things you think someone might want. It’s the perfect opportunity for me. I have come to find that I have some trouble letting go of yarn… But I’m all out of excuses now that all I have to do is remember to take the bag of yarn with me when I go to class tomorrow.

And even so, I had to fight myself hard not to put these back in the most neglected corner of my stash (in the bins under the bed). I actually did put back 4 huge balls of bulky and super bulky acrylic yarn, thinking I might knit a small blanket with them. Maybe. Some day.

If I can think of anything I might make with a yarn, something I could actually use, I can’t get rid of it. Unless it’s a yarn that I really hate working with. And even then, it has to be something that has no emotional value. For instance: I bought three balls of different mohairs when I went to Germany a couple of years ago. I’ve since learned that those yarns shed horribly and that I don’t like anything about mohair… But I brought them from Germany!

After a lot of wringing of hands and shuffling yarn from one pile into another and back again, here are the ones I can bring myself to get rid of. Keep in mind that I currently have about 30 367,4 meters or 33 210,6 yards of yarn…

Ah, the bane of my fibery existence: 5 balls of this yellow-orange cotton stuff. The yarn that embodies everything I don’t like. It’s yellow and it’s orange. It’s cotton and non-machine washable. I thought I’d make dishrags out of it but the non-machine washable bit pretty much destroyed that idea.

In principle, a nice yarn. In practice: it’s both turquoise and purple. At first I figured no one would want the ball I’ve used and winded again badly, because it looks like that… but on the other hand, if I get rid of those other two balls, I’ll be left with something even more useless: just a little bit of yarn I don’t want to use. So away it is with the lot of them.

The brown yarn is the last partial ball of the Red Heart acrylic I used for my Thermal. That’s actually a pretty nice yarn to use, but I just finished knitting a whole sweater out of it. Yeah, I can’t stand to even look at it right now.

I’ve learned never to wind yarn like I have done with that beige mohair because if I do, I will never ever want to use that yarn again. It just looks so unappealing. I can’t think what anyone would want to do with that yarn, but maybe it’ll make nice stuffing for a toy, or something.

And finally, the pièce de résistance:

two partial balls of some bouclé yarn – one of the first yarns I ever bought. They’re pink and purple (when have I ever liked any pink or that shade of purple?) and I suppose they must be acrylic. They’re so horrible I didn’t want to put them in the bag because I can’t see anyone else wanting them, either. But the other option is they’ll languish in the bins forever, and one day, after the third world war, only the cockroaches and that yarn will remain.

So goodbye it is. I’m (almost completely) certain I won’t miss them.


Reclaimed Yarn

17 Oct

I’ve been wanting to knit another sweater for a while now (never mind that I’m already knitting a sweater. I want to knit some other sweater!) However, in case you didn’t know, yarn costs a lot of money, and sweaters take up a lot of yarn. So no sweaters for me, no sirree. I was only able to buy the yarn for the sweater I’m making now because I happened to see some Red Heart acrylic yarn in a grocery store about a year ago. Red Heart is cheap to begin with, but this yarn was also on sale.

Well anyway. I’ve been reading about people reclaiming yarn from thrift store sweaters, and decided I wouldn’t lose much if I gave it a go.

Here’s the shirt I bought. Cost me 3 euros. It’s 40 % cotton, 30 % viscose, 20 % nylon and 10 % angora… Weird, I know! It would’ve fitted me otherwise as it was, but the neck hole was too small.

Before I went to the thrift store, I looked up what type of seams work for unraveling sweaters, and so I was able to spot that this sweater had the perfect type of seams. Yay!

Here it is, blown up. Seeing the pieces laid out like this finally drove home for me the fact that sleeves really take up *a lot* of yarn, and are nearly as a big a part of a project than the front and back pieces.

Here’s some of the yarn rolled up into balls… I ended up with quite a lot of short pieces because I was impatient with cutting the seams… oops.

Next step! Turn those balls into hanks,  and wash them, and dry them, to straighten out the kinks.

All dry now. And all that’s left is balling the yarn again…

Into something like this.

All of the yarn is dry now, so all that’s left is balling it up… After that I’ll know how much usable yarn I gained from the whole process.

The whole thing takes up a lot of time. A LOT. You wouldn’t believe how much time. But if you have more time than money, this is definitely something to think about. And then again, holy timesuck Batman… I would definitely recommend only buying sweaters made of nice materials for this purpose. Seriously.


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