Friday, February 10, 2006

recycle, re-wind, re-knit

*POOF* i'm back. well, i've been back for awhile... just not here. so, onto the good stuff....

one of my favorite things to do as a knitter is recylce old garments that have been discarded by the ages. while recyclable sweaters can be found in most clothing stores, the real treasures are those that lurk deep down in the sweater rack at your local salvation army or thrift shop. i usually go straight for the XXL's, because obviously, they store a ri-DICulous amount of yarn in their folds. but really, regardless of size, this is the best way to find unique and mysterious yarns for the lowest prices possible. granted, there is usually digging involved and lots of acrylic bullroar that one must endure, but i swear, almost every time i put my head down and perservere through the sweater isle, i end up finding something truly great. and even if i dont snag the find-of-the-year, its hard to argue with 1000+ yards for 3-4 dollars, regardless of the fiber content.

a few pro's of recycling:
  • CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP (the most obvious reason)
  • seeing the pre-knit fabric keys you into all the things you usually have to figure out on your own (possible guage, drape, wear and tear, warmth and durability, etc.)
  • the MYSTERY: in most cases, i dont like not knowing the fiber content or exact yardage of the yarns that i buy. but when you're scrounging the bargain bin, its kind of fun to prey on a mysterious mass of fiber. it frees us up to be a little creative (and if you're recycling manufactured garments, the fiber content and washing instructions are usually listed on the tag - perfect!)
  • if you're like me and get sick pleasure from recylcing anything/saving substantial amounts of money/fantasizing about the history of the garment before it came to you.... than in all aspects, yarn recycling is enjoyable.

Now that i've composed a persuasive essay, i'll talk about my most recent experience. we hit up a major thrift store in canada and spent an hour going through what seemed like miles of sweaters. if i had unlimited funds, i would have come out of there with 15+ garments... but i ended up narrowing it down to two. (an aside: someone in niagara falls was stupid and gave 6 or 7 amazing handknit sweaters - complete with bulky icelandic wool fair-isling and shawl collars - away... it was actually painful to see them sitting there, getting stretched out beyond repair on those horrible plastic hangers.)

this is the before picture of a bulky orange turtleneck that i picked up for 4.99 (candian!) - a wool/nylon blend knit in reverse stockinette.

Recylcled Orange Turtleneck [Intact]

the seaming on bulky knits is usually the easiest to destroy. i sat down for an hour with my seam ripper and ended up with this nice little stack:

Recycled Orange Turtleneck [Spoils]

are you sold yet? the colors are more accurate in the "after" photo. great orange, huh? the yarn turned out to be several thread-sized fibers plied together to make a bulky weight. Notice the guage-swatch needle that doubles as a victory flag at the top of my fiber mountain

i haven't recylced sweater #2 just yet, but am planning on tackling it this weekend. keep your eyes open for more recycled fibers. happy friday!

UPDATE: forgot to mention this before, but the Beaverslide Scarf is about 1/2 an inch away from completion and it looks great. I'll for sure finish tonight. I was determined last night but had to force myself to sleep and get up early.


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