recycled yarn

United States
December 22, 2010 9:07pm CST
This may sound like a silly question, but with the price of yarn being so high, I am wondering if it is practical to find second hand sweaters in thrift stores and to recycle that yarn. If any of you have done this, what do you do to get the kinks out of the yarn?
5 people like this
12 responses
• United States
23 Dec 10
I have done this and it works great. I found that plain yarns though, not fuzzy or bumpy as these are really hard to separate while unraveling because of the strands getting knotted. I unraveled a really soft alpaca yarn sweater that I found in a Salvation Army that was too big for any of us. I ended up making matching sweaters for my girls (there was only two then) and a pair of matching hats for them. I also unraveled a sweater dress I found that I couldn't figure out what type of yarn it was but it was luxurious to the touch. It made a wonderful knit blanket sleeper.
• United States
23 Dec 10
Thanks! I agree about not reusing bumpy or fuzzy yarns. How lucky to find a nice alpaca! So it worked for you without having to let the yarn "relax" in between?
• United States
24 Dec 10
No relaxing at all, but I did make the mistake once of buying a sweater with the wrong type of seam. If it has been surged on the edge then it is a mess because the surging cuts the yarn.
• United States
26 Dec 10
I will have to watch for that. What a mess that would be!
@PainsOnSlate (20248)
• Canada
10 Feb 16
I've never considered doing that. Let us know how hard it is if you do it.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Feb 16
Well I just bought an old men's sweater in a color I like from the Salvation Army and it is on my list to take it apart tonight--so I will let you know how it goes--
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@TheHorse (64051)
• Pleasant Hill, California
10 Feb 16
@divalounger Maybe do an update post?
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• United States
10 Feb 16
@TheHorse I will! What a great idea!
1 person likes this
@kevin1877uk (36972)
10 Feb 16
I know my mum would undo one of her sweaters she would be knitting because she didn't like it or something. From what I remember she would dampen the yarn, let it dry and then use it.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Feb 16
I think dampening the yarn helps it relax a bit. Then when you reknit it, it is smoother
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@kevin1877uk (36972)
10 Feb 16
@divalounger yeah, you'll have to let us know how it goes. I know she did it a few times, she would start something then not like it so would end up undoing it and knitting something else it stead.
1 person likes this
@yoyo1198 (3644)
• United States
30 Dec 10
Not a silly question at all. I haven't ever thought of this, but it is a great idea. Thanks. I've actually got some old sweaters lying around my apartment that could be unraveled. The only problem I see would be if the yarn is too old to accomplish what I want. I have, however, found different type yarns at the thrift stores; Salvation Army, Goodwill and the like. I've found enough at a time to crochet several projects. The baby yarns are good for several sets of booties and hats. Only one skein was so old that it just went to pieces when I tried to use it.
• United States
31 Dec 10
I am trying to find new ways to recycle and re-use most things these days---I have never really used baby yarns although I like the feel of them. I too scout Goodwill and the like for yarn and have been somewhat successful---
@yoyo1198 (3644)
• United States
31 Dec 10
I've found that the workers who bag the yarns in the thrift stores either don't know how to do it or they are doing it in order to sell. The baby yarns are in a bag with rug yarns and the pretty worsteds are with the ugly-colored wools. Always so incongruent.
@ElicBxn (60835)
• United States
23 Dec 10
not being that much of a knitter or anything, I wouldn't know, but I do know that I took something I started and set aside for a LONG time apart and you would never have known that the yarn was reused, the new work covered up any set in kinks mind you, it hadn't been washed or anything - but I'd guess that if the yarn was of a high enough quality it wouldn't matter that much - not stretched out or worn thin
• United States
23 Dec 10
So no kinks is good. I find a lot of men's sweaters out of silk yarn and if I can undo it and roll into balls and just rework, that would be ideal.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60835)
• United States
23 Dec 10
• United States
23 Dec 10
I don't know but I get lots of sweaters and would like to know what I could use them for. I know I can make mittens out of a nice wool one. Which I plan on making to go over my mitted gloves.
• United States
23 Dec 10
I would think a lot of it would depend on the size of the sweaters that you are getting, but certainly there should be enough to make mittens out of--or a scarf perhaps!
• United States
23 Dec 10
I would not know how to make a scarf if I tried. LOL
@jugsjugs (13045)
26 Dec 10
I can remember years ago we use to go to jumble sales with my nan, she was one for buying knitted jumpers and pulling them to bits in order to reuse the wool that they had.She use to also use the wool for things like making gloves as well as crochet blankets.She use to wind the balls of wool up so tight then after a few month use the wool, as the kinks would almost be out of it.
• United States
26 Dec 10
I wind into balls often, but I have noticed when I wind into tight balls, the yarn never is quite as resilient after--
@peavey (16487)
• United States
24 Dec 10
Yes, I have done that before and even wrote an article about it one time. It's sometimes hard to find hand knitted sweaters at thrift stores, but when you do and you get it all apart, wind the yarn into a hank and tie it gently in three or four places. Wash it with mild soap, depending on the fiber, and then tie a large nut (the kind that goes on a bolt) on one end and hang it to dry out of the sun. When it's dry, wind it into a ball
• United States
24 Dec 10
Thank you so much! That must help the yarn relax a bit.
@cutepenguin (6457)
• Canada
23 Dec 10
My friend does this a lot. I don't as much because I have been using up my stash. I think she just rewinds the yarn into new balls and doesn't really worry about the kinks.
• United States
23 Dec 10
Thanks!! I am going to try it out!
@GardenGerty (98258)
• United States
23 Dec 10
You are going to have us all haunting the thrift shops recycling sweaters. I remember that my mom did this. I think that working it up would straighten it, and if there was still a problem, one of those steamers or even a steam iron over a pressing cloth would take care of any issues.I have also bought yarn at thrift shops and I know a lady who cuts used sweaters and sews hats, leg warmers and other things from them. We all should be recycling more. I cut t shirts into "yarn" and am learning to crochet that material with a huge hook.
• United States
23 Dec 10
I found a man's cream silk sweater. The yarn is beautiful and the sweater is really large. So I will wait until after the holidays and unravel it---thanks!
@TheHorse (64051)
• Pleasant Hill, California
10 Feb 16
Interesting question. I never work with yarn, though I work with fabric for loudspeaker screens. Nice fabric can be $10 to $30/yard. How much is yarn? Let us know if you try dismantling old sweaters, and how well it works.
@jillhill (37384)
• United States
26 Dec 10
I really don't know. I do know they take sweaters and make woolen mittens from them. I saw them at the last craft sale I did...unfortunately the lady wasn't selling any of them...I think she was charging too much.