Never one to knock back a good offer, I’m taking the day off blogging today and handing the reins over to my lovely sister. Thanks sis- I’m going to knit instead of blog tonight!!
Like my sister, I’m a stay at home mom. But just to one son, TK (5 3/4 yrs), who started school this fall in California. Yes, that’s right; I’m the sister in the States.
While I love to knit, and create in general, it’s not like Sheryl described, where she feels restless without yarn in her hands. The other thing is that while I love yarn, the cost of lovely yarn is sometimes prohibitive, due to the aforementioned no-job-outside-the-home situation. And, like many, my husband’s salary has been cut this year with furlough days.
So I’ve been trying to knit from stash since January, which has mostly been successful (Malabrigo is hard to resist, ok?). There is definitely starting to be more room in the yarn stash box. But how did the yarn box get to the point I could hardly get the top on when I was already on a strict yarn budget last year?
Well, it’s because I love to thrift. I have some great thrift stores nearby, and I have found that you can totally fill your yarn bin to bursting just by investing a bit of time to take apart a sweater. The nice sweaters where I shop are usually around US$6, half that if you go on sale days. Not bad for a sweater’s worth of yarn.
The first sweaters that I started taking apart with were ones I had bought with the intention of wearing, but for various reasons didn’t end up loving them. So making them into something I liked seemed like a great option vs donating them back to the thrift store. I researched how to go dissembling them (there’s a great tutorial here) and dove in, with the help of my ball winder.
I’ve had some great success, and here are some of my favorite finished objects from recycled yarn:
This was my first recycled knit, which came to my home as a cabled Tommy Hilfiger cotton sweater. It became a Santa Cruz Hoodie for my son.
The leftovers became a 3AM cable hat, also super cute.
And my really warm Textured Tunic that started life as an cowl neck sweater by Ann Taylor.
So far I have tended toward larger gauge yarns. The color doesn’t necessarily have to be what I want; I’m not afraid of stripping and redying though that does add to the overall cost (I often spot sweaters in red for some reason). In terms of determining what to knit with the recycled yarn, I try of think of something that will definitely take less yarn so I’m not left short. For instance, I know that a long sleeve sweater will have enough yarn for a short sleeve one or something for the boy; the cowl neck one gave me enough yarn to make a tunic length sweater; and cabled sweaters have more yardage to play with.
And here’s a tip: try and remember to measure the gauge before you take the sweater apart. This has helped me determine what patterns might suit the yarn and gives me something to aim for when trying out needle sizes on my gauge swatch. Yes, I’m a swatcher… don’t hate me.
So if you’re like me and spending a lot of money on your knitting hobby is not an option, try the thrift store. The only caveat: start out slow with just one or two sweaters unless you knit fast like my sister, or have room for more than just one yarn bin. There will always be more at the thrift store, when you’re ready for them. And looking is such fun!