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Recycling a Sweater

Years ago, I read an article about recycling thrift store sweaters by Ashley Martineau.   I promptly went out and bought a rubbermaid tub full of thrift store sweaters to unravel.
Two moves and maybe eight years later, I finally cracked the tub open and picked a Target wool/blend sweater for recycling into the Black Swan pattern.

I followed Ashley’s directions loosely because I had a headache and had trouble finding the right strand of yarn without really strong light.  But it still produced several big balls of yarn.

I started with a side seam at the bottom, where the two sides meet like side-by-side braids.  I clipped the ladders of yarn between the two “braids” or edges of each side.

Once I found the this side seam, it was relatively easy to see the sweater’s construction, and to disassemble it, as I went.   (Check out Ashley’s tutorial, because this post just isn’t tutorial material.)

I worked on around the shoulder until the sleeves were separated from the body.  I, then, separated the turtleneck and undid each sleeve seam.

Of course I clipped bits I shouldn’t have and so had a few more separate balls of yarn than I’d like, but it was no big deal.

I began looping it around the “ghetto noddy,” inspired by Ashley, that my husband built for me all those years ago.  I lost count around 250 yards, so I’m pretty sure I have enough.  I knotted three balls together for this amount of yarn, but will undo the knots as I come to them in the ball winding or knitting.

After measuring my yarn, I tried to tie the skein like I find them in yarn stores, weaving a tie in and out to form three sections at each tie.  I don’t really know what I’m doing here.

I, then, removed the yarn and twisted it into a skein for washing.  It is now hanging in my shower, with a coat hanger to weight it a bit, in hopes that some of the kinks will fall out of it.

Now I need to decide what color of old stash yarn I want to hold together with the black to get a super bulky weight yarn.  I can’t decide: cream, bright red, grey, or burgundy-ish.

(my Ravelry and my Flickr, where you won’t find the above photo)

Here’s what I learned:  Conservation is a good thing, but I really don’t like unravelling.

Most likely, I’ll be using all of my store bought yarn before I dip into the recycle bin again.

I need glasses.  My winding, untangling, and cutting at this sweater was about as precise as Mr. Magoo’s would be.

I have so much patience with the actual knitting process, often re-knitting sweaters to get them just right, but I truly hate these preliminaries.

My shower is a dank and scary place, requiring much photo post-processing.

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