Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Was I Thinking?

Even though they are compressed in three Space Bags, the wool sweaters that I purchased at several thrift shops in Denver are taunting me. Why on earth did I buy 47 sweaters? Yes, that is right 47 wool sweaters! Very few of them are even in my size, but I didn't purchase the sweaters to wear.

Who in their right mind buys 47 sweaters? I don't claim to even be in my right mind, but I purchased them because I love to knit and do a lot of charity knitting. So many of the charities require natural fibers, and I definitely cannot afford to buy the wool that I need for these projects. So, I purchase 100% wool or wool-blend sweaters and ravel them for the wool.

It is a messy and time-consuming process, but well worth it in the end. An average sweater will yield a minimum of four skeins of wool yarn. Anyone who has priced wool knows that each skein is at least $10 and sometimes even $20 or more. Thus, I can justify spending an average of $3 a sweater to obtain, at the very least, $40 worth of yarn.

Before this last shopping spree, I had dismantled, washed, and skeined the wool from ten sweaters. I have already knit the wool from two of them. Once I process the sweaters that are compressed in the Space Bags, I should have a yarn stash worth $1,880 for an investment of $140. I wish that my CD's earned as much!

The yarn is wound into skeins after the sweater is ravelled.

The yarn skeins are placed in a sudsy hot water bath. They are allowed to soak for two hours so the fibers can relax and return to a natural state.

Gently squeeze the skeins and place in a hot water rinse for another hour.

Then gently squeeze the yarn to remove excess water. Drape the skeins on hangers and allow to drip dry. I place a rolled towel in the bottom loop of the skein to absorb moisture which allow faster drying. Make sure yarn is completely dry before storing or using. I have since learned to gently squeeze out the excess water and then put the hanks in the washer and spin out the rest of the water. Spin only do not agitate and then hang to dry.

This is a time-consuming process, but satisfying. Recycling is worthwhile in more ways than saving money. I wish more people would take the initiative.


  1. I've done this with a couple of sweaters, to. You're right, it's time consuming and sometimes frustrating work, but oh-so satisfying to do. I think I'm about due for a trip to the thrift store to look for more.

  2. What a smart woman you are! This is a terrific idea!


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