How to Prepare Used Yarn to Knit Again
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How to Prepare Used Yarn to Knit Again

How to prepare used yarn to be able to knit it like it was new again.

Do you have a knit sweater or other item that you just don't like, or never wear? Maybe it's too small (Yes, you CAN grow after you're an adult!) or maybe it's uncomfortable or old fashioned. Maybe you found it at a garage sale or flea market or thrift store and loved the yarn.

If it's a hand knit item you can "unknit" it and use the yarn as if it were new no matter what kind of yarn it is. If, however, the garment is manufactured, the yarn is probably cut at either end and will be a lot of trouble to reuse. The best way to get any use of a piece like that is to cut it and stitch around it on a sewing machine to keep the material from unraveling. If you need to, use a piece of scrap paper to keep the stitches from tangling in the machine needle, then cut it away when you're through. You can make slippers or mittens, or, if the piece is cotton, dishcloths and wash cloths from it.

If you have a used hand knit piece, you can unravel it, smooth and wind the yarn and use it like new yarn. It takes some careful work at first. You'll need to remove the collar if it's knitted separately and remove any extra pieces such as a sewn on pocket or trim. If you look closely, you can find the yarn with which it's been sewn. Cut it carefully to keep from cutting into the body of the piece.

Once everything is removed and you've found the seam thread, start very carefully undoing it. Try not to cut the knit material itself, but don't despair if you do. You'll just have more, smaller hanks of yarn.

Once all the pieces are separated, you can start at the top and begin to unravel the yarn in one continuous piece. The first two or three stitches - or even the first two or three rows - may be hard to get started, but it should pull free after that.

Wind the used yarn on a chair back or a piece of cardboard as you go. Don't wind it too tightly; this is just to keep it from tangling.

When you have all the yarn pulled free and wound, it's not ready to reuse yet. First, tie each hank in two or three places and wash it carefully by hand. If the yarn is wool, wash it in cold water, but if it's acrylic, use warm water to help relax the crimps caused by the stitches.

Hang the hank without wringing or trying to remove the water. Put it over a rod or pin it to a line out of doors but out of the sun, or indoors if you have a place to let it drip dry. Drip drying it will help smooth the yarn and make it ready to knit. If it looks like the yarn is going to kink back up, tie a small weight to the bottom.

When it's completely dry, wind it into a ball and knit away! It may very well be the least expensive yarn you've ever used.


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Comments (2)

Sounds pretty handy.

A very informative write Pat...but down here in Miami we don't even know what wool is....but if I move by you I'll be sure to put to practice. Good girl!