But recycle! There’s a challenge I love!
To me, reusing and recycling has always had a fun side to it: it is a creative challenge to find a new use, or a different useful form for something that is poor enough stuff to be labelled “trash.” My love affair with recycling probably has many roots. There’s the thriftiness I picked up from my mother, who saved and washed even plastic yogurt cups for packing snacks for school or to dye Easter eggs in. Then there’s the mental gymnastics familiar from cognitive psychology tests and puzzles. How many uses can you find for a brick? If you put a coin in an empty bottle and insert a cork into the neck of the bottle, how could you remove the coin without taking the cork out or breaking the bottle?
So before I put something in the trash, I try to look at it as material FOR SOMETHING TOTALLY UNRELATED. Okay fine, on that count I usually fail. When I recycle a sweater, it will usually end up as yarn. DUH. If I find a way to turn a recycled sweater into a spaceship, I’ll call you, okay? But first I’ll call the Nobel Prize committee, and ask them to award me with a Nobel Prize in Solving Brain Teasers.
Now that we’re at material, I’d hate to throw away something as precious as 100% cashmere. But what if the sweater has shrunk? Or felted? Or god forbid, IT’S MY FAVORITE SWEATER I WORE SO MUCH that it sustained unhealable injuries from my elbow? Yes, that’s what happened, it had two gaping holes on the elbows so large that it was hopeless trying to mend. And some m*th damage. But shsssh! Don’t tell anyone on Ravelry!
Unravel? It’s machine-knit, so the yarn is really too thin for me to use. And it would break a million times when I pull on it. Cut it? The stitches would start running. Solution: felt, spiral-cut, re-knit! Cue the band: enter the twice-knit cashmere! Or Cashmere Tarn, whichever you prefer. (That would be t-shirt yarn. Here’s a great visual tutorial on how to make it.)
Gives a bit uneven, boucle-like surface when knit up. And makes a great, warm hat. Yes it still has loose ends hanging out. Now just needs finishing.