Reduce, Reuse, sure, sure….

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.)

ImageThere’s my lovely, oh-so-soft from many wearings and washings, super bulky ribbon yarn. This green one came from another cashmere sweater I found in a thrift store for $3.

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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.

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11 comments

  1. Amazing! That hat looks nice and cozy for winter 🙂

    1. Thanks! It is really soft and warm, too bad it’ll have to wait until November to get any use. And it will remind me of that good old beloved sweater it came from.

    2. Hi Feriba, Your website and tlotriaus are really helpful to me.. I am trying to make my first scarf.. I am thinking of using your pattern 21 and 24. I am wondering if you could advice me which type and size of yarn and needles to use.. I’d like to get soft and very warm scarf..

  2. If T-shirt yarn = Tarn, does Sweater yarn = Sarn? lol.

    What a fun idea!

    1. hihi, that sounds logical! though I have never seen it used. Maybe it’s time for a new term in knitting?

    2. this is a tough one. i would have to buy fabric. but, if you don’t alrdaey have a cutting mat and rotary cutter, they are an absolute must. seriously. have fun shopping!

  3. […] the real thrill comes from making the pattern do what I really want from it? Or because I love the challenge of recycling yarn? I do find it immensely satisfying when a project from recycled yarn comes out beautiful, funny, […]

    1. You SAY that knitting is easy, and I supspoe the basics are not hard. I, however, run into trouble if I try to watch a movie, or carry on a conversation or do anything at the same time as knitting. I have to count and recount my stitches and end up with row after row of mistakes etc.I wish I could make something as beautiful as the things you do.

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