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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reclaimed yarn

Yesterday I faced facts, that a most beloved pair of socks was ruined beyond repair.  They were made for me by my buddy Rain of Honey & Ollie, in my first ever sock swap.  Somehow my socks got bagged up in a giant plastic bag and shoved into my closed, where a carpet beetle got ahold of them and two more pairs of my socks.  When I finally found them, they were chewed up in so many places that I just couldn't fix them.  One had to be tossed out, but the other wasn't quite as bad off so I saved it. 

Well, as you know I'm knitting the Beekeeper's Quilt and that uses sock yarn leftovers.  I realized that this was a perfect opportunity for me to reuse the yarn from these special socks, so that I could keep the with me as a special memento...sort of like quilters do when they take squares of fabric from christening gowns or wedding dresses, and add them to a quilt to pass down.  That being said, it was time to reclaim the yarn.

If you've never reclaimed yarn before, here's how it's done. 

  • if the yarn to be reclaimed is knit into a garment with multiple pieces, then you need to take that garment apart first.  Then, start from the bind-off edge, and pick back the yarn until you have a free thread...then pull that sucker out.  You'll want to wind into a ball, or on a niddy-noddy (or your arm), or even wind directly onto a ball winder as you pull the yarn out.  Once you've unwound the piece, you'll have something that looks a little like this.

  • As you can see, any yarn that's been knit into anything for any  length of time will look a lot like Romen Noodles when you rip it back.  It's not ready to be reknit yet, because the kinks will interfere with you ability to get a decent tension, and the finished piece will look like crap (to use the technical term, lol).  To fix this, you need to wash this baby (and it could probably use a good wash anyway...) in an approved wool wash.  I like Eucalan, and I literally have a gallon of it.  It cleans and conditions the fibers, and there's no need to rinse.
  •  Once the yarn is soaking in the water, you want to gently squish it to make sure that it gets completely saturated, as well as to encourage the dirt to float away from your yarn.  Then just walk away and leave it for about 20 minutes.   As you can see, the kinks start to drop out of the yarn right away.

  • Once the yarn is finished soaking, carefully remove it from the sink and squeeze out the excess water.  Try not to pull on it, because the fibers are fragile when they're wet and you don't want to cause the yarn to wear out earlier than it normally would, now would you?  I like to put the yarn into a towel, roll it up, and step on it to get the last of the excess water out.  Next, the yarn is ready to be hung out to dry.  This is what my yarn looked like after being left out to dry over night.  See how much more relaxed it is?

  • Finally, you're ready to wind the yarn into a ball and knit with it all over again!  I used a ballwinder, and made a center-pull ball. 

I'll be knitting hexapuffs with my skein, and adding them to my future afghan.  That way I can point to those little hexagons and say "this yarn was a pair of socks that my friend Rain knit for me, and I wore them all the time, and they were loved".  So go forth, and reclaim yarn from you much loved (or even not-so-much loved) projects, and use it again for something you'll be more likely to use and love!


  1. This made me all sniffly. I'm so glad you loved those socks. I loved knitting them!