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Get inexpensive yarn by deconstructing old sweaters

Would you like to get a good deal on yarn for your next project?  With a just a few dollars and a little bit of work you can get a sweater's worth of yarn.  Just take apart an old sweater and re-use the yarn.

Gently used sweaters can be found at thrift shops including Goodwill and Salvation Army.  There may even be a sweater lurking at the bottom of a drawer because you never wear it.  Yarn can be reclaimed from many sweaters and used to give you the pleasure of making something new.

Some sweaters are put together by seaming separate pieces, others are cut and have the edges serged.   Only sweaters which have a seam - and are not serged - will give you yarn to re-use.  Garments which are seamed unravel in long, continuous pieces.

Once you have a sweater to deconstruct, get a seam ripper or a very sharp pair of scissors.  Start at one end of a seam and carefully cut the thread joining the pieces.  The thread used for making the seam is often very close in color to the garment, so a good light is important. 

Undoing seams requires patience and care.  If you start feeling impatient, put the project down and work on something else.

When you have the pieces separated it is time to start unraveling.  Starting at the top of a piece, cut a strand of yarn.   You may have to cut the top edge off, and you may have a few rows of short strands to throw away, but once you get going the sweater will come undone.

The yarn from an unraveled garment will have kinks in it.  Roll it into a ball and the kinks will begin to work themselves out.  It is ok to knit with yarn that isn't completely straightened out.

For great pictures of how to unravel a sweater to recycle yarn, click on this link:

The Salvation Army Thrift Store has a great selection of sweaters ready to become your new yarn.  Check out the store at 625 Main Street, Wilmington, MA 01887 (978) 988-9488 .

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