The Thankful Mama

Yarn Harvest

on November 14, 2010

It’s Autumn, and what better time to harvest…yarn? I’ve learned the art of unraveling thrift store sweaters for usable yarn. This is something I came across listening to knitting podcasts and on Ravelry. It’s quite an ingenious idea. By perusing through the sweater racks at thrift stores you can potentially get really nice fiber to salvage for yarn. I had fun scouring my local stores and ended up finding several great deals. I was able to get a few wool, cotton and an angora blend sweaters for about $4.00 each. I learned that you need to look for sweaters without surged seams. There is an excellent tutorial by Neauveau Fiber Arts that has wonderful photos showing the seams to look for as well as fabulous instructions for the complete sweater deconstruction.

The Niddy Noddy

I also decided I needed a niddy noddy to help me wind the yarn into hanks. I found another great tutorial here for making your own out of PVC pipe. The instructions are clear and concise. My dad was kind enough to build me two of these in an afternoon out of spare pipe he had in the garage. Just a few extra parts were needed, bringing my total cost for two niddy noddies to justunder $10!






I decided to start with my bulkiest sweaters so I could easily see what I was doing. These sweaters are a wool and acrylic blend. They are both mens XL and I bought one in brown and white. I followed the instructions in the tutorial and found the tiny thread holding the seams together. With a little cutting and searching I found the yarn end and started winding. It is really satisfying to watch the yarn come pulling off row by row, amusing since this is usually a frightening and frustrating thing to do to knitting! 🙂 It did take a bit of work to get all the yarn unraveled from the body and two sleeves, but I was astounded at how much of it there was! I ended up getting 13 oz. (370 g) from the brown sweater and 14 oz. (422 g) from the white sweater. All for about $4.00 each! Wow! It was worth it. I could already imagine the things I wanted to knit this yarn into.








The Dye Job

I decided to make my sister a cowl for a Christmas gift with some of the white yarn but I wanted to make it a special color just for her. I’ve experimented with dyeing yarn before with the sock blanks from Knit Picks. They are a lot of fun and even more fun to knit up. I wanted to make some sort of green/blue color, but didn’t want to be too exact. I mixed up three colors of Jaquard acid dyes. I used about a 1/2 teaspoon of  Sapphire Blue, Sky Blue and Yellow Sun and a generous glug of white vinegar, resulting in a lovely color I like to call “Mermaid Green.” I found a cute little cabled cowl pattern on Ravelry and cast on. I can’t wait to see how this yarn turns out in its new form!


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