Guest Author - Kate Pullen
Buying new yarn for every crochet project is great fun, however can work out very expensive over time. Recycling previously used yarn is a good way to get 'new' yarn for crochet projects without having to spend too much money. This can also be a wonderful opportunity to try new yarns and be pleasantly surprised.
The best way to recycle yarn for crochet projects is to unravel yarn from garments, afghans and other hand crocheted or knitted items. Although it is possible to use commercially knitted, woven or crocheted garments or other items, closer inspection may show that the garment has been cut from a length of knitted fabric and therefore instead of having a single length of lovely yarn, there could be a tangled mass of odds and ends.
Any yarn can be unraveled, however wool that has been felted will not unravel easily and may be to firmly felted that it cannot be reused. Hard wearing yarns such as acrylic and cotton are often easy to unravel and will crochet up well into new garments.
How to Recycle Yarns
When recycling yarns it is best to unpick the garment slowly, winding the yarn into a ball to stop it from tangling. Once this has been done the yarn should be wound into a loose hank and gently but thoroughly wetted and hung to dry. The wetting and hanging of the yarn will draw out any kinks in the yarn. If this isn't done the yarn may hold the shape of the previous stitches and give an uneven finish.
It is useful to label the yarn if it is not going to be used straight away with the type of fiber and brand if known as this will be useful when combining yarns or looking for suitable patterns.
Finding Yarn to Recycle
Garments and other knitted and crocheted items can be found at garage sales, charity shops, rummage or jumble sales and a wide variety of other places. Even websites such as eBay.com are worth keeping an eye on. Sometimes hand crocheted or knitted items using luxury yarns are sold off at extremely good prices and these are ideal for unpicking and recycling.
Relatives and friends are also a good source of cast off garments and will be very happy to pass on their unwanted knitwear, particularly when they know that it is going to be recycled.