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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recycle yarn

It’s Crafting Tuesday. Crafting is a big part of my life, so I’m taking Tuesday as the day for talking crafts. As much as I would like to be in the garden all the time, all year long, my short growing season and perpetual bad weather, I must do something inside the house and that is where sewing, crocheting, knitting and other crafts come to save my sanity.


When I have a new knitting or crocheting project in mind, I always first go to my stash looking for the re-used knitting yarn. I rarely have to head to the store to find the perfect skein for a project. I almost always have it right here in my craft room.

How did I ever think of re-using yarn? Well, let me tell you a little tale.

Can't tell these are re-used knitting yarn, can you?

When my mother taught me how to crochet, she told me the story of how she had learned. It seemed she was too sickly most of the time to attend school which was a 5 kilometer walk from their farm. So, she mostly stayed home and waited for her elder sister and brothers to come back and teach her whatever they learned. Well, this sister, Christina, had the opportunity to learn something the boys didn’t. These were rather frivolous crafts such as crochet, cross stitch, embroidery and knitting and she wasted no time in teaching these activities to my mother.

Unfortunately, Cristina had received from the her teacher only one precious ball of knitting yarn and one crochet hook. Money was extremely tight and their father, who didn’t approve of this useless endeavor, was not about to splurge on another hook and more yarn. So, they shared. They took turns crocheting, practicing all the stitches Cristina learned, making wonderful doilies until the ball of yarn ran out. Then they unraveled it and re-used the yarn.

Can you imagine that? Sharing a ball of knitting yarn and a sole crochet hook with your sister, making perhaps the prettiest little doily imaginable and then having to unravel all your hard work to pass the yarn to the next person so they can do it all over again. The story left me stunned and humbled. I realized I was rich indeed. I had several crochet hooks from which to choose, in all sizes and so much yarn available that I need never re-use another skein again. I didn’t even have to share! I had only one brother who didn't care for yarn play, thank you very much!

And yet I do re-use knitting yarn even though I don’t have to. Why? Because my mother’s story stuck with me and will forever. Waste not, want not, comes to mind. When I make a sweater for one of the kids and they, as kids will do, out grow it, I will not toss it away. I will unravel it and save the yarn for yet another project, possibly another sweater for the same kid in a bigger size, of course, adding another yarn in a contrasting color to achieve the correct size.

If you are as frugal as I am, you may want to try to re-use knitting yarn. So, the next time someone gives you a thoroughly ugly sweater, or you feel a crocheted blanket has outlived its usefulness, don’t toss it out! Sit down in a comfy chair and unravel it forming balls of perfectly reusable yarn that you can use over and over again. Only your imagination is the limit.

What have I made lately with recycled yarn? Do you recall the crocheted flower blocks I showed you a while back? I even showed you how to make the flower block. They were entirely made with yarn which had been something else, once upon a time. It's fun this recycling yarn. You ought to try it!

1 comment:

  1. Glory, this may be one of the most valuable and timely posts you have written. So many people do not realize how stuff can be recycled over and over--and used wool and yarn is no exception. Old socks can be cut into endless strips and woven into rugs--there is a beneficial use for almost everything.
    With the economies of the world tanking, encouraging and providing information for a creative economy at home becomes ever more important. Great post!

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