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Reuse Yarn – The kinks of yarn that has already been knitted

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I don’t know anything about you, but now and then I get about halfway through a project and then decide that I just don’t like it anymore … In my early knitting career, I just kept going – trying to do what my father said life: “You have to finish what you started.” At some point along the way, I had a revelation and decided that my time (and yours!) Is just too valuable to knit things I don’t like. As painful as it is to rip out my hard work, I accepted these first hours as sunk costs (see Econ 101 for more information on sunk costs!). Most of the time I delay “ripping” as long as I can take it. When I finally get to it, I noticed that the yarn looks “frog-like” – it’s bumpy and curvy – and not very appealing (like a frog). The last time I did this was to consult with our retail manager, Jeanne, and she told me this:

  • First put the yarn back into a skein by loosely wrapping it around your arm. Just like a long power cable. The part “loosely wrap it around your arm” is important.
  • Carefully remove it from your arm and place it on a table.
  • Tie it with some waste yarn in 2-3 places (not too tight) to hold the threads together.
  • Put it in cold water with some mild soap for about 20 minutes.
  • Rinse it out and squeeze out the water, being careful not to entangle the strands.
  • Place it on a towel and roll up the yarn to get the excess water out of the yarn.
  • Hang it over a hanger (plastic is preferable, but if you don’t have a plastic hanger you can use a rag around the hanger’s neck so it doesn’t rust on your yarn) and hang it in the shower to drip. Sometimes it is helpful to hang a weight on the bottom of the yarn – I think a heavy wooden suit holder is perfect for this job. Again, you should protect the yarn from rust by placing a rag between the hanger and the yarn.
  • Once it’s dry, wrap the beautiful yarn back in a ball and knit something else with it!

P.S. Did you know that in the “old” times when money was tight and buying new yarn was not included in the budget, garments were “frayed” to make the yarn available for a new and useful item. In fact, my friend Sandy often searches the thrift stores looking for sweaters made from luxurious fibers … she untangles them, washes the yarn and then uses them for one of her own creations! She loves the adventure and excitement of finding a hidden treasure!

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