I love the idea of turning old things into new things, and when I came across the review of the Sweater Unraveling Workshop at Have Company, I knew, that was something I want to try. First, though, you have to find the right sweater! Easier said than done: Most of the thrift stores here in Budapest have a spring/summer collection now, or sell their simple wool sweaters for more than 20€, which I found too expensive for the project. Then, you have to find a hand-knit one, or one that has no overlocked seams, plus a nice quality, no polyester or acrylic… I had already sort of given up on the topic, when I came across a giant hand-knit sweater in a nice light aqua shade.
You can find a really detailed description of how it works to turn an old sweater into brand new yarn on the Have Company website. Amber Martin of Harmony Society is a real expert! The little ebook walks you through all the steps with a lot of details on how to do it.
Unraveling a sweater that I haven’t made was an interesting experience, especially because you see directly how much work went into this piece of clothing, the great construction and the skilled finishing of the sweater was telling me, that an experienced knitter was at work here. Knowing this makes it feel even better to give the material another life and turn it into something new. I like this idea of knitting as an endless craft that can be recycled over and over, once you don’t like the style of a garment anymore.
The unraveled sweater, 650g of pure wool. That is one thing that I „added“ to the process of unraveling. As I am rather picky when it comes to the content of my yarn – most of the time I want more than 90% natural fibers – I decided to a little burning test to make sure I hadn’t bought an acrylic sweater. This test is quite easy, you find a chart online of the behavior of different fibers when burned, and then (in a safe environment!) burn a little piece of the yarn. In case of wool it should smell burnt hair and the residue is black, bubbly and can be easily crumbled. Of course you cant burn anything in the thrift store, but still, as recycling a sweater turned out to be quite time consuming, it is a nice way of making sure you end up with quality yarn.
Winding the yarn goes quite fast, but is a rather dusty work – as spring is coming it might be nice to do that part outside! Soaking and drying the yarn took two nights, but that might depend on the yarn type and the weight of the yarn you have.
Now I just have to think about a nice project to start with my new yarn! But I guess that won’t be very hard. Recycling a sweater is such a satisfying project, and knowing what you did makes the wool even more special.
Instruction booklet: 4€