Tag: yarn

The Art of Recycling Clothes

Recycling wool or yarn clothing can be a solution for knitting in crises. Face it we have all been there, but many of us have never taken the plunge.

When I was younger, there were times when there was not enough money left to buy yarn. Depending on the project we have in mind it can be a significant outlay to buy the balls of yarn we need to weave our garments.

I learned then that it is important not to let the crisis stop me! So I came up with a simple solution that allowed me to create the item I had in mind without breaking the bank as it were. How? We can recycle clothes. We can recycle the yarn.

The first place to search is in the closets and storage spaces, those rooms that we have dedicated to storing the output of our projects.

When we look through the clothes we have in storage it becomes apparent why we will not be wearing a certain item again. Though if we look closely we can see the reason why we originally purchased them. In clothes that are no longer worn we can find a wealth of resources for future projects. Things that have fallen out of favor can get a second chance on life.

Before we begin we should be clear that we are only interested in cotton yarn and wool garments, although you could also be served some synthetic fabrics, given they have similar properties.

If you can't find what you are looking for, check the rakes, the cheap ones, the second-hand clothes stores, etc..

The web is also helpful, since you can shop and find the opportunity to recycle clothes that are sometimes completely new.

The garments have to be checked in great detail, first, however. Go over them from top to bottom and front to back. Handmade wool and cotton garments are ideal, but they are very rare. Better to recycle plain colored clothes than multi-colored garments or those made from pieces of fabrics. We want long strands with very few knots where it was joined.

How it is done

With the garment clean, we'll have to start unstitching its parts. We'll look for the seams and undo everything we can.

We will separate all the pieces: the collars, the sleeves, each piece that was previously sewn with a needle.

We'll start undoing each piece from the top, from the last points that were made. Make sure to identify these carefully before you begin.

The most comfortable and sensible way to go about this is to make balls while undoing the parts. That way we won't end up with a mess of threads. In addition, with the tension of the ball, the yarn loses the curly shape it gets when it is knitted together.

The next step is to make it into skeins. There are winders marketed in different sizes, volumes and prices. Slower, more laborious and homemade, but just as effective, will be to use the backrest of a chair or the open and outstretched arms of some "volunteer". My husband was mine for several projects. He watched tv during the process.

We'll wash the skeins again to smooth the thread. If we don't like the color it has, we can dye it in this process. We can also smooth the thread of the skeins with steam.

When the skeins are dry, we'll have to make them into balls again. To do this, we will reuse the different systems that we have seen above: skeins, chair or volunteer.

And now I do think we have everything we need for our next project.

Know Your Yarn

Fiber yarn consists of transforming the (x) fiber into (y) yarn, this operation takes place when the different properties are utilized to obtain a desired result. This is done through addition of threads, when twisting several short fibers at once to bind them together and produce a continuous strand; when they are spun (twist) long filaments you get stronger threads, also called yarns.

The way the fibers are spun to produce yarn has a direct influence on the properties and appearance of the final product. The direction of spinning when producing yarn also influences the texture of the fabric.

Yarn with S torque or Z torque.

Natural fibers—except silk—are short; are processed to produce yarns with which fabrics will be manufactured. Nonwovens are produced directly from fiber. 'Chemical fibres', both artificial and synthetic, go through the yarn process during manufacture; this results in long, continuous filaments, which must be cut if they are to be mixed with natural fibers.

The yarn is done in several stages. The process of yarn manufacturing can be of two types: artisanal and industrial.

I Am Not In the Business of Spinning

For some reason when I was start talking about spinning they seem to think that this is my profession. I am admittedly very passionate about it. It would also me miss leading to suggest that I haven’t played around with the idea of starting my own spinning business.

But thinking about starting a business and actually do it are two entirely different things. While it would absolutely invigorating to be able to wake up in the morning and know that the day would be dedicated to my hobby it is on the other hand daunting. As anyone who knows what the market is like knows that it is a demanding task. On top of that it is an industry with rather narrow margins. Even with the added value of home/hand spun yarn it takes a lot of it to actually make up for the time invested in creating a skein. Of course you are not forced into a specified length. As most manufacturer choose a length of yarn for their skein, this length can vary, however, the market has dictated some standards through the years. The artisan spinner does not need to produce the longest skein. From a business perspective this is a pleasant prospect, yet there is also a hurdle in which one needs to jump… Does your product entice buyers?

The reason we have industrial spun thread and yarns is because they are easier to produce, faster, and in most cases of higher quality.

Or is it?

Many of you feel that the artisan spun character far out weighs the pros of an industrial produced thread. For those of us with that opinion it is easy to become blinded by what we perceive as value and what our customers will perceive as value (compared to what our higher price point will also convey). Novelty and value. Is this enough to build a business? Can we place these two values down as a cornerstone, hang them on our shingle and offer customers something better than the yarns ans threads produced in a factory?

To answer this question, to understand what it means, you need to have years of experience spinning. For a novice the answer might be a resounding yes. But through time, with the acquisition of more experience the answer is likely to change.

This is why you see so many people offering hand spun assortments at markets and shows, on facebook and co. but rarely the same faces consistently. It is a business and it is hard work to produce a product like this in mass by hand. And if you care to start a successful business you will need to have a lot of merchandise to sell. Even if you only have a few customers. And in the beginning most businesses can only expect to have a handful you will need enough stock to entice them and service their needs. I find it fascinating that there are so many ways to acquire customers for these fledgling endeavors. You can find business and loyalty cards in variations of shapes and sizes with the fitting motif. Artisan markets allow you to hand them out and find potential customers in your locations. If you are dreaming bigger you can offer it on the aforementioned sites or on etsy and other portals. To allow like minded individuals a chance to find and purchase your yarn and yet you need time is against you.

As you browse the site you can certain see that a lot of work goes into a simple skein of yarn. Time varies, those of you who have a lot of experience know which corners can be cut, and which can be combined, but once you have that hank in your hands you know the job is yet to be finished. Regardless of the amount of work you know you have invested into your product, it is unlikely that a customer will. Will they put place the same value on the finished ball of yarn as you do? Will the price seem justified of astronomical when they compare what you are selling to that of what they see in the commercial balls that they normally purchase? Answer these questions honestly. You cannot expect to build a successful existence on mis conceptions.

When I answered all of those questions to my satisfaction I realized that it was the joy of the work which drove me to want to share. The yarn was just a byproduct of that enjoyment. One in which I felt I could share with others. Thus it was natural to think about it in the context of a small business (a time or two) but once I realized that this was the hard way it slowly slipped into the back of my mind. And the idea for site emerged. A more reasonable and manageable way to share my love for spinin.

But, as with all things it is something that people ask me fairly frequently and so I thought that it was only fair to lay out the points that have caused me to stop and contemplate the possibility, to weigh it out an wonder. The final analysis is up to you now. And you have to know for yourself if it seems right or if your love stems from something else.

Please, let me know what you decide.