Monday, September 21, 2009

Mystery Yarn...

I've been scouring our local thrift stores for used sweaters to pull apart and re-make into something lovely either for myself or for the baby girl. Most of the time the fiber content is clearly marked on the tag, but sometimes it is not. So how do I figure out what it is made from? Here are some of my 'go to' methods. I'll use my most recent find...a gorgeous purple and green bolero/shrug thing as an example. (it didn't fit me and was not a good style, but the yarn!! Oh the yarn!!)

I was pretty sure was 1. hand knit (no tag, obvious weaving in of ends) and 2. was made from, if not exclusively wool, then a pretty high wool content blend.

The first test was to see if it felted. As I was unraveling the sweater, I accumulated quite a lot of fuzz. (This was my first clue since wool does this) So I did about 10 minutes in a hot mix of soap and water, working the fibers together with my hand. Martha Stewart has a quick little tutorial here on how to felt wool balls, and the concept is the same for this.

This was the result. I'd say that felted, wouldn't you? (on the left is the fuzz, on the right, post felting)

If it kind of did, but kind of didn't, I'd go to my next resort which is the flame test. I do this last because I am not fond of the smell of burning hair or plastic. Here is a chart that tells what each fiber will look like, smell like, and act like when burning. This yarn stunk the house up like burnt hair. Pretty sure it's wool. (and now to air out the house...Ack!)

I balled this up as I unraveled and followed these instructions for recycling wool sweaters. Now I am gonna make a measuring tool for figuring out how much yarn I have. (wood plank with nails or dowels 3 feet apart). Without a little gizmo to ball my yarn for me, this means a lot of winding by hand. Not so bad when I've got a book downloaded from the library and a sleeping baby...hmmm. But just look at that gorgeous batch of wool!! It's worth it. (final price - $5.99. It would have been less if I had waited until the green tag items at GoodWill went on sale for $0.99. Oh well.) Now what shall I make?

6 comments:

Alana said...

those colors are fabulous!

okay, so you need to teach me how to do that!

Beth said...

this is a very informative post. but I especially want to say that I LOVE your new banner! It is so you. And I enjoy you. All of you.

Composing Hallelujahs said...

awesome!!!

Mike Evans said...

I'm impressed. At several points in succession I said... Man I wouldn't have the patience. Nice work.

Jaime said...

Very interesting post, even for a non yarn/knitting/crochet kinda person! :-)

And, I love your new header, too! So cute!

The Musician said...

But Mike, you run marathons! You have patience for some things (like running for HOURS. Sheesh). A girl on a budget has to do what a girl on a budget has to do!

Thanks for all of your sweet comments!!

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