Reusing Yarn - Getting the Kinks of Out Yarn That Has Already Been Knit
By Laura Zander


I don't know about you, but every once in awhile I get about halfway through a project and then decide that I just don't like it anymore... In my early knitting career, I used to just keep plugging along - striving to live by my father's words of "you need to finish what you've started." Somewhere along the way, I had an epiphany and decided that my time (and yours!) is just too valuable to be spent on knitting things I don't like. As painful as it is to rip out my hard work, I've accepted those first few hours as a sunk cost (refer back to Econ 101 for more on sunk costs!). More often than not, I delay the 'ripping' for as long as I can stand it. When I finally get around to it, I've noticed that the yarn looks 'frogged' - it's bumpy and curvy - and not very appealing (like a frog). The last time this happened, I consulted with our retail store manager Jeanne and this is what she told me to do:

  • First, put the yarn back into a hank by winding it loosely around your arm; just like you would a long electrical cord. The "winding it loosely around your arm" part is important.
  • Take it off of your arm carefully and lay it on a table.
  • Tie it with some waste yarn in 2-3 places (not too tightly) just to hold the strands together.
  • Set it in cool water with just a bit of gentle soap for about 20 minutes.
  • Rinse it and squeeze the water out, being careful not to tangle the strands.
  • Set it on a towel and roll the yarn up 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 neck of the hanger, so it won't rust on your yarn) and hang it in the shower to drip. It is sometimes helpful to hang a weight on the bottom of the yarn - I find that a heavy wooden suit hanger is perfect for the job. Again, you will want to protect the yarn from rust by placing a rag between the hanger and the yarn.
  • Once it dries, wind that beautiful yarn back into a ball, and use it to knit something else!

P.S. Did you know that back in the 'old' days when money was scarce and buying new yarn wasn't in the budget, garments would be 'frogged' making the yarn available for a new and useful piece. In fact, my friend Sandy often scours the thrift stores - looking for sweaters made from luxurious fibers... she unravels 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!

About the Author:
Founded in 2002 by Laura Zander, aka "Jimmy," Jimmy Beans Wool is both a bricks and mortar and Internet knitting superstore, offering knitters worldwide a comprehensive selection of the finest yarns and knitting supplies along with the latest fashion trends. Jimmy Beans Wool has successfully created an international knitting community comparable to that of the local yarn store, and is the resource for knitters looking for inspiration, instructions and project help. Headquartered in Reno, NV, the store was recently the subject of a small business profile in Fortune Small Business (July/August 2007) and has been cited in magazines from Vogue Australia to Family Circle.

For details, visit http://www.JimmyBeansWool.com

Jimmy Beans Wool offers a wide variety of discount and sale yarn as well as a huge variety of Blue Sky Alpacas, Lorna's Laces and Rowan Yarns.

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