About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Up-Cycled Cashmere Yarn, Part II

Yesterday I told you about my fabulous garage sale find - a cashmere sweater done in a hand-knitting weight yarn.  And, I told you that it's a pretty rare sight, as most cashmere sweaters are machine knit with super fine yarn.  So, when I see one, I snatch it up.  I figure it's worth a little of my time and effort to make my own cashmere yarn.
 The first step is washing.  Honestly, it was purchased at a garage sale!  If fuzz it going to be flying, I want to to be clean fuzz.

After a bath and a dry, I rip out the seams.  I use a chunky seam ripper, and make no effort to save the seaming yarn.  In the case of this sweater, the yarn used to sew it together was much thinner and not 100% cashmere.  That's not surprising, since cashmere isn't strong.  You do need to be careful to snip only the seams, but I did cut the body yarn - twice.
 Most machine knit sweaters are constructed the same way hand knits are - bottom up.  So, start looking for a loose end at the shoulder.  Chances are you worked it loose as you were ripping out the shoulder seam.  Once I've got it, I lead it in to my ball winder to speed up the frogging.  One hand on the handle, one holding down the sweater piece.  The yarn will snag at the edges, since it is turning back on itself, so be prepared to frequently stop and work that loose.

When I was done, I had two balls of worsted weight cashmere yarn.  131 grams to be exact.  And what's the price of that on the open market?  Jade Sapphire Brigadoon is a worsted weight 4-ply cashmere that sells at Webs for $47 for a 50 g ball.  (And I think that's pretty cheap!)  At that price, my two balls are worth $123.  Not bad for a $3 garage sale sweater purchase and less than two hours of my time.  (And most of that was in front of the TV!)

Obviously, I haven't knit this up yet, but here's a photo of my design, Double-Dealing, a reversible cabled scarf, done in pale blue yarn up-cycled from a thrift store sweater:

The scarf pattern is available for sale as an electronic download on Ravelry.

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