Breaking Down the Sweater

About a year ago I purchased a sweater from the second-hand store for the express purpose of disassembling it. This weekend, I finally had a free moment to get to work.

First, I figured out how it was seamed and began the process of ripping out the thread.

As I found the ends, I left them hanging until I could get to my ball winder.

When the un-seaming was finished, the sweater looked just like a set of pieces that were ready to be re-sewn together. Now, it was time for the ball winder!

In the end, there was very little waste compared to yarn . . . but the yarn cakes were many and the fiber itself has enough acrylic % that it won’t spit splice.

It’s a first go at this whole process of reclaiming yarn, and I think I will improve my techniques with time. As it stands, I managed to get a lot of yarn, BUT, I could have had longer runs if I had been a bit more careful at a few key spots. Then again, this sweater was fused together in the armpits, around the back of the collar and at the waist ribbing. Really, (I tell myself) maybe I did the best job possible 🙂

Next steps: I plan to reskein the cakes using my niddy noddy and then wash the yarn to relax its kinks. Then, I may try one last spit splice attempt . . .

Has anyone else tried this? Any ideas for what do do with my mess of yarn cakes?

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This entry was posted in deconstructing, experiment, sweater, unexpected, yarn. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Breaking Down the Sweater

  1. bonnyknits says:

    Thanks for posting–I’ve been wanting to try this! I even have a blue wool sweater waiting for me to have the nerve to rip it apart. So I have no advice for you, but I’ll be following along to see what other people say. 🙂

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  2. Are you planning any stranded or intarsia projects? Some of the little bits could work well in a multicolor stashbuster project. And where the spit splice fails, the Russian join works–you would just have to trim a lot of little ends.

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  3. BeeJeweled says:

    Yes, I have done this quite a bit! You need to carefully look at the seams. It should look like a knit row holding it together, once you find the end, you can just pull it out. In some sweaters, the pieces are cut out of yardage, then sewn together, so in those, you just get the length of yarn of one pass of the front. I have knit it right from the balls, but it works up more evenly if you skein it, soak in the sink and let the kinks work them selves out. It’s great fun, and you can get alot of yarn! Check out the Dump and Run sale at the stock pavillion in August. The last day, everything is free. They always have a ton of sweaters!

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  4. knittedblissjc says:

    oh wow, that looks so cool! I have done that before, but the yarn you’ve harvested from that sweater looks sooo soft. It will have an excellent second life in a new project.

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  5. Alina says:

    I’ve never done anything like that! But what a great idea to give new life to old yarn!

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    • lissymail says:

      yes, thanks! I’ve seen some other knitters have a go at unraveling and reclaiming and it looked like so much fun. Some folks have told me stories of finding cashmere!! Someday 🙂

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  6. Deconstruction is sooo fun

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