The Life & Whimsies of Knitty Lou

Recycling Yarn To Fit Budget?

Posted on: August 30, 2009

I have had so many amazing things happen for me in the last few days. First, is that a Saint in my life gave me more yarn than I could have imagined! And not just any yarn, but tons of sweet, soft, lusciousness all in my taste. She knew that my husband and I are doing our best to live on a budget and that our goal is to save for a decent down payment on a house in the next 5 years. So there it was. A gift. Now I’ve never been very good at accepting gifts but this was one of those moments where I was speechless and near tears. I couldn’t have dreamed of someone doing something so very kind for me. I am very lucky to have such a sweet wonderful person in my life.

Second bit of news is this. I have decided to knit the cozy cardigan on the Fall 2009 Interweave Knits Cover. The pattern is called the Classica Coat and the designer is Deborah Newton. This is the first pattern that I have gone totally nutty for. I saw it and just HAD to have it! Well, not only will this be the most difficult thing I will have ever attempted knitting, but the yarn it calls for is the Manos del Uruguat Wool Clasica (100% wool; 138 yds/ 100g) by Fairmount Fibers. I have a 37″ bust but I want plenty of positive ease in order to get the same look as the cover fit, so I am going to make the 46″ bust circumference pattern. That would mean, that I need 15 skeins. Fine, but then I realized that these are $16.00 per skein. That’s $240.00 for the yarn to make this coat and that’s figuring that I already have the correct needles! Yikes! I had no idea that it would cost that much. So, I started looking into comparable yarns for it, but was still coming up with $100.00-$120.00 for the coat. Unfortunately, that is just more than I can afford and I definitely don’t have that in my stash either. So I started fretting about how in the world I was going to make that coat. And then it hit me. Why not recycle? I like to recycle everything else, so why not yarn?

So, my husband and I went to a bargain store called Ross. They sell previous season’s garments but that are still new and just hadn’t been sold by the original merchant. At much much lower prices mind you. I found 3 sweaters that I loved. I loved the yarn as well as the current style that they were in. I made sure that there were multiple sweaters per each design and color and then put the extras on hold and purchased one of each in my size. I took the purchased sweaters home and quickly figured out the current gauge. Only one of these would work with the gauge the pattern called for but it’s my favorite of all of the colors (this was the moment when I started jumping up and down in my kitchen with my husband in the other room, probably wondering how in the world he got suckered into marrying such a crazy person).

I messages of few of my friends on Ravelry and asked if they thought it could work. Both of them said to make sure the garments were new to avoid damaged or bug infested yarn (gross!) and also to make sure that the garment was seamed and not serged. Oh crap! (This was the point where I dashed across the room to the sweater in order to check it SO quickly that I nearly barreled right over the top of my son) Comparing the sweater to the pictures one of my friend linked to me, I realized that it was indeed seamed. Yeah!

So my plan is to purchase the other 2 of this sweater tomorrow and to bring them to the Friday Night Knitting Club where my friend can hopefully get me started unraveling it so that I can wash and dry the kinks out of it and then wind it up for it’s true purpose in life. My coat. I think I may only need 2 of the sweaters for the coat, but I’m not taking any chances. I will alternate balls of yarn every 2 rows or so in order to even the color and I think it will be great. A learning experience for certain.

Cost with recommended yarn = $240.00
Cost after recycling = $30.00 (2 sweaters) – $45.00 (3 sweaters)

Now THAT I can work with 🙂 Here is the sweater I will be using. It is acrylic, but it is super cozy and the coat really doesn’t need to be blocked perfectly for it to look like it is intended.

Here’s the sweater I’m going to rip out.


And here is the coat.


I will keep updating on the progress of this crazy endeavor. Wish me luck and any advice would be greatly appreciated from anyone who either has or who has heard of doing this.


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A woman on the verge of crazy trying to balance family, work, and knitting!

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August 2009
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