Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Upcycling/Recycling Fibers for Needle Arts

I've done it before. Found something around the house that I couldn't help myself from crocheting or knitting with - besides yarn.

I remember when making plarn (plastic bag strips) hit the scene. One of my kids asked if it wouldn't just be eaier to use the bag as-is. Oh sure, but how creative is that?

And I've taken apart several old cassette tapes (I'm embarassed to say which one's as then you'd know my musical tastes back in the 80's) to use as yarn.

While looking for information and ideas about this blog post, I knew I wanted to talk about alternative fibers for knitting. I wanted to find the most creative uses/sources. I'd have to say, this one: Make yarn from newspaper takes the cake. I'm intriqued about it's durability. And I wonder if the ink would make your hands a mess while spinning.... I want to try it though!

Knitting with pet fur (cats and dogs) was something I heard about years ago. At first I thought "ewwww". However, honestly....how is it any different than fleece from sheep, alpaca fur, cashmere from a goat, or angora from rabbit fur? Cats and dogs are cleaner, and I know I'm generally wearing my cat's fur on me everyday anyway. Anyway....here are a couple of places that spin your pet's fur into yarn.

I've seen creations made from t-shirts cut into strips, and then knit or crocheted. Seems like you wouldn't get that much yarn from one shirt, so a sweater would take quite a few t-shirts! Still, I think I'm going to try this one. Maybe from men's undershirts...thinner fabric + thinner strips = a larger ball of "tyarn".

Here's a page I came across that is CHOCK FULL of tips and links on making your own yarn from alternative fibers. I saved this one for future reference.

I'm generally one of those folks that dives in head-first into something without reading any sort of directions. I figure if mess up, I can always go back and read. Amazingly enough, I don't often "go back and read". Sometimes you know more than you think you do. LOL Anywho....the first time I unraveled a sweater I just "wung it". Meaning, I let common sense guide me. However, there are some really good tips and hints in this tutorial that would save someone a bit of time and frustration. There are some sweaters that are just not condusive to yarn recycling.

Now, you may be asking yourself "why all this recycling business"? Glad you asked. I'm a member of a team on Etsy that is having this HUGE (did I mention it was huge?) event July 21-27 called GO GREEN with EtsyTwitter Team. A blurb from our team blog about this event:
Our team, which uses Twitter to expand its reach to a global audience, thinks that “Going Green” is far more than just a sales pitch. We really want to dispel the myth that items that are “green” have to be expensive or time-consuming to find, and encourage people to think of ways they can conserve the most valuable resource we have, which is the Earth itself. This is one way to really turn people on to the idea of buying responsibly and learning how to find items, which support, rather than harm, our natural resources.

Have you been encouraged to green up your life a little more? You can start by visiting this site of the best green blogs, and then.....shop with the EtsyTwitter team July 21-27.


Suzanne@threepeats said...

Great post...let me know how the "knitting with newspaper" goes...I have the same misgivings you do!

Lois said...

Love all the ideas and links you provide. As a knitter, I am especially intrigued by the sweater unraveling! Going to read that tutorial.