Thursday, 5 April 2012

Thinking about Yarn Thrift

by Amanda of Amanda Brooke

If you have been by my blog recently you would have seen my latest creative achievement...a cardigan I am a little obsessed with.

Originally I tried to make it in a finer DK weight yarn from my yarn stash, but I was getting frustrated with the 'loose' structure and I didn't have enough to double-up the yarn to make a thicker ply. So I went out and bought some new balls of yarn. It wasn't a huge investment as this project uses very little, but it was still new yarn and I felt a bit guilty about buying new yarn when I had so much at home. What made the bit of guilt turn into a little more guilt was when I went out and bought I just had to start another cardigan after enjoying this one so much!

This guilt has got me thinking about a few things. Firstly that perhaps I shouldn't feel guilty at all.

  • I am making something that brings me great joy.
  • It costs less for me to make this garment than most of the knits available in shops today
  • I am able to choose to use 'pure' fibres compared to most knits available in shops made from acrylics
  • I am making something that is practical not unnecessary

The second thing that I have been thinking about is if I can be more thrifty with my current yarn stash or if I could make another cardigan without actually going out and buying more 'new' yarn.

My ideas:

  • Unwind a project I know I'll never finish if I think I can use the yarn for something else
  • I could make the next cardigan stripey? I could tie or use same 'like' yarns together and use up odds and ends for a scrappy and unique look?
  • Source the yarn from local garage sales, op shops (have purchased some from an op shop once before but find it hard to determine the ply/fibre without packaging), clearing sales
  • Advertise locally for a particular yarn I am seeking. Maybe someone has something in their stash they no longer need.
  • Save 'pocket' money to use towards new yarn purchases and not feel I need to start something 'right now'!!! Practice patience in other words.

Do you have any yarn thrift suggestions? How do you curb or justify spending money on new/raw items for your hand made creations?

Amanda x


Solorn said...

A great way to get some very nice is to thrift old sweaters from jumble sales and charity shops. You can pick them up really cheaply and then frog them. A good wash and rewind and they are ready to make in to something new and pretty.

I get my second hand sweaters and cardi's for about 20 pence, GBP, each:)

Meryl said...

I have been known to pick apart sweaters that no longer fit my bub and make them into new things. You always lose a little bit of yarn in the transfer, but it does usually work well.

quinn said...

Buying thriftshop sweaters for the yarn can be a great savings, but it's good to do some online research first (maybe on ravelry) so you'll understand how to "read" the sweaters before buying. Some machine-knits are manufactured in ways that limit the length of the yarn pieces or make unraveling a nightmare; others will yield massive amounts of yarn in easy, very long pieces. Good luck!

Karen said...

Sometimes, I think, you just have to buy the yarn. I'm in the middle of a large project using yarn spun by my daughter. I ran out of the yarn and haven't budgeted for more roving until next month.
So, I went through my stash and came up with enough yarn to complete another project until May.
Lovely cardigan, by the way.

amanda brooke said...

I have tried to pick apart a sweater as suggested here but I think as Quinn suggested this takes some skill, as it wasn't a good experience...the yarn kept knotting and catching...maybe there is a tip for this?

sell my house said...

I suggest my best friend to get two very nice is to thrift old sweaters from any charity shop.One for me and one for him.After a wash i will make it new.sell my house

Rosie said...


20p? Gracious, the cheaper charity shops sell knitwear for a fiver plus where I live. I haven't seen a jumper sold for 20p since I was a child at school jumble sales.