Thursday, July 21, 2011

Do you recycle ramie sweaters?

I have misgivings about ramie, but I found a sweater that was 40% silk, 30% nylon, 15% ramie, 11% wool, and 4% other fiber, and I decided to buy it. It was a quarter, so I would not be out much money if it didn't work out.

I found it reasonably easy to take apart and unravel, but I did not like the feel of the ramie. It was dusty and the texture reminds me of soft paper. Even with only 15% ramie, I could feel it was in there.

Since I am not attached to this yarn, I thought it would be fun to blotch it with McCormick Neon purple and blue. The yarn itself is a striped gray tweed. I'm hoping this will be fun to weave into scarves with the colors appearing at random throughout the work.
I will probably avoid ramie in any quantity from here on out. I just don't like it. The texture reminds me of the feel of an old wadded up unused tissue that has spent the winter in your coat pocket. Soft, yet dusty and vaguely unpleasant. It's not my thing for knitting or weaving.

Have you ever taken apart ramie sweaters for the yarn or re-purposed them in some other way? What did you make with the sweater? There are tons of these sweaters around, and if there is a project for them, I might reconsider my stance on ramie.

Chenille on the Wheel

Hi folks,

This blog has been dormant for a very, very long time, but I have been crafting. I will not really have time to post about all the things I have learned until this fall, but I will get in here from time to time this summer.

Since I last showed up here, I have taken up weaving and spinning with all the zeal of a new convert. I don't have a lot of money, and I like the concept of recycling whenever I can, so I will be posting about making "new" yarn from old yarns in the coming months.

Today's effort is a chenille yarn made from 2 plies of recycled thrift shop sweaters. It's acrylic, and I'm making it for weaving into scarves on my Schacht Cricket loom.

I wasn't sure what to expect, so I started out with the sweater I liked the least from my thrift shop haul, and got this yarn as an end result. I'll edit in the wpi later.
On the niddy noddy, before setting the twist
Balls before plying.
On the Babe Production wheel.
I have not used Blogger in so long that I accidentally uploaded my pictures in the wrong order. Whoops. :)

So far, I'm pretty happy with this yarn. I don't know if I would knit with it, but my goal was to make a weaving yarn. I believe I could use this yarn right from the sweaters without plying it, and use the 12-dent heddle I bought separately, but a lot of us only have the 8-dent heddle that comes with the loom. By plying this yarn, I now have a thick enough yarn to use with the 8-dent. I have been reading that chenille yarns need to be woven fairly tightly to prevent "worming" in the finished piece.

I'll keep experimenting and posting my results. For now, I will continue to be semi-random in my posting habits, but soon you will see more from me. Look for a lot more posting activity from September on.