November 15, 2005
Just a little pop quiz
Die, poorly fitting pink sweater, die!!!
I’ve had this 100% wool JCrew sweater for many, many years now, and at some point or another the lack of shaping and sleeves that are too long finally annoyed me enough to put it in the “donations” bag. There it sat for at least a year as I plucked other clothes out of the bag and actually made donations… I just couldn’t part with this particular sweater, but at the same time, I couldn’t put it back into the closet either.
There are two reasons I couldn’t easily give away this sweater. First, contrary to what you may think, not all pink looks good on me (gasp!). This particular tweedy pink, which (hey, Betsy!) borders on rhubarb, I find very flattering to my bluish skin tone. So, if I was to knit something for myself out of this yarn, I know ahead of time that the color would look good on me. Second, being highly sensitive to all animal fibers, and downright allergic to some of them, I couldn’t dismiss the fact that I could wear this non-merino wool sweater over a t-shirt for many years. Let’s face it – that’s just a yarn ball band short of a miracle!
So, I decided to recycle the yarn from this sweater. Winding onto my arm, as I typically would when frogging, seemed restricting, since it would leave only one arm to manipulate the sweater. I heard of devices used for winding skeins of yarn called Niddy Noddies and June suggested to check Mind’s Eye Yarns, a new-to-me LYS, to see if they had one.
Score! I got this Ashford Niddy Noddy for a very reasonable price.
Question 1: Why did my Niddy Noddy come with a little piece of sand paper?
When checking out, the LYSO asked me if I had seen all the fiber in the other room. I answered, “yes, but I’m not a spinner.” A quizzical look followed.
Question 2: Do only spinners buy Niddy Noddies?
A properly armed woman is a dangerous, dangerous thing.
With the exception of a few wrong snips here and there (good thing I’m not a medical doctor!), frogging was painless, and the Niddy Noddy worked out great! I recovered most of the yarn, but there was a surprising number of cleverly-hidden knots that I chose to cut out. Also, there were plenty of little pieces of hay or other VM – always causes a “precious!” reaction from me, since it reminds me where the wool comes from :).
So, what’s the bottom line? I recovered 237.4 grams of yarn, which is about 1130 yards, plus another 100 yards in those little scrappy balls in the middle of the picture. The yarn is two-ply, and approximately fingering weight, I’d knit it on US 2-3 (the gauge was 6.5 spi, 11 rpi in the original sweater). What am I going to make from it? I don’t even have a sense of scale!!! Is this enough for a hat, a scarf, a vest, a baby sweater, an adult sweater? Beats me!
Question 3: For those of you who have recycled store-bought, machine-knit sweaters, and have actually hand-knit something from the recycled yarn, were you able to get a garment of the same size? Smaller? Larger?
The yarn is slightly felted and seems fragile, which is a bit disconcerting. Maybe it would be stronger doubled? Doubling certainly makes this yarn better suited for sweater knitting… or at least sweater knitting in a reasonable amount of time.
Question 4: For those of you who have recycled store-bought, machine-knit sweaters, did you end up doubling the yarn so that you could knit on reasonably-sized needles?
I await your answers before deciding what to do with all this pink goodness. And as with my real-life students, this pop quiz will be graded. HARSHLY.