Recycled Wool!
Something New From Something Old!

What does 'recycled wool' make you think of? At first I thought about old sweaters shrunk in the wash. Cut them up and you can make all kinds of things. Then I started to research and here's what I found...

Manufacturers have had problems keeping up with the demand for wool products. They have had to add recycled wool fibers to their products just to keep up production.

This sometimes affects the resulting yarn or fabric by making it a little more harsh or fuzzy. The recycled fiber is of a shorter length than new wool. If you shake your garment or yarn and little bits fall off, the likelihood is that it has recycled content.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as recycled wool fibers can make the end product more hard wearing and therefore longer lasting.

I have discovered a few really good looking yarns made from recycled fibers. You can find cotton blended with a little nylon for strength. It looks gorgeous in heathered tones.

I've also found recycled rayon and silk yarns. These are spun from recycled sari fabric. The colors are just incredible and no two skeins are the same. I need to get hold of some of these yarns to play around with!

There's never enough hours in the day for crafts! I need 48 hour days - 24 is just not long enough!

I have pulled out sweaters I've knitted to give me recycled wool. I sometimes had problems undoing them as I'd sewn them up so well that I couldn't find the stitching! "That's not a bad fault!" my Mom would say!

It's easy enough to get the yarn back to a useable state. If it's not too crimped due to a heavy pattern, then you can just wind it tightly into a ball and leave it that way a while.

If you'd rather straighten your yarn better, then you need to wind it into hanks or big loops. I've wound recycled wool around the back of a chair or around my knees before. Tie short pieces of yarn loosely around it at intervals around the hank or you'll end up with a nighmare to untangle!

You basically just need it in a loop so you can soak it a while in warm water. Once you've soaked it (just a few minutes to let the yarn absorb the water), lift it out and squeeze out the water. Don't wring out yarn! Wrap it in a towel and squeeze out more moisture.

Take it out of the towel and hang it over a door knob or a plastic hanger. This gives it a little tension to help pull out the kinks. It likely won't go back to pre-use straightness, but it will make your recycled wool easier to work with. Hook a plastic clothes hanger with a weight on (a bag of yarn or a sweater) through the bottom of the hank for a litte extra tension.

Did you know - recycled wool sweaters are often cut up and made into cloth diaper or nappy covers called 'wool soakers'? Wool is so great at soaking up water without actually feeling wet - of course it's a great idea if you're into cloth diapers!

Some folks make sure their recycled wool is felted, so it can't fray, then cut it into strips and use it to hook or braid rugs. We'll cover those techniques on another page.

If you cut your wool strips pretty thin you could even use large knitting needles or crochet hooks and work them up that way! Or even weave them! WOW! Recycled wool is so versatile - there must be a hundred uses - or more! If you can think it - do it! Work out a way!

Do you want to know how to felt wool in your washing machine?

Check out these easy instructions and be working with felted wool in no time!

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