Knitting Centered Blog Regarding All Things Design Related

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

T-shirt yarn swatching

Even though the t-shirt yarn class I am taking (which ends next Monday) comes with four custom (and customizable) patterns that Stefanie designed specifically for the class, I wanted to swatch some of my yarn just to get an idea of how it looks. I knitted up one of the balls on size 10.5 needles:

Click photo to enlarge!

As you can see, the lowest portion is garter stitch, which looks good. The middle section, the stockinette, I am most impressed with. It looks really nice for what this yarn started out as! However, seed stitch (the uppermost portion next to the needle) is not this yarn's friend. It looks like crap. Which is OK, not every stitch is for every yarn.

The lightest weight yarn you can really make without breaking the material is about a heavy worsted. I would say what I have knitted up here is a bulky. The most WPI I have been able to get is 6.5, and this yarn is about 5.5 WPI (wraps per inch - wrap the yarn around a ruler and it helps you get an idea of yarn weight - fewer wraps = heavier yarn).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Upcycled T-shirt Yarn Class

I am taking Stefanie Japel's online class for recycling old t-shirts into yarn. Well, I guess it's really any t-shirt, not necessarily old. I am really enjoying the techniques we are learning. Basically, you chop up a cotton tee into a spiral (she shows us a really quick method for doing this) and pull the strip of cotton and it curls into a tube. I made and dyed my first batch of yarn this weekend.

This is what I am starting with. A pile of my husband's old undershirts. I had been collecting them for dust cloths, and really don't need 57 dust cloths.

They have a future as beautiful cotton yarn. Well, the torso from the armpit down of each of these does, at least.

I used one of those teenybopper tie dye kits. The color stays bright and you just add water.

I had a couple of hanks already cut into yarn.

I also had some shirt torsos and dyed those. They will be cut into yarn after dyeing.

Yarn burritos!

The finished product (some of it):

First time dyeing yarn, I'm pretty happy with it. I am learning a lot about dyeing plant fiber versus animal fiber (like wool). You can't dye cotton with things you would dye wool with, like Kool-Aid, acid dyes, or cake dye. I watered the dye down in cups and applied it with foam brushes, as I wanted a muted color. I might overdye some of this with tea to see how that mutes it even more. Hopefully I will have some FOs from this yarn to show soon!