Today’s Fortune: Your artistic talents win the approval and applause of others.
Hey! Confucious is right again!! He must know that me and Dharma have been helping Mom compete in the Ravelympics! Ravelympics is just like the Olympics, only with yarn. And no snow.
Ravelympics is taking place on Ravelry. That is Mom’s favorite place to hang out. The Ravelympics started at the same time as the Olympics, and they will have their closing ceremonies tonight. They have all kinds of events that you can compete in. Mom decided to enter the Aerial Unwind, Downhill Dying, and WIPs Dancing events. I asked if I could help, because I hate to miss out on fun stuff.
Two of our entries were sweaters that Mom bought at the “Thrift Store.” That is where you go and find clothes and stuff that nobody wants anymore. We rescued two very nice sweaters, and Mom said we were going to “recycle” them. That is where you take something that nobody wants anymore, and turn it into something that somebody can use. We turned these sweaters into yarn. Lots and lots of yarn.
The first sweater was a great big Land’s End men’s sweater. Size XL. XL sweaters take a lot of yarn to make, and this was 100% cotton worsted weight in a nice sage green color. This is what it looked like before we took it apart:
Mom started unraveling it, and winding it on to a thing called a “swift.” A swift is like a merry-go-round for yarn. You can turn it with the handle on the top, and make the yarn into tied-off bundles called “hanks.” I like the swift a lot. It is fun to ride on.
When we were done, there were 11 hanks, and each had 200 yards. Mom says 2,200 yards of yarn for a $10 investment is a great bargain! I know this is true, because I have seen how much she pays for some of her yarns at the yarn shops.
When you unwind the yarn it is very curly. You have to soak it in water and then hang it to dry to take some of the curliness out of it. Mom has a metal rack for drying stuff on. We sure wound up with a bunch of yarn from this sweater!
After the yarn is dry, you can either twist it up to keep it tidy, or you can wind it into balls. Mom has a nifty gadget called a “ball winder.” It winds the yarn into nice tidy cakes that you can stack in trunks or baskets until you are ready to use them. Mom says this is “efficient”. Mom winds all of her yarn into cakes. She is all about efficient. She has yarn cakes stashed all over the place, but they always look neat and tidy.
Here is what our recycled sweater looks like now that it is unraveled and ready to make something good:
We did the same thing with an aqua Ralph Lauren sweater that we rescued from the thrift store. It is made from 100% cotton, too, but this one is called “fingering weight.” That means it is not as thick and heavy as the green yarn. It is really soft, and Mom is planning to make a dress from this one.
This one was a little bit tougher though, because it had “RL” embroidered on it. Before you can unravel it, you have to cut that part out, without cutting the yarn. Mom did not let me help with that part, because you have to use really sharp tools. She used scissors and a thing called a “seam ripper” to get the stitches out. It took her over an hour, and she was pretty cranky by the time she was done with it.
There was way more yarn in this sweater than we thought there would be – it was a ladies sweater, and it was only a size L, but it just kept unraveling and unraveling. I got so dizzy on the swift, I fell over.
We wound up with 13 hanks of curly yarn from this one! That is 2600 yards of yarn. Mom says she can almost make two dresses out of that much yarn.
We soaked these down, too, and hung them up to dry. The novelty of this had really worn off after the green sweater. If you decide to do this, take my advice. Watching yarn dry is no fun, so you should just hang it up and go play Bananagrams or something, until it is ready to wind into cakes.
Winding this one took a while…. when I was done, there were thirteen cakes of yarn. That is also a great bargain for a $10 investment. I like recycling!! Tearing up a sweater and getting good yarn is hard to beat!
When you finish a project in Ravelympics, you post it to the Finish Line thread, and then, in a few hours, you get a message that you have been called to The Podium to receive your medal! I got two gold medals for tearing up old sweaters that nobody wanted, and turning them into good yarn! That is one of the best deals I ever heard of!!
Mom had five projects that were in various stages of completion that she just did not like anymore. She told me and Dharma we could “frog” them. Frogging is just unravelling. It is called frogging, because you “rippit, rippit.” (Even I think that is a silly joke.) Anyway, Mom said we could tear those up, too, and get the yarn back in her stash. We knew we would also get more gold medals, so we got right to work!
There was a really ugly sweater that Mom made a couple of years ago. It did not fit her at all, and she just tossed it aside. This is what it looked like before we frogged it:
And we turned it into six cakes of Berroco Variegated Cotton Twist. (That is what the yarn is called. I did not make up the name. If I had, it would have been more fun.)
The next one was a jacket that has been half-finished for almost a year. Mom was really glad for us to frog this one, because it had a bunch of her stitch holders on it, and she was ready to get those back.
We turned that half-finished jacket into 10 skeins of di. Ve’ Teseo. (Again, I did not name the yarn. Too bad for di.Ve’ Teseo.)
There was a black sweater with tan flecks in it. Mom says that is called “tweed.” This yarn is very soft. It is made from alpacas, just like the ones we saw at the alpaca farm. Mom got the sweater all done, except for the collar, and then decided she did not like it anymore. She would rather have the yarn to make something she really loves.
We were happy to help! We turned that unfinished sweater into 7 cakes of Plymouth Yarn Paca Tweed. (At least that name makes sense, even if it is kind of boring.)
There was another “UFO” that Mom asked us to frog. UFO means “Un-Finished Object.” I have figured out that Ravelympics is really good for my vocabulary, too! This one was the back of a hoodie that Mom started knitting several months ago, but she already has two hoodies knitted from this pattern, so she decided she would rather make something else out of the yarn.
I started to tell her to make this into a blanket for me and Dharma, but then I felt it. It was itchy and scratchy. Mom says this is good old crunchy wool. I don’t much care for it. She can have it.
When we took it apart, we had one cake of the gold and one cake of the brick color to put with the others that Mom had set aside for the hoodie. This is Christopher Sheep Farm yarn that Mom bought when we were in Ashevegas last summer.
The last one we got to tear up was a crocheted hoodie Mom started in August. She does not remember why she put it aside – she only knows that she doesn’t love it anymore and wants her yarn back. And her buttons.
We wound up with seven skeins of Noro Taiyo for Mom to put back in her stash. (Noro comes from Japan. We expect them to have strange names for yarn.)
We didn’t have to do anything with the three turquoise balls of Plymouth Tweed. They were for the cuffs and trim that Mom never got to.
I guess I will have to talk about the other Ravelympics events tomorrow, because Mom says I have blogged enough for one day.
We had lots of fun helping Mom with her projects, and after the closing ceremonies tonight, we will have won seven gold medals just for tearing up sweaters! Mom gets new yarn, and we get medals! Win/Win!!!
Today’s Vocabulary Words: Thrift Store, recycle, swift, hanks, ball winder, efficient, fingering weight, seam ripper, frogging, tweed, UFO