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Works for Me Wednesday: Recycled Yarn
Wow, it's my 200th post! That's wonderful.

Today's Works for Me Wednesday is about recycled yarn.

We had to figure out what to do with yarn, because we had it coming out the wazoo.

Let me explain. Our family, including my mother, travels to Africa frequently to work at the Mulli Children's Home, home to 1000 orphaned children. They do such an incredible job there, and I have never felt God so present anywhere on earth as I do in that place.

One of the things my mother and I have been doing is starting a knitting program for some of the teenage girls so they can earn money later. They have a huge sewing program, but everybody sews already. Nobody knits. So we've been sending over knitting machines and containers full of yarn. We put the word out that we wanted yarn, and it just keeps showing up. Every week my mother still gets garbage bags full at her door. We have so much yarn we don't know what to do with it. Most of it is just a ball of this and a ball of that, so we've had to figure out some patterns for it.

While there, we made some beautiful striped sweaters on the machine, like these ones:

I taught them how to use the machines, and voila! I especially like the one on the left. We made it in less than a day. But that's what you do when you don't have much yarn.

On the home front, though, we've also been trying to turn yarn into cash for the orphanage. A few Queen's University students have volunteered to sell stuff for us next year at Homecoming, so yesterday my mother and I made sample scraf kits. This is where the recycled yarn really gets interesting.

Queen's colours are red, blue and yellow. Sounds awful, I know, but they didn't ask my opinion. So we took those yarns and we started combining three yarns at a time to create more interesting yarns (most of the stuff that's donated looks awful on its own). Add a few "furry" or "fuzzy" yarns in, and it gets quite lovely.

Here's the ball we made:

Looks really nice, doesn't it? And it mostly was made from crap, if you don't mind me saying. So if you have little bits of this and little bits of that, you can twist them together, combine yarn, and come up with something that's lovely.

We started knitting the scarf yesterday. Here it is so far (Katie, my 10-year-old, and I are very fast knitters):

(Note for knitters: I know some of the colour changes were on the "wrong" side when they should have been on the right side. I wouldn't normally do this, but we're trying to create a continuous skein that the students can knit on their own, without constantly adding colours, so the colour changes just fall where they may. And since this is a sample, we had to show it how it actually will look). We're going to leave the ends hanging and then add fringe, and maybe even tie some beads on some of the ends from the colour changes.

That's not all you can make by combining three yarns together, either. Here's a baby poncho I did (I haven't worked the ends in yet):

And here's a blanket I'm working on. I just need to crochet the top band in navy and work the ends in and then I'm done:

The point is that if you mix three yarns together, they make something much more interesting. And so even relatively ugly yarns, or uncomfortable yarns, can be used because they'll be masked by other things. It's quite fun, actually. I've also made adult ponchos and baby blankets, and the baby blankets sell for quite a lot of money. They look like one of a kind.

In the blanket, the navies that are bordering all the squares aren't even all the same. I just kept picking up new navies to use when I ran out. It really doesn't matter.

So use up your scraps! Another friend of mine goes to Goodwill and buys handknit sweaters just to unravel them and use the yarn. It's an inexpensive way of getting yarn! After you've unravelled it, wet it, and microwave for a few minutes on low and the kinks will come out. You can look for instructions on that through Google.

Anyway, hope I gave you some inspiration!

Thanks for stopping by! Why not stay for a while? I've got posts on marriage, mothering, summer, and more!

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At 3:54 PM , Blogger Ann-Marie MacKay said…

Yeah for yarn!

Those scarf projects kits sound like a great idea!!



At 2:16 PM , Blogger Jodi said…

man, I wish you lived nearby (in SC) so that I could come knit with you! I only know the basics but so want to learn more! Maybe one of these days!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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