#26* Share Your Expertise.

Chez VV YarnHave I told you my cool and cheap way of building my stash without breaking the bank?  For under $10 you can have 2-3 skeins of soft, beautiful cotton yarn in a lovely rich colours. Thick, warm chunky wools all pre-shrunk and weather-worn.  Even soft, fuzzy angoras to give you that sexy sweater look for all the right reason.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Head on over to the nearest Value Village and start cruising the sweater racks. If that’s too low rent for you, check out the sweaters in the sale racks at Old Navy, H&M, and/or the Gap.  Or what the heck, check out your closet for old sweaters that can be repurposed.
  • Find a sweater with the colour or yarn or texture you want to work with (or price you are willing to pay.)
  • Buy the largest size they have available. The bigger the size, the more yarn you get out of it.
  • Once you are home, rip out all the seams, until you have a stack of separate pieces.  I generally use a seam ripper for this, but a small sharp pair of scissors or paring knife would work too.
  • Then start ripping out the knitting, just like you would if you realized after casting off that you screwed up in the middle of your sweater.
  • More YarnBall it up and then you can start knitting something brand new.

A couple of things to check:

  1. inspect the seams to make sure the sweater has been knit in sections which have been joined.  Some of the fine knit sweaters are cut and sewn together like fabric, so the longest strand of yarn you will get is about double the width of the sweater.
  2. sweaters are sometimes cheaper on the retail sales rack than from a second hand store and you can get almost current colours too.
  3. watch for double strand knits.  The strategy still works, but you have to pull out both strands at the same time.
  4. the collars and cuffs are sometimes sewn on as separate pieces, which you’ll need to remove before pulling it apart.


Interested in other redesign options? Value Village has a set of DIY Fashion Redesign suggestions, and a MySpace page for Redesigners too.

Lunch: skipped entirely


*Back on “No One Cares…” track, I have unilaterally decided that religiously following the list sequentially would slow me down. Besides, I had to skip #4 Exploit The Youth because I don’t have easy access to youth to exploit.

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

5 thoughts on “#26* Share Your Expertise.

  • November 6, 2006 at 4:34 am

    Problem: when clicking on your link, all I get is a weird Dotster site talking about chocolate. As much as I LOVE chocolate, I wanted to read about yarn :0(

  • November 6, 2006 at 11:09 am

    Excellent tips! And there’s a Value Village not far from here . . .

  • November 6, 2006 at 7:42 am

    Haha… I have heard of the wonders of recycled yarn, but never tried it myself! I hear the older Gap sweaters are usually made without cutting, so they make for good recycling.

    Love that basketweave stitch you’re doing.

    • November 6, 2006 at 10:32 am

      BoonzaierBabe – I think the link works now, though
      I’m not sure why it didn’t before. Just to be safe the full url is https://www.unsweetened.ca/unsweetened/2006/11/26_share_your_e.html

      – It’s well worth trying if the knitting bug hits and you can’t get to
      (or afford Romni Wool.)
      re: cutting – I find the heavier grade yarns are usually pieced as well. I was going to take a photo of a good seam vrs a bad seam for this purpose, but couldn’t get the lighting right.

      When I was in Ottawa, I picked up 3 summer
      weight XL sweaters from Old Navy for about $6 each. The basketweave is
      one of the yarns and I’ve gotten about 6 feet of scarf out of 1/2 the
      yarn. I haven’t ever had a knitting-jones bad that I need to cast onto
      chopsticks… but I’ve been close.


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