Leave with $5.00 come home with recoverable cashmere.
My thought process when I am shopping for a yarn donor isn’t very detailed, but here are some things you may want to consider to make your endeavor worthwhile. I’m lucky that the Salvation Army in my hometown is HUGE and their prices are very, very good. I stick to the Salvation Army because their selection is always abundant, their hours are great and the history of their charity is solid. So off we go!! Once I get there I look for the color of the day- which means that item is 50% off. Today it was purple, and tan was 25% off. Be thoughtful in your selections, this is a time consuming process, there will be more-start with one or two!!
Sweater section first and then I will wander through the regular shirt section as I often find the silk knits in the normal shirt section. Check the men’s section too! This particular store organizes by type and garment color, and they really do a great job keeping items organized!
I am looking at color first, then I will look at the garments label. I deliberately choose solid color sweaters because Fair Isle sweaters and those with frequent striping, are often cut and sewn, and/or will yield short lengths of yarn which is not useful, unless you are going to spin a novelty yarn with these short bits.
If it has more than 30% synthetic then I won’t consider it. The less synthetic the better, removing the strands of nylon or spandex can prove irritating and lengthy- but for the right yarn it’s a worthwhile task. I also stay away from yarns blended with cotton or polyester, as they can create challenges for care and color dye processing.
Once I have found a contender, then I have to look at its seams and construction. I have to make sure that the item is knit in pieces and seamed or knit in the round. Machine surged edges are an indication that the piece was knit, cut and seamed, meaning you will not get a continuous strand of yarn. Don’t choose these. Check the garment for obvious stains, felting, and holes, I don’t try to remove stains, I just won’t purchase that item. Holes, depending on their size and location is not a show stopper, it just means that section will have a break in the yarn. Any felted or excessive pilling areas will not be useful for recovering yarn, but if your goal is to felt cut and machine sew, then fabric felting and seam types are not as important.
Watch out for logos embroidered on the chest or sleeve, if it’s been embroidered through, that whole section width and height, will not be recoverable. So I stay away from those.
Type of stitch is also a factor in my choice, sweaters that have cables, for instance, contain more yarn! That’s a bonus. (of course you should be able to identify if it is a knit stitch, vs weaving, crochet, etc.)
Now the most important question, how does it feel? If the yarn is scratchy, that means there is a disproportionate amount of guard hair in the fiber or the fiber contains many second cuts (shorter fibers in the yarn that stick out from the spun fibers, indicating lower quality. You aren’t going to change that. If it doesn’t feel good to you, then it won’t feel good to anyone else. The caveat here is-what are you making? If you are repurposing the sweater into felted boot liners or felted items like coasters or bags, for instance, (the topic of another post to come) that may not matter so much.
Once you get them home, take pictures of the label and care labels, and get ready to start! Happy Shopping!
Which one did I choose? Stay tuned!