I'm very excited to show the results of my second upcycled sweater project! Some of you may recall that the first one did not go too well because I had inadvertently picked out the wrong sweater for this kind of project. The second attempt was definitely not a failure!
This whole adventure came about as a result of my going to Goodwill (or Mennonite thrift stores, those people know what quality is) and happening to stumble across a large, men's L size, 100% cashmere sweater for $4.28 (includes tax).
Let me share this little secret, if you want good sweaters to upcycle, don't even bother with the women's section because the men's section is where it's at. As a whole the sweaters are often cheaper, larger, and usually hardly worn (why don't American men know that sweaters are sexy?).
My mother and I had a nice time unraveling this one and then I plyed, and plyed, and plyed, which is why I'm contemplating building an Arduino microcontroller based e-spinner (don't worry, I would continue to spin my handspun by spindle, I love the process so much). I plyed the yarn together because on it's own, it was brittle and unbalanced.
This ended up as a 4-ply, 100% cashmere (assuming average quality), worsted weight yarn in a pretty gray color that I don't think I will dye simply because it is a color I don't see a whole lot in yarn colorways. I ended up with 265 grams and ~ 1,100 yards of yarn total. I wish that I had kept track of how many hours this project took with the unraveling and plying, but sadly I did not.
I was interested to see how much money I likely saved by doing it this way (not counting labor), and so I did some rough calculations against what I'm assuming is a comparable yarn: Jade Sapphire Mongolian 6-Ply (which I haven't tried, but am definitely tempted to if only the price weren't out of my reach).
New, store bought cashmere yarn: 150 yards, 55 grams --> $45.00 a skein (before tax)
Upcycled thrift store cashmere yarn: 220 yards, 55 grams --> $1.13 a skein (including tax)
Even if the resulting yarn is not of comparable quality (which I can kind of sense by touch), that is a huge savings and allows me to knit with a luxury fiber! This is a really fun and rewarding process and I would highly recommend it, just be sure to follow my upcycled sweater rules.