Getting the Kinks Out

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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2008

I don't know about you, but every once in awhile I get about halfway through a project and then decide that I just don't like it anymore... In my early knitting career, I used to just keep plugging along - striving to live by my father's words of "you need to finish what you've started." Somewhere along the way, I had an epiphany and decided that my time (and yours!) is just too valuable to be spent on knitting things I don't like. As painful as it is to rip out my hard work, I've accepted those first few hours as a sunk cost (refer back to Econ 101 for more on sunk costs!). More often than not, I delay the 'ripping' for as long as I can stand it. When I finally get around to it, I've noticed that the yarn looks 'frogged' - it's bumpy and curvy - and not very appealing (like a frog). The last time this happened, I consulted with our retail store manager Jeanne and this is what she told me to do:

  • First, put the yarn back into a hank by winding it loosely around your arm; just like you would a long electrical cord. The "winding it loosely around your arm" part is important.

  • Take it off of your arm carefully and lay it on a table.

  • Tie it with some waste yarn in 2-3 places (not too tightly) just to hold the strands together.

  • Set it in cool water with just a bit of gentle soap for about 20 minutes.

  • Rinse it and squeeze the water out, being careful not to tangle the strands.

  • Set it on a towel and roll the yarn up to get the excess water out of the yarn.

  • Hang it over a hanger (plastic is preferable, but if you don't have a plastic hanger you can use a rag around the neck of the hanger, so it won't rust on your yarn) and hang it in the shower to drip. It is sometimes helpful to hang a weight on the bottom of the yarn - I find that a heavy wooden suit hanger is perfect for the job. Again, you will want to protect the yarn from rust by placing a rag between the hanger and the yarn.

  • Once it dries, you can use that beautiful yarn to knit something else!

Getting the kinks out 1 Getting the kinks out 2

Did you know that back in the 'old' days when money was scarce and buying new yarn wasn't in the budget, garments would be 'frogged' making the yarn available for a new and useful piece. In fact, our very own Sandy often scours the thrift stores - looking for sweaters made from luxurious fibers... she unravels them, washes the yarn and then uses them for one of her own creations! She loves the adventure and excitement of finding a hidden treasure!

Posted by Jimmy (Laura) of Jimmy Beans Wool

Thanks to Mary for another great "defrogging" idea:
"I had a very revered older friend who, years ago, taught me how to revive yarn from a project. She had me wind it around a two liter empty bottle of soda like you were winding a ball of yarn. Then place it under running water from the tap until the yarn was well saturated, Then squeeze as much water as possible from the yarn while it is still on the bottle. Set it aside and let it dry. Then you can wind it into a ball. This took out all the lumps and bumps, even from synthetic yarns. Give it a try next time you need to defrog some yarn."

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