September 23, 2009

No Good Yarn Shall be left Behind!

Lately I've been addicted to Ravelry.  It's a "place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration" and most of the content is user-driven.  Recently I stumbled upon the Handknit Liberation Front.  I chuckled as I read their group description:
Do you ever find yourself distraught at a charity shop, thrift store, or yard sale, because you find some gorgeous piece of handknitting (or extremely good quality-machine knitting), but you have to pass it by because it’s not your size or color?
Are you disgusted by the unknown people who would relegate a perfectly wonderful piece of knitwork to a secondhand store, just because it has a few stains, which they lacked the ingenuity to either remove or cover up by dying?
Do you wail and gnash your teeth at a sweater kicked to the curb, simply because it has an unremovable stain, or holes due to vermin or burns, when there are so many meters of reusable yarn in a fabulous fiber that could be frogged and recycled, if only someone took the time and effort?
We are the Handknit Liberation Front (HaLF for short), and we believe that every piece of quality knitwear deserves a good home!
We will scour the secondhand stores, thrift/charity shops, and yard/garage sales of the world for the downtrodden, the cast off, and the forgotten, and we will elevate them and give them new life!
We will remove quality knitwear from the apathetic and ignorant (please note we do not advocate sweater-theft), and put it into the hands of people who truly understand it, and know how many hours of someone’s life that sweater represents!
We will wash and block used garments, so they look like new! We will identify mystery fibers! When we cannot clean, we will dye! When we cannot dye, we will frog! When we cannot frog, we will felt! No good yarn shall be left behind!
We will swap, both whole garments and recycled yarn! When we cannot swap, we will sell! When we cannot sell, we will give away! No good yarn shall be left behind!
We are the Handknit Liberation Front! This is our manifesto! Join us, and make it a better world for knitwear and fiber-freaks alike! (Crocheted garments and crocheters are naturally welcome as well.)

These sentiments definitely resonate with me; I do feel a little bit of sadness when I see a handmade blanket in the thrift store, no matter how ugly.
I've been making most of my fingerless gloves for the shop lately with upcycled yarns, here are just a couple recent ones:

The first ones (going clockwise) were made with a frogged (unraveled) Nepalese wool sweater, the 2nd ones were made with some thrifted vintage yarns, the 3rd ones were made with thrifted, hand dyed yarn, the 4th ones (cream colored) were made with a felted, upcycled sweater, and the last ones, I just finished, were made with thrifted yarns and then embellished and needle felted with my own handspun, hand dyed orange yarn.

no good yarn shall be left behind!


PrairiePeasant said...

Well that gave me a good chuckle because I also agree with it completely! Problem is, I have the same sentiments about paper. and fabric.

Your hand-dyed and frogged sets are my favourites, but all are lovely.

Tara said...

That's funny! I'm always rescuing wool sweaters from the thrift store! I felt the machine-knit ones and have a stack of handknit ones to unravel.
Although I feel sorry for the acryclic handknits, I just can't bring myself to touch them!

Kitty said...

what a great idea for the recycled yarn!

Paula said...

LOL, yes I agree. All the work that goes into handiwork and people just don't have any respect. I have found some amazing stuff at the thrift store. How could someone just get rid of something so beautiful? AND recycling the yarn sure does save money.

JuliaA said...

i've tried to unravel an old cashmere sweater that was stretched out--but i couldn't handle it. so i gave it to another raveller with more patience than i.

ravelry is the best!

OffTheHooks said...

the more i unravel, the more i love it! there's so many great materials out there in sweaters.
Julia, sometimes ya gotta just give up on some sweaters, even if they are cashmere!