How to join ends of yarn together through felting

By Wednesday, March 09, 2016 , , , , ,

I have referenced this post on how to recycle yarn from old sweaters a lot. I reference it a lot for a few reasons including that it's an incredibly cost effective means for getting yarn, I like to recycle/reuse, and I go thrifting a decent amount (but less than I used to.)

On Valentine's Day, Carter and I went to one of our favorite Goodwills on the hunt for a cast iron skillet to cook our dinner's filet mignons and since we were already there, we looked around a little. It was a good day for me in terms of what I found, including this large, lambswool, GAP, fair isle sweater (note that I just used four adjectives to describe the sweater.):

So many colors!
After dinner and during the midseason premier of The Walking Dead, I got to work on dismantling the sweater. I rolled each color into different little balls. There are sixteen different colors going on in this sweater. This means lots of fun scrap yarn to make something colorful!

One thing about wool fiber is that it felts. This is a bad thing if you accidentally toss a cashmere/wool sweater in the dryer but it's a good thing if you are recycling yarn. If you want to take the time, you can eliminate joining ends together with knots and thus weaving in ends by felting the ends of strands together. You can do this with non-recyled yarn too as a technique for adding on another skein, you just need to make sure at least half of it is wool. This doesn't take too long either. You will spend under 30 seconds going two ends of yarn together through felting. Keep reading for the how to below...

What you'll need:
- Yarn 
- Warm water
- Dish Soap

How it's done:
- Dismantle your sweater using this tutorial

- If your yarn is plied, separate about an inch of the yarn ends into individual strands

This is a 3 ply yarn!

- Overlap the ends of each piece a little bit, around 2 inches

- Taking ends you want to join together, run both ends under warm water*

- Rub your palms together with the the yarn ends between them
- If you are having problems getting the yarn to fuse, use a little more warm water and add some dish soap. The soap helps add a little more friction

These two pieces are now joined.

- I like to give a little test tug on the join. If the pieces pull apart, I restart the process. It's a pain to redo a piece but it didn't happen too often. Of all the joins I made from the 16 colors featured in the fair isle sweater, I only had to go back to the sink for one join that pulled apart as I was winding these into hanks. I would have been doing it a lot more if I hadn't tested the joins.

A little test tug. 

This took some time because all all the individual pieces in the fair isle sweater but in general for joining yarn ends together for regular skeins, this is not a lot of work!

*IMPORTANT: Don't get all of the yarn wet, just THE ENDS OF THE YARN should be.