This post is part of our series about small things you can make with what you’ve got to hand. Projects don’t always have to be big, complicated and involve buying lots of new and possibly expensive materials.
Let’s start with yarn. Making yarn might seem daunting but the truth is there are lots of simple ways to make it. You don’t need any special equipment to make yarn. Just scissors and maybe some handcards.
Let’s start with some old socks. You know the ones where the heels and toes have worn out but the rest of the sock is fine and even made out of some warm fluffy material? Do you throw these away? Or make them into yarn?
Start at the cuff and cut a spiral around and around the sock, avoiding bits that are worn.
This yarn can be knit up, but unless you have lots of identical socks you’re not going to get tons of yarn from a pair. I would use this yarn for rag weaving. (future post!)
Obviously you can cut up any fabric and make it into yarn. There’s a cool Saori-made tool called a Sakiori cutter designed specifically to cut fabric into long strips for weaving.
Silk hankies are squares made of cocoons that have been softened and then stretched onto a frame-layer upon layer. The hankies can be dyed and spun, but you can also use them for paper making or felting.
You can also knit straight from the hanky–no spinning! There are a lot of great youtube videos on silk hanky and silk cocoon uses. I’ve made a pinterest board showing some of them. Here’s a video on how to knit from the silk hankies–featuring a cat.
Silk hankies are cheaper than most silk you can buy to spin. You can even make your own. Here’s another helpful video if that’s something you’d like to try.
Finger-twisted ‘pencil’ roving
You don’t need to spin wool to make it into yarn. There are lots of roving-like (unspun) yarns on the market. Noro does one called Rainbow Roll. So does Alafoss an Icelandic yarn brand. It’s called Plotulopi. You can easily make your own using the finger twisting method or simply by pulling some combed wool through a diz.
I used my handcards to make some rolags which I then pulled out into a long, thin rope. You can knit right away, adding a little twist with your fingers as you go. Don’t worry if the yarn breaks. You can reattach it simply by twisting or rolling the two ends together with your fingers.