How can I get the crimps out of reclaimed yarn?

We’ve had an email from Jill with a question that I’m hoping our wonderful legion of crafters will be able to answer:

I’ve recently unravelled a jumper I knitted many years ago. The wool is good quality and now ready to use again. I can’t get the crimp out of the man made fibre yarn. It’s also good quality and I’d really like to use it again. I’ve washed it and hung it out to dry but the crimp is still there. Have you any suggestions?

I’ve not unravelled that many things (due to a lack of materials not a lack of desire, frogging really appeals to my OCD) so haven’t had that much experience with resistant crimping – one jumper was sorted after a wash and dry cycle; the gentle tension of winding it into a ball was enough for another (a cotton one).

So any experienced yarn reclaimers got any advice?

(CCA photo by StefwithanF)

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4 Responses to “How can I get the crimps out of reclaimed yarn?”

  1. rowan says:

    Wind the wool into a long hank, go hand to elbow like coiling up a rope. Tie the hank in 2 or 3 places to secure then get it wet and hang the hank up and weight it down. I use a butchers hook to attach the hank to the show rail and then I put a can of bean or whatever in a bag and use another ‘S’ hook to attach that to the bottom of the hank. Let it drip dry and the yarn will be like new!

  2. Kara says:

    I’d like to add that if you are going to do a *lot* of sweater unraveling, it’s worth it to get a yarn skeiner or swift. Some yarns may have to be soaked in very hot water to relax the kinks; just be gentle with it in the water so it doesn’t felt (if it’s made with animal fibers). Many manmade fiber yarns were made sort of kinked to begin with, so those kinks will not straighten out. I’ve knit several things without bothering to unkink the yarn and it adds a slight texture to plain knitting.

  3. Taphophile says:

    There is a useful tutorial on recycling yarn here . However, PLEASE do not weight wet hanks of yarn to get the kinks out, particularly if it is wool. One of the properties of wool is it’s natural elasticity/memory. Weighting it wet destroys this property to various extents and gives you a less than ideal yarn. Once you’ve reknitted the yarn and blocked the resulting item, you won’t notice the “kinky” yarn.

    I fill a sink or the laundry tub with very hot water and if the yarn is dirty, add a small amount of wool wash detergent (or hair conditioner) and leave it until the water cools. Do not agitate the yarn because it may felt. Once the water has cooled, I remove the hanks and place them around the base of my top loading washing machine and go through a spin cycle to remove as much of the water as possible without agitation. If you don’t have access to a top loader, wrap each skein lengthwise in a clean towel and wring as much of the water out as possible. I thread multiple hanks onto a broom handle and suspend over the shower recess or bath or, if the weather is fine, over the washing line in my back yard. Do not leave yarn in direct sunlight for too long, as it can fade the colours.

  4. RainDots says:

    The following link is a guide on how to get the yarn from a sweater, get the kinks out, and bundle it : )

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