Learning to reduce, reuse and recycle through knitting, crochet

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By Donna Thornton/News Editor

The friendly staff at The Taming of the Ewe is happy to sell you the best yarns and tools for knitting and crochet, but they also want to help you learn to make your own “yarn” and to recycle materials that might otherwise go to waste.

Detta Goodman and Becky Kunkel offered a class on Aug. 24 to teach people to make their own yarn out of old t-shirts and plastic bags. A second class will be offered Aug. 31 at 12 p.m., teaching how to make the yarn and how to use it.

Store founder Pat Miller said they offer a lot of recycled material, like recycled sari silk, and some yarns made from recycled jeans.

Some of the recycling processes that produce the yarns are complex, but the process for recycling t-shirts is not. For t-shirts and bags, it involves knowing how to cut off the bottom of the shirt, then fold it and cut it so that it makes a continuous strip of material about 1.5 inches wide.

Using the bottom of an XL size shirt, Kunkel and Goodman produced about 23 yards of yarn.

“It might take several t-shirts to make something of some size,” Goodman said, “but what have you spent? Your time.”

The parts of shirts or plastic bags not used for yarn can be used for other projects — stuffing for pillows, or to fluff up some window treatments.

For both Goodman and Kunkel, their goal is to keep as much material as possible out of garbage cans and landfills. They want to teach others the way they’ve used their passion for working with yarn to achieve their desire to recycle.

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