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Miss Crochet

Throwing away yarn - sigh

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Yes, that's me. I put an ad in our equivalent of Craig's List and have received a total of about 6 sacks of yarn. I have thrown away a total of five and a half sacks of yarn. Today a lady brought me by three sacks of yarn from her mother's house and, after looking through it, I disinfected my hands and brought it downstairs to the bin. The thought was very kind, but the sacks were full of musty-smelling tiny balls of scrap yarn - goodness knows how old and goodness knows what. They were dusty and dirty (the old lady probably couldn't see how dirty the yarn was) and all the balls were sorted by colour in old plastic bags that had been used to store fruit and vegetables. The effort required to wash, disinfect and re-wind this yarn is enormous; the cost - in terms of time and water and electricity - to make this yarn usable is just not worth it. So, with a heavy heart, I have to throw it all away. I know some people will suggest using it for animal shelter blankets and such, but I doubt that they'd be accepted over here (besides, the yarn is so stinky, it'd still have to be washed, disinfected and re-wound before I could bring myself to touch it). Besides, I have little time to crochet so I prefer to help the two-leggeds before the four-leggeds (sorry, owners of furbabies and such, but they just aren't my top priority for charity crafting :( )

 

Anyway, what's the upside of this? I've started using my scarp yarn and rigorously throwing away what I don't need and won't use again. Having seen how other yarn addicts have accummulated sacks of scraps, I've decided that I don't want to be the kind of old lady who leaves behind a mountain of grotty yarn balls. Use it or lose it, my new motto!!

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I too, have received sacks of yarn that was just too old, dirty, etc. to be used. You do feel bad just tossing them away, but sometimes, that's the only choice.

 

I do like your new motto. I think we do have a tendency to buy more than we need and we should try to use it up.

 

:manyheart

 

And are you feeling better? Has the nasty flu bug flown away?

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I ,fortunately, received some old yarn but it was as clean as could be.There were 42 whole skeins of various colors.

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I must admit that I was a quite bit annoyed - I have to pay for the disposal of these sacks of yarn and it annoys me that people don't look at it beforehand and think, "Would I wear something made from yarn that looks or smells like this? Would I put a baby in something made from this yarn?" And of course the answer is NO. It's grotty. And, yes, it's a pity to dump it ... but ... DUMP IT ANYWAY. There's the old saying that one person's trash is another person's treasure. Well it's true. But unfortunately another person's trash is still... trash.

 

I guess I'm fortunate in that respect because I can be quite cold-hearted about certain material things, like someone's bag of yarn. Yes, I appreciate the gesture and I accept it graciously and thankfully and then chuck it out. I think that people who have donated the yarn have done so with the best of intentions, but I fear that they're also thinking, "Well, she's only making scarves for homeless people" or "She's only making blankets for babies at the domestic abuse shelter..." - so it should be good enough for that purpose. Well, it's not. I want it to be as nice as I can make it, with the best yarn I can afford, BECAUSE it's for homeless people and battered women and abused children. :yes

 

Gosh, that turned into a bit of a rant. I'm sorry. :(

 

Linda: I'm getting better but not entirely fine. I've been working on blanket for myself all week because I didn't want to crochet for someone else while sneezing and wheezing. :D

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I really agree that this kind of thing makes me want to go ahead and USE my stash---nothing lasts forever and one day I may open a box to find my treasured yarn has deteriorated:eek

 

I've seen instances of people donating all kinds of things that are in horrible shape and no objective person would think they are still useable. Hard to believe what thrift store and charity sale volunteers have to sort through. I think people just aren't able to be objective about some possessions---especially if they are cleaning out their parents' or grandparents' belongings. They still see it as it was many years ago, not as it has changed over the years. They can't bear to throw it away, and feel they have redeemed it by donating it. I guess it's kind of a public service to dispose of it for them ;)

 

But what in the world was the lady thinking, storing her yarn in dirty veggie bags----that yarn would have been unusable within a few days as the goop sank into it!

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I've seen instances of people donating all kinds of things that are in horrible shape and no objective person would think they are still useable. Hard to believe what thrift store and charity sale volunteers have to sort through. I think people just aren't able to be objective about some possessions---especially if they are cleaning out their parents' or grandparents' belongings. They still see it as it was many years ago, not as it has changed over the years. They can't bear to throw it away, and feel they have redeemed it by donating it. I guess it's kind of a public service to dispose of it for them ;)

 

 

You're right, of course, and that's why I accept it with big smiles and discreetly dispose of it when the person has left :lol The sad thing is the amount of work that a fellow crafter will recognise in the yarn: all the winding, all the sorting. But because the previous owner of this last batch of yarn must have been quite old, she also didn't see the hairs (dog? cat? hamster? human?) and the dirty smudges. Yuck. I'm just sorry that her daughter, a knitter, who donated the yarn didn't stop to think. When she handed it over, she said she didn't want to keep it for herself - and when I looked at it, I understood why. I wish she had made the mental jump between "It's not good enough for me to use" and "It's probably not good enough for anyone else to work with, either".

 

We have an online swap-shop for our little city and you would be astonished at what is offered and what people wish for in return. People really don't have an objective estimation of their rubbish's value! :lol There are actually incredibly few charity shops (I've never seen any in Germany) because I think there are tight regulations about donations + selling for profit. An acquaintance in Ireland worked at one and they were very picky about what they took on. In fact, they even had a small sign at the counter that said something like, "We reserve the right to graciously decline your donation!" because of some of the stuff they were given. :(

 

Edited to add: the veggie bags were washed out, but still not the most sanitary choice. But that's the WWII generation: save every scrap of thread, yarn and string. Keep every bag and box. I really believe in recycling and ecological awareness, but I do draw the line at storing my yarn in carrot bags and those plastic nets you sell oranges in. And I certainly would NOT give yarn that has been stored like this for years (judging by the smell) to someone who has expressly asked for yarn to make things for babies :eek

Oh well, there's a trip to the dump planned for Monday...

Edited by Miss Crochet

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I completely agree with you re: the quality of things made for donation. My mother and I try very hard to make the blankets for Project Linus as beautiful as possible.These are for children, sick in hospital, or removed from dangerous domestic situations, or whose house has just burned down and they have lost everything. These kids need something extra special, something made with heart, not "something good enough for charity."

 

But my own sisters don't get it, and they were raised by the same parents as me. They are always telling my mother she should sell her blankets, not give them away. And I know my BIL is mentally adding up all the money she spends on yarn and subtracting it from my sister's inheritance. Well, it's my mother's money and she can spend it as she likes, and if she wants to spend all her money on yarn, more power to her. My sister always jokes that Mom needs to leave enough money to bury her. I then chime in with "Don't worry, Mom, I'll charge you. You don't need to save any."

 

I'm pretty heartless about throwing away yard sale yarn that's not worth the time and energy to wash and clean and rewind. Sounds like I've not encountered anything you have, though--veg bags, too funny. Poor little old lady, though.

 

Patty

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Yes, I agree with you completely. I was born in 1951 some years past the depression/WWII generation but I still have some of their traits. Its hard for me to throw some things away but have gotten better about throwing things out as the years have gone by. There was a motto (don't remember the exact wording) that was used a lot during the depression. It's something like this, Make it do, Use it up, Wear it out or do without. I have been trying to follow it. But I like your's also - Use it or lose it. Earlier this year I decided to make caps and scarves for the clothes closet at my church. I try to make them as pretty as I possibly can. I have a huge yarn stash that I have been digging into to make these items. Most of my stash comes from when I would be out shopping and see pretty yarn marked down that I just couldn't resist buying it thinking that I would find a use for it some day. When I decided to make these items for church I felt that maybe I had been buying all that yarn in preparation for this work. I just did not realize it at the time I was doing all of the buying.

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I just gave away the majority of my scrap stash. (which was a LOT of yarn)

 

I made sure to weed out the worn out cruddy yarn, and tossed what was really really bad...and all the scraps were nicely (loosely) wound yarn cakes that I did with my yarn winder. (easier to control cakes than round balls of yarn)

 

Yarn cakes are nice and stackable. The neighbor that took them for her daughter to knit scarves for homeless people was impressed with how nice the yarn looked. She kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to give it away. I'm sure. I'm doing some remodeling in my bedroom and the yarn was coming out of my ears, it was everywhere in the room, and there was no way for me to use it all.

 

So, I went thru my scrap stash, kept a few skeins and yarn cakes of some yarn for myself to make a scrap afghan, and gave the rest away. It was surprisingly easy to do and now that it's gone, I can justify buying more yarn. What I gave away was all Red Heart yarn, and since I've got MS and my hands seem to be going numb, I cant stand the feel of RH anymore. (I love Hobby Lobby's ILTY tho...much softer and nicer to my numb hands).

 

Now I have more room to store stuff, and I still have a massive stash of non-scrap yarn that I need to use up. (so, maybe I cant really justify buying more new yarn)

 

Plus, my dad knits and he's not had to buy much yarn for his projects because he goes "shopping" in my yarn stash. Amazing how many afghans he's knitted in the past year. More than I've crocheted. (I havent done much because of the MS picking on me this year)

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I have made afghans for our local pet shelter by using up tons of yarn scraps and knotting them together. As long as the scraps are 18" or longer I use them. If your scrap yarns are good but too small for anything else, you can also add it to your stuffing mix when you make toys, pin cushions etc..

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Our pet shelter doesn't take anything like this. They're quite strict about stuff like that, for hygiene reasons and so on. Goodness knows, I'm not even sure if this yarn is flea-free. Besides, before I'd even touch the yarn, I'd have to wash it and I don't think it's worth the time and resources.

 

Most of all, though, I really prefer to crochet for humans first and animals second :( Sorry animal lovers but I don't have any pets so my heart really lies with charities that support people in need. Yes, I know, I'm a mean wench...

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