So, the holidays? Long gone. The ironic bad sweater parties? Also gone. But your tattered, cable-knit Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sweater? Still occupying a bulky space in your drawer, where it shall remain until next year's bad sweater party.
Or, will it? Not if you ship it to Haik Avanian's mom, owner and operator of Reknit. For $30, Haik's mom will unravel your sweater and repurpose it into a brand new, handmade item. This month, she's making scarves. You can vote on the site for what she'll make next month: a beanie, socks, iPod case, or cut-off gloves.
I'm a big fan of recycled fashion and clothing stores, but I'll be the first to admit that the idea of taking apart your sweater to restitch its yarn into something else entirely was a novel, totally foreign concept to me. Not for Haik and his mom, though.
"The topic came up in conversation during the recent holiday break, and we decided to actually do something," says Haik. "My mom brought up the fact that it'd be interesting to share the concept of repurposing and reknitting yarn with everyone, since it's practical, fun and encourages more sustainable behavior. So after that, I conceptualized, designed, and launched the project within a week or so. The official launch date was January 4th, 2010, so it's fairly young."
We'd say so! And according to Haik, business is going well for this less-than-a-month-old company.
"We've gotten an extremely warm reaction from all over the world," says Haik. "[The site has] been getting a good amount of traffic and interaction with all sorts of people. An average sweater will take an hour or two to reclaim back to yarn, and then something like a sweater will be 3-4 hours of knitting. As far as how busy we are currently, I think we're still at a point where the turnaround time after my mom receives the old sweater will be around a week or so. We have my grandma' standing by as back-up in case things get out of hand."
Don't you love this idea (and this family)? I do. Not only for it's green aspect, but for its simplicity. I remember having that same "oh yeah - genius!" reaction the first time I heard about Tom's Shoes. Funny how some of the most basic business concepts end up being just what we need to solve complicated problems.
Anyway, if the idea of repurposed yarn appeals to you, but you want to make your own knit accessories, there are some great resources on Etsy. Lyndell Knits carries repurposed mocha tweed yarn from a "failed knitting project," North Street Crochet sells yarn repurposed from old t-shirts, and Recycle and Repurpose is basically the Overstock.com of leftover yarn.