HNW - recycling BPack55294 at
Tue Sep 15 05:31:37 PDT 1998

In a message dated 9/8/98 9:00:06 AM Eastern Daylight Time, pulliam at

<< Aside from parfilage (the practice of picking apart gold thread from
 fabric, whether knitted, woven or embroidered), which was quite a fad in
 the eighteenth century amongst the wealthy, I've never seen any evidence of
 items being unravelled and reknitted. There are probably several reasons
 for this--
 ---most knitting (in northern and western Europe, at least) was done in
 wool or silk. Silk was unpicked (see above) but then sold as precious
 metal, not thread. If you've ever examined a garment with gold thread,
 you'd see it really couldn't be unravelled and reused, especially if it was
 much worn. >>

      In India for centuries it has been common for the wedding saris, heavily
embroidered with gold, to be BURNED so the gold could be salvaged from the
garment!  (Obviously -- while we would ooooh and ahhhhh over the workmanship,
the gold was considered to be far more valuable, and also obvious --
sentimental value was out the window!)  
     Related to the unraveling issue -- at the Air Force Museum in Ohio, there
are examples of sweaters which were made by POWs in WWII.  When their knitted
garments developed holes in wear spots, some of these industrious fellows
would unravel their garments and make new, using two sticks for needles.  The
first person accounts from many of these fellows say that the knitting (having
a concrete goal in front of them and a purpose to work on each day) was what
maintained their sanity in an insane situation.  
     I would suspect that just from a practical standpoint, garments which
were unraveled for their yarn to be made into a new garment were garments
which were showing wear.  I can see this as being a far greater motivation
than simply wanting to knit and wear something more fashionable.  Why would
anyone unravel a perfectly good garment?  Conversely, why toss the yarn from a
garment which still has useable portions?  Practicality would be my
     Blessings to all today!
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