How to sort out mystery yarn?

Okay, I went to Salvation Army yesterday and scored big time on sweaters to frog to increase my stash. Not only that, but it was 50% off day!! Two enormous bags full for $16!

So, now here is my conundrum: I know what most of the yarn is made from (lots of acrylic - I’m too new a knitter to be a yarn snob!! :wink: ), but how do I sort out if it’s worsted weight, bulky, etc.?? Do I just kind of eyeball it and if it’s skinny, it’s sport weight, if it’s medium, it’s worsted and so on and so forth??

For fiber content, you can make a pretty good guess as to whether it’s acrylic/synthetic or wool/animal fiber with the burn test. Take a small amount and burn it (in a safe location obviously). If it melts, it’s acrylic or some other synthetic fiber. If it burns and/or smells like burning hair, it’s an animal or other natural fiber… cotton, silk, etc. If you have a good eye and know what fibers feel and look like, you can probably determine the fiber content pretty well.

For the yarn weight, you’ll ned to measure its WPI or wraps per inch. Check out this page. At the bottom is a guide for determining yarn gauge based on WPI alone.

Congrats on your big score! I hope this helps you sort out all that yarn goodness!

One other way to determine fiber content is to look and see if these sweaters still have tags (if they’re commercially made). If so, you’ll know what the fiber or blend is.
Have fun with your unraveling. I’ve done the Goodwill stash enhancement myself. My kids each have a cotton bag to carry library books in now, and they used to be a men’s cotton sweater. It’s fun. I found the deconstruction process to be a bit more tedious than I anticipated, though.

Excellent! Thanks for the tips, everyone!

I was contemplating buying a sweater to frog that had the tag inside that said “Handmade for you by so-and-so”. I couldn’t bring myself to buy it, just to wreck what someone had made for someone else. The fact that that person had given it to the Sally Ann didn’t even make me feel better about it!!

You can be pretty certain sweaters from the Gap are 100% cotton. Sometimes really good cotton to. J Crews good too.

Wow, feministmama! You must have great thrift stores in your area, to be scoring stuff from The Gap and J. Crew. I’m probably just getting Wal-Mart cast-offs. :rollseyes: