Etsy: Upcycling and Recyling yarn with Molly Bachelor

Posted on by MK Carroll

Molly Bachelor is a 27-year old architect in Encinitas, California, who has been selling recycled yarns on Etsy since the fall of 2007. Her Etsy shop, C R A F T Y (the fiber rescue project), offers 100% recycled yarns, either unraveled from gently used, high quality sweaters, or handspun from mill ends and other scrap fibers.


left to right: Turquoise Coils handspun, GLAM (a) handspun, OKAPI handspun

Why did you start recycling yarn?

I've been a knitter for awhile now, and have always found yarn and fibers to be the best part of knitting (don't we all!). I started recycling yarn well before I began on Etsy, just doing a bit at a time to save the yarn from a favorite worn-out sweater or add to my stash. I'm always looking for opportunities to reclaim waste materials, so I was glad to eventually learn that there was a market on Etsy for this kind of yarn.

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by the limitless, open-ended possibilities of fibers. It's so much fun as a recycler, because the fiber arts are about working in cooperation with the individual fibers - whether it's twisting, weaving, knitting or whatever. The basic individual fibers are always still there, ready to be reinvented when their time comes.


recycled silk/cotton and cashmere, hand-plied together

What are the most challenging things about recycling/upcycling?

The nature of recycling is that you're working with found materials, so it can be limiting, although I'm always surprised at the variety and quantity of materials available. I generally don't dye my fiber and try to work with found colors, which is certainly a design constraint when spinning. But on the other hand, design constraints can really help the creative process.


left to right: Swamp Princess mill end handspun, Sky (wool/mohair mill ends plied with cashmere), and Elf (handspun wool/mohair mill ends)

Do you prefer to use a drop-spindle or a spinning wheel?

Oh, definitely a wheel. I never really got the knack of spindle spinning. I currently spin on a Fricke single-treadle.

Is there an overlap between your day job and your Etsy shop, or is the yarn an escape for you?

The yarn is definitely an escape from my day job. I love the non-structured simplicity of fiber design as a balance to the complexity and client demands of architectural design.

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all photos copyright Molly Bachelor, used here with her permission