Ashley Tries It

Ashley Tries It: Billie Jean Yarn from Wool and the Gang

December 9, 2016

It’s time for another installment of “Ashley Tries It,” in which our FibreShare Founder, Ashley Thurman, shares the scoop on rad fibres and tools.  Read on for her rave review of the infamous “Billie Jean Yarn” by Wool and the Gang.  We’ve featured their yarns before, and heads up.. we’re not stopping anytime soon!


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I like to joke that Denim is my favorite color – but I’m actually starting to think I might actually mean it. If I bring home one more Denim Shirt I think my husband may leave me and I’m not going to say whether or not it would be worth it (it totally would). So you can plainly see why I was excited to get my hands on some of Wool and The Gang’s Billie Jean Yarn. I fell in love with the yarn before I even laid eyes on it in real life. The whole mission behind the yarn is inspiring and important. Directly from their website: “Billie Jean Yarn is made using upcycled pre-consumer denim waste. This waste is ground back into fibre and woven into our new Billie Jean Yarn. Using no chemicals and no dyes we manage to save 20,000 litres of water per kilogram of upcycled material” Like your favorite pair of jeans, this yarn is one you can truly feel good about using over and over again.

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My first experience with Billie Jean Yarn was when I purchased 3 skeins of the colorway “Raw Denim” (100% upcycle denim). One skein went to my FibreShare partner Kirilee (@loomloomshake), and another went to a winner of the Host Giveaway, Jessica (@otterandfox). You can pretty much guess where the third skein went…into my collection of course, but I didn’t have a chance to really experience it until WATG sent me 2 skeins of the colorway “Washed Out Denim” (20% upcycled denim/80% upcycled raw cotton). I love WATG’s packaging. If you haven’t ordered from them before, do yourself a favor and consider making a purchase. When that package hits your doorstep it’s going to feel like your birthday. I promise.

billie-jean-yarn-woven-necklace-by-ashley-l-thurmanI used this yarn first in a previous “Ashley Tries It” Installation when I reviewed the Loome and made friendship bracelets and a woven necklace. I’ve always wanted to weave my own denim fabric, but I’ll settle for now by simply making stuff to wear out of this amazing denim yarn. Once I had some new wrist and neck candy, I pretty much haven’t stopped.

Ashley L Thurman Woven Wall Hanging with Billie Jean Yarn and Upcycled Demin

We are redecorating our son’s room for Christmas (shhh, it’s a surprise) and he is always asking me to weave him a tapestry for his room but I’m basically always busy weaving for someone else and I never seem to have the time. This was a great excuse for me to make one for him and I love how it turned out. He has really enjoyed watching and helping me recycle old unwanted blue jeans into fabric yarn for my Recycled Yarn Packs and hearing why it’s important to find ways every day to reduce waste. I know he will love the story behind this yarn and who knows – maybe inspire him to look at other ways he can reduce, reuse, and recycle.

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And since WATG is really big about teaching new skills and making sure everyone has access to the tools they need to learn, I decided now would be the perfect time to learn a new skill myself. I’ve had some experience knitting – a friend of mine showed me some basics in college and I was able to knit up a few AWFUL squares before I gave it up. Beth (hey, you know her…), has been gently nudging me for months to give it a go again, and Billie Jean Yarn is just what I needed to inspire me to really lean in this time. Admittedly, I was a bit ambitious for my first project but go big or go home RIGHT?!
Honestly – I couldn’t have done it without the video tutorials from WATG. I may have restarted 7 times, and switched needles around the 5th restart (I discovered I’m not a fan of the metal needles and switched to bamboo), and my finished cowl is NOT BY ANY MEANS perfect. But I made it, and I will wear it proudly…plus it’s denim so duh.

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While knitting I couldn’t get over how much this yarn actually feels like a for real pair of broken in jeans. I will definitely be purchasing this yarn again and again in the future and am already dreaming up other projects to use it in. Just look at how that “Washed Out Denim” worked up! GAHHH!

One thing I might add about the Billie Jean Yarn, especially the “Raw Denim” colorway, is it really does act like real denim and there was some color transfer to my knitting needles and my fingers. This really was not a deal breaker for me though and ultimately only added to the charm of the yarn in my opinion. I would just recommend everyone be extra careful when wearing and washing.

PSSSSST, WATG just released a new line of yarn called, “Wool Me Tender” and it looks DIVINE! I can’t wait to get my hands on some and continue working on my born again knitting skills.

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