And just why men's sweaters? Well, the first thing is that you get more yarn. I am guaranteed to have enough yarn to make a sweater for myself. Another thing I spotted in the women's sweater section was that, while the women's sweaters were generally in better condition (we seem to treat our clothes a bit more gently on the whole), many of the sweaters were made with incredibly fine guage fibers. That's fine for a machine to knit, but not for me, personally.
I followed the directions here for beginning to unravel a sweater. The only one I've done so far is the sleeve of the oatmeal-colored sweater above. From the sleeve alone - and not even the whole sleeve, I've already gotten about 200 yards. This sweater is 3 very fine strands, twisted together. Given that this is cotton, though - and recycled - some of those very fine fibers have broken in the unraveling. I'm not too concerned about it; there will be tiny knots holding these fibers together. I won't be using it for my sweater, but it will be fine for washcloths, hats, and/or a casual throw.
Of course, another thing that men's sweaters provide are darker colors. While I'm fond of neutrals and do enjoy wearing browns, blacks, and grays, the next step for me in being able to knit with more feminine colored recycled yarn will be dyeing. I did see white and cream colored sweaters there, but that will be something I try in the future. I have a lot of yarn, still, that was given to me last summer, with which to make plenty of gifts - the pinks and lavenders not really being colors I wear.
I don't know how these will all turn out, but the price is right for having some fun experimenting for a while. When I first learned to knit, this was one of my original goals: to be able to knit with recycled yarn. I wanted to feel confident in my skills before I tried it, but now I am ready for this next phase and it feels really good to be able to have one of my passions align so nicely with my values of voluntary simplicity and living lightly.