How to Make T-Shirt Yarn

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the KonMari method of cleaning.  Basically, throw all your crap in a pile, keep the things you actually like (what “sparks joy”) and get rid of everything else. This is supposed to be as much of a psychological exercise as one meant for organization – and I could benefit from both.

The other day I kondo’d my closet and gave a lot of old clothes the kiss of death.  So many things I’ve been holding on to for whatever reason. Things from at least two decades ago, remnants of boring jobs, things I knew I’d never wear again unless I were to guilt myself into it.  Oddly enough, most of my discard pile was gray.  Very blasé.

Some of the items I have are going to Goodwill, and the rest I will be re-purposing in my crafts.  This tutorial is a play-by-play of what I’ve done to the old t-shirts.

T-shirt yarn has a good, bulky texture and works up quickly.  It’s great for crocheting things like rugs, fabric bowls, and potholders.

Exhibit A: Crocheted bowl made from a Juicy Couture dress that no longer "sparked joy" in my life.

Without further ado, here’s how to turn your old t-shirts into yarn:

Old t-shirts (or clothing made from jersey knit fabric)

Rotary cutter and mat, or scissors

H O W – T O

Note: I’m using a rotary cutter and a mat.  If you’re using scissors it’ll be a little clumsier, but just follow the same cut lines.  Perfection is not necessary (yay!).

Lay your t-shirt down on its back.
Cut approximately 1.5 to 2″ strips across the middle, leaving a couple inches unworked at the top.  Cut all the way across when you reach the start of the sleeves, and set the top section aside.

(So… I guess I accidentally deleted the actual photo of this in my upload. Imagine the white lines are cut marks.) 

Turn the t-shirt on its side, so it looks like some sorta primitive crustacean.
Cut at 45° angles between each strip’s unworked section. We’re basically making a big, continuous spiral.  (If you’re a visual person like me, these three pictures should help.)
Once all your cuts are made, gently pull on the fabric so that the edges curl up on themselves.  I do this while wrapping it up into a ball.
The shirt I cut up was a size S and yielded approximately 42 feet of 3/8″ thick yarn!

But let’s not stop there!  Here’s how to connect another strand of t-shirt yarn!

Cut little slits at the end of each tail.
Feed the tail of the shorter strand into the longer strand’s slit.  (Is it just me, or does that sound weird?)
Then feed the rest of the shorter strand through it’s own slit.  (Still weird.  Just me.)
Once the entire shorter strand is fed through, secure your looped knot by gently tugging on each strand.
Then continue rapping.

Errr… W R A P P I N G.

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