How to Make T-shirt Yarn
Reader Blair liked our t-shirt yarn dishcloths, but had a major question about t-shirt yarn: "So I don’t know how when one piece of yarn ends, to begin again with a new one… Does that make sense? Someone please email me.and tell me!" Well, Blair, I'll do you one better and write a whole post about it! How do you turn t-shirts into yarn, and then attach the ends? Read on!
There are a few common methods for making t-shirt yarn. The photo from the top of the page is from Let Birds Fly - she has a great visual tutorial for making t-shirt yarn. The method she uses for making the yarn involves doing "diagonal cuts" to make a continuous spiral of t-shirt yarn.
This seems to be the most common method for cutting a t-shirt into yarn, and it also seems the most time-economical.
When you get to the end of one piece of yarn you can attach it like this:
1. Attach T-shirt Yarn by Stitching
Amanda's Happy Hearth shows how you can attach yarn ends simply by stitching through the ends of the t-shirts. Amanda's tutorial also shows how to create yarn from the non-tubular parts of t-shirts (like the upper chest section), and is good for using the entire t-shirt with almost no waste.
2. Attach T-shirt Yarn by Knotting
Another way to attach ends is by just tying the ends together in a square knot (if you don’t mind the nubs in your finished project), or just twist them together when you are crocheting or knitting to create a more seamless join. I used this method when I made my recycled fabric rag rug over at CROQzine. This is also the method used by Meridian Ariel in the photo of knotted teal yarn above and below.
As you can see, the knots add a certain amount of rustic charm to your knitting project. You'll have to decide if it's right for your project.
3. Attach T-shirt Yarn with the Slit and Slip
The third method is the easiest and least visible once it is worked into a knit or crochet project.
To join t-shirt yarn, cut a small slit in the end of each piece of t-shirt yarn. Slip one end through the other. Push the opposite end of the first piece through its own hole. Pull tight to secure.
So, there you have three methods for joining the ends of t-shirt yarn or rag strips! Hope that helps. Here are some t-shirt yarn ideas for you to get started with once you have a ball of yarn or two:
T-shirt Yarn Craft Project Ideas:
1. Reusable T-shirt Yarn Swiffer-Style Duster Knitting Pattern by Verdigris Knits
2. Recycled T-shirt Yarn Macrame Hangers by The L-T Experience
3. Rainbow T-shirt Braided Rug by Sew Liberated
4. Recycled T-shirt Yarn Flower by Little TreasuresFull disclosure policy.