Several weeks have gone by since I started writing “Try it Out Tuesday” posts. Each week I have read the corresponding blog or instructional information related to a pin I’ve added to a board on Pinterest. My goal was to make sure I didn’t just collect a bunch of ‘pins’ without ever trying out the recipe/craft/project/idea that the pin represented. So far all the ‘Tuesday’ blog posts relate to cooking and recipes, so this week I wanted to try something from my board of craft ideas!
The pin project I chose links to instructions on how to make t-shirt yarn. This is something I’ve wanted to learn for a while because there are many things I can do with the yarn once created – scarfs, rugs, necklaces, wrapping/packaging supplies. I’ve been trying to make an effort to be more ‘green’ around our house and upcycling old socks and scraps of fabric into rags is something I’ve done for a while. After seeing several examples of braided rugs I thought it would be great to recycle old t-shirts into yarn so I could create my own rug without having to buy any supplies! (If I get around to the rug I’ll definitely stop back by the blog and let you know how it turns out!)
This pin links back to Bailey’s website – Let Birds Fly. She has all kinds of creative projects and ideas and links back to loads of interesting bloggers! Although I’ve taken enough photos to show each step of this project, please consider visiting her post for the complete instructions – give her blog the traffic it deserves! Besides, her instructions and photos are much nicer than mine. 🙂
If you’re going to make t-shirt yarn you will need an old t-shirt (whatever color or size you like) and a pair of sharp scissors. I can’t stress this point enough – if you don’t have a pair of fabric scissors, consider investing in a student pair, at the very least. The first time I tried this using older, worn-out scissors it took much longer and the results were not very neat at all. As for the t-shirt – different types of material will yield different results, as will different styles of t-shirts. The yarn will work best on shirts without any side seams or logos, and I found that a heavier cotton produced yarn that curled in more on itself creating the look I was going for. Depending on what type of project you plan on using the yarn for you may want to consider experimenting with different types of fabric to see what works for you.
After cutting evenly spaced strips all the way up the folded section of t-shirt you should have something that looks like this:
This is where I have to start being really careful to make sure I’m going to make my cuts correctly. 🙂 At the margin of shirt where the material has not been trimmed, you will make cuts diagonally across the margin to connect each loop of material to the next. This is how you end up with one long, continuous strand of t-shirt material.
Go ahead and unfold the shirt loops/strips you have created so you can straighten out the margin of fabric you’re about to cut. I’ve found the easiest way to keep this straight and not get the shirt tangled up is to slide something into the shirt like a cardboard tube or rolled newspapers so that the loops of material go around it and the uncut portion rests on the top of it. Since I was trying to take photos of the process, I had a hard time correctly showing this step, but Bailey does a good job of explaining it in her post so I would highly recommend reading her instructions before continuing. 🙂
After making all of the diagonal cuts you may still have a loop on the end where you started – cut a diagonal going in the other direction to open up the loop and finish the strand. You should have a pile of material in one continuous strand like this —
Almost done! In order to create a neat and finished look the yarn should be stretched. Take the end of the strand in one hand, put your other hand 12-15 inches further along the strand and pull in opposite directions. As you pull the material against itself and stretch it out the edges of the strip of fabric should begin to curl in creating a nice consistent appearance.
Don’t pull so hard that the actual material rips (I did this with my first shirt, but it was older material that didn’t have much give left), and don’t slide your hand along the rope of fabric while pulling in the other direction or you might end up with rope burn on your hands. 🙂 Just pull it section by section (until your arms get tired) and then you’ll have a finished pile of yarn!
After you’ve finished stretching the fabric you can roll it into a loops, wrap it around something to keep it straight or roll it into a ball like you might do with regular yarn.
There are lots of photos with this post but the actual process doesn’t take that long… If you decide to make your own yarn leave a comment and let me know what you’re planning on using it for – I’d love to hear about it! Also, as always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to hang out with me for a while!