Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making Fabric Yarn (or T-Shirt Yarn)

I confess: I’m a slob. I constantly drop or dribble or slop food on my shirt on that inconveniently placed bulge a few inches below my chin that my son (and husband) appreciates so much. Because of this I try to buy relatively inexpensive shirts, mostly made of jersey aka t-shirt fabric, since they’re versatile, cheap, wear well, and when I’ve stained them beyond repair I can cut them up and make fun things out of them.

I recently went through my pile of unwanted clothing and sorted it into three piles: donate, give to mom (she took a sweater and two sweatshirts), and shred create. My create pile looked something like this:

And with some elbow grease, a sharp pair of fabric shears, and some time it started to look like this:

I cut the shirts into strips about 1” wide and try my best to be creative in my cutting to get as long of a string as possible and have as little waste as possible. I don’t worry about perfection or avoiding seams (as long as they’re not too bulky) because I usually use my new yarn to crochet things like this:

(the basket, not the sweater)

I have a bunch of balls in the cupboard waiting to be used. I just keep adding to the collection until I have enough or am inspired enough to get out my enormous crochet hook. Currently I’m hoping to collect enough white to make an area rug for the living room. But I’ve got a lot of collecting to do considering that the basket, which is about 10” tall and 10” in diameter, took 6+ shirts to make. I’ll probably stake out the local thrift stores for white T’s that they’d otherwise throw away rather than relying on my husband’s undershirts.

I have a few more ideas – like dying random colors and leftovers black, making a thinner thread and knitting with it (which I’m in the process of cutting), making a ball with a jingle inside as a toy… there are so many applications!

I thought I had this wicked original idea when I first thought of doing this a few years ago. After a few internet searches, it turns out it’s not so original. But, it’s still cool. Do you have a few shirts you’d otherwise throw away or turn into rags that could become something else?

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