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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

T Shirt Yarn/ Tarn Tutorial (awesome)

T-shirt yarn is a very durable yarn. It is outstanding for making rugs and trivets in either crochet or knit. You will need to use a larger crochet hook or knitting needle than you normally would to comfortably be able to deal with this yarn. I have tried it in many widths, from 1/2-inch strips which produced a thinner, more flexible yarn to 1-1/2-inch strips which produced a chunky, stiff yarn. Today's yarn was made using 1-1/4-inch strips which was perfect for the project that I had in mind.

**Please note that only the unprinted, plain portions of the t-shirts are suitable to make into yarn. The ink and printed images are stiff and will not allow the yarn to curl under and form a smooth tube.

Start by placing a t-shirt onto a flat work surface. Straighten the t-shirt so that the hemmed edge lines up neatly.

Using a sharp scissor or rotary cutter and ruler, cut away the bottom hem. Also remove the upper portion of the t-shirt with a straight cut right at the under arm. You will be left with a tube with the left and right sides open.

Take the bottom of the tube (closed end) and fold it upward, leaving a 1-inch margin at the top.

Fold it once more, making sure that you keep the 1-inch margin at the top.

Start cutting your t-shirt into strips, leaving the upper 1-inch margin intact. If you find that it is too bulky to cut through all of the layers at once, only fold it once instead of twice and just cut longer strips. You can decide how wide you would like your strips to be. I have cut strips as small as 1/2-inch and as large as 1-1/2-inches.

This is what it should look like after you've finished cutting the strips.

Unfold the strips. Notice that you will still have the 1-inch uncut margin at the top.

The easiest way to do this step is to run your arm between the two layers of t-shirt with the uncut margin resting on top of your arm. The statement that I made about needing 3 hands comes in here. I couldn't have it draped over one arm and at the same time cut it as I was taking the picture. Impossible.

So, in order to be able to photograph and cut it at the same time, I placed a round plastic jar inside the t-shirt in place of my arm.

Take your scissor and make a diagonal cut from the top of the first slit to the bottom of the second slit on the opposite side.

This is what it should look like after the first cut...

Keep cutting diagonally until you've reached the end. Please note: You will need to go back to the beginning where you made your first cut. You will notice that it will still be joined in a circle. Make a small diagonal cut to open the circle. I find it easier to do this in the end as it can make things confusing trying to figure it out in the beginning.

You will end up with one continuous piece like this:

To turn this into yarn, take short sections of approximately 1 to 2 feet betwen both hands and give it a good tug. It should curl under forming a tube. Repeat throughout. This should take you just a couple of minutes to do. Easy, peasy and fun too.

This is what your yarn will look like after you have completed the above step.

Here is a ball of t-shirt yarn just aching to be turned into something fabulous.

Today I have chosen a quick and easy crochet project as an example of what something made from this yarn will look like. Upon completion, this will become a trivet to go under hot pots and pans.

Now go ahead and have fun with t-shirt yarn. And please don't limit yourself to just trivets and rugs. T-shirt yarn can be made into a whole lot more.

How about knitting a cute tote from your new-found yarn.


  1. I'm going to have to try this t-shirt yarn!

    Following you from:


    I love your blog & have nominated you for the Stylish Blogger Award!

    Check it out on my page :)

  2. What a great idea!!! Thanks!!!!!!!!!

  3. What a great idea for t-shirts not good enough for Goodwill but too good to throw away. Can't wait to try this. Thanks a million!!!

  4. I love this idea...thanks! Sounds like a good excuse to go to more yard sales!