I know in his heart, my husband praised Jesus when he saw me cutting up my old high school and college t-shirts which have become threadbare and covered in holes.
There’s just nothing like a good cozy t-shirt, right? But when it starts falling apart, it’s really gotta go. But to where? The trash? A land fill? Because Goodwill doesn’t even want that.
I had a box full of gross ones.
During one of the oft midnight wakings, I fell through the Pinterest hole in search of DIY kitchen rugs as I nursed Collin back to sleep. Of course I got side tracked looking at yarn, and that’s when I stumbled upon this amazing, thick yarn called Zpagetti (affiliate link), for $34/skein. This yarn was made out of t-shirt material. Thick, sturdy, cotton-y. Then I found patterns for rugs, baskets, potholders and all sorts of crochet-y stuff using this wonder yarn.
The next thing I know, I’m searching for how to make my own t-shirt yarn, because $34 for a couple yards of one color (when I want many colors) is for the rich and famous in Svelltown, which I ain’t.
I found a few tutos, and combining the best tips from each, I dun it.
And now I share the wealth! Enjoy!
What you’ll Need:
- Old t-shirts.
–Depending on the size of each shirt + the size of the rug you want to make, you’ll need about 14 for a small kitchen or bathroom rug.
I had mostly size small t-shirts, which produced between 12-18 yards each.
I cut up a raggedy maternity top which produced roughly 22+ yards
A few of Craig’s old size L tees which were shrunken and stained got me more yardage.
Yikes, Carolyn, your hoarder is showing. layoff me.
If you don’t have that many, browse through Goodwill!
- Scissors – preferably fabric, but I used culinary scissors.
- Some cardboard – or any cereal box-sized, sturdy material to cut on top of, and to fit inside of your t-shirt.
- A big daddy crochet hook (size 10 or so) I found mine at Hobby Lobby in a duo pack with a size 15 hook, and I’ve seen the same large hooks at Walmart.
Turn your t-shirt inside out, and lay on top of cardboard or otherwise sturdy surface. Cut off tags if present. Turning it outside makes it easier for you to cut through the side seams of the t-shirt, if present.
Trim off the hem at the bottom of the shirt. Unless you’ve got the wherewithal to take that sucker out yourself. (Don’t discard it! I saved mine for a weaving project) See pic in Step 3.
Starting at the bottom of your shirt, and working up toward the neckline, cut strips about an inch and a half apart– but stopping about 2 inches before you reach the other side. You’re creating a margin: the key part of making this into a solid strand of yarn.
I’m aware this shirt is not inside out. I started snapping progress pics before I realized turning it inside out produced better results. Do as I say, not as I do. Also, does this make my rug a designer rug, since I used a few Ralph Laurens?
Get your M. C. Escher on. You know, the piece with the two heads? No? Only me? ok.
Here’s where you really need your cardboard or, in my case, a cutting mat (which I love to death).
Place the board inside your shirt, and twist shirt around so the margin you created is laying flat, in the center, like so:
Following a diagonal direction, begin cutting at the bottom first notch. I drew dotted lines on the image below to help clear up confusion. Don’t worry if you cut a little crooked or inconsistent in thickness.
Take your now very long piece of t-shirt and st r e t c h it out by pulling firmly throughout the entire piece. This will cause your strand to curl inward, thus creating your yarn! Note: some of the shirts I cut up were so worn out or a mix of synthetic material that they didn’t curl up at all- That’s okay! It just adds interesting texture to your rug.
Roll it up into a ball! Post a pic on Instagram, and chuckle (or gag) when someone who’s set up an account for their cat Likes your photo.
DONE! You may now create whatever your heart desires, while patting yourself on the back for the sustainability of your garments.
If you want to crochet a rug:
Use your big fat needle and begin crocheting in the round with your color of choice, changing colors as you wish. If you don’t know how to crochet, it’s easy. Easy I tell you– especially crocheting with big, thick yarn, it moves fast. Youtube has a trove of How To videos.