T-Shirt Yarn

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By Kid’s Craft Contributor, Gillian from the blog “Dried Figs and Wooden Spools”.

So you know the expression “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? Well, that applies to crafts too. The doing is just as much fun, if not more, than the satisfaction of the finished product. And sometimes, making the stuff to make the stuff is the best part of the whole thing. This is one of those projects.

At the end of this project your going to have yarn. Yarn is good. There are lots of things you can do with yarn. But, you know, it’s yarn. Granted, this isn’t your average yarn, but it works in just about everything that regular yarn does. The fun part about this, is making the yarn.

Here’s what you need:

  • An old (or new) t-shirt, Preferably one with no side seams but an old T will work
  • Good, sharp fabric scissors
  • Someone who likes to stretch things (hint: your kids would be good for this job)

If you want to be precise:

Lay your t-shirt out on a flat, clean surface.

Cut just above the hem line and just below the armpit line so that you have a nice rectangle of uninterupted t-shirt fabric.

With one of the folded edges up, fold the fabric in half, leaving a one inch space at the top uncovered and then fold it in half again, still not covering that one inch area.

Either measuring evenly across the folded fabric or, just eye-balling it (it doesn’t need to be perfect) cut even strips through the folds to the edge of where the one-inch margin is. (DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY ACROSS!) If your kids are of the older and/or trustworthy sort, let them do the measuring and cutting. One inch strips works well but you can go wider or narrower to produce a thicker or thinner yarn.

Once you have the fabric cut all the way across and have unravelled the whole thing, lay the uncut portion out flat.

Cut at an angle from one end of the first loop up to the opposite end of the next loop up. Continue this until you have cut them all through, trimming the ends so that you have one long strip of jersey.

Now for the fun part. Working along the length of the strip (or really, in any direction your little pullers want) firmly pull on the fabric to stretch it as far as it will go without breaking.

The jersey will curl in on itself creating a thin, rounded yarn like material.

So what CAN you do with t-shirt yarn. Well, like I said, just about anything you can do with yarn. It’s also a great material to make braided rugs or pot holders, both great kid projects. I taught my son to finger crochet and he happily used up an entire t-shirts worth of yarn making a long chain which he promptly carried off to do something with, I’m not sure what, but since I remember making finger crocheted chains long enough to go all the way around my room when I was seven, I’m not too worried. As for the rest? Well, I’ll confess that I rolled up five t-shirts worth of yarn and stuck them in a big bowl on my dining room table. Just because it looked so darn pretty.

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About Gillian

Gillian Grimm lives in Charlottesville, Virginia where she balances writing, cooking and crafts with eight chickens, two kids, a dog, a cat and a husband. As the daughter of a Journalist, she grew up all over the United States, switching schools, towns and newspapers every few years and loved every minute of it! She now works as a freelance writer, primarily in the craft industry but with a few forays into travel writing, narrative non-fiction and educational matters. Gillian was recently published in the literary journal the “The Northville Review”. You can find more of Gillian’s work at “Dried Figs and Wooden Spools”.

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