Yesterday I promised an easy-peasy way to turn t-shirts into yarn, and here you go. You can use any fabric really, you just want it to be a tube so you end up with one long piece of yarn rather than a zillion short ones. So if you’re starting with flat fabric simply sew the two selvage edges together so you have a tube (there’s a zigzaggy way to cut flat fabric into a piece of yarn, let me know in the comments if you want a tutorial on that!).
If you have them, use a cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter. If not, just scissors will work fine. I actually cut several tshirts that way while sitting on the floor watching a movie.
Starting at one side of the tshirt, cut upwards but don’t complete the cut, stop about an inch from other edge. Your cuts should be about an inch apart, but don’t stress on it. And don’t worry about making your lines too straight (no need to draw lines even if you aren’t using a ruler) because the resulting yarn is going to roll and stretch as you wind it and knit/crochet with it. The tshirts I cut with scissors looked a lot messier than this but knit up fine.
Keep cutting in this manner until you get to the armholes, then just cut all the way through, lopping off the whole top part of the shirt. I’m saving my shirt tops to use as dust rags, or I’ll cut some up later for stuffing (I stuffed this bat with cut up tshirts). If you are working with a longsleeve shirt you can use this method for turning the sleeves into yarn, but I don’t think there is any easy-peasy way to use the armhole/neckhole area for yarn).
Now go back to the bottom edge of the tshirt and snip through one layer at the very top where all the pieces are still connected.
You’ll have a piece that looks something like this (I draped it over my little ironing board* so the cuts can be seen clearly, which also helps with the next cutting step, a regular ironing board would work too).
Now for the fun part (and I got a little crazy with the picture, you can click on it to open a bigger version). You’re going to cut diagonally from one cut to the next, the arrows illustrate this. When you’ve made all of the cuts, you’ll have one loop remaining, and just snip through one layer again.
You’ll end up with one long piece of yarn ready to be wound.
Just for fun I measured my yarn; from a medium sized Old Navy tshirt I got 21 yards of yarn unstretched. But it easily stretches to 1.5 times its size, so it works out to over 30 yards from just one tshirt.
“Hi, we used to be stained tshirts, now we’re yarn.Aren’t we great?” (What, doesn’t your yarn talk to you too?)
This tutorial makes perfect sense to me, but then it came from my brain. If anything is at all confusing, please ask for clarification in the comments or send me and e-mail at email@example.com
* I saw these little ironing boards at fabric stores for years before I finally bought one. If you sew kids clothes, hem pants or make shirts, get one. Just watch out, your four year old might think it makes the perfect stepping stool.