Sunday, 1 December 2013

DIY T-shirt Yarn Tutorial

I've seen a lot of really lovely coloured yarn around, but it's been recycled from old t-shirts.
I thought I'd have a go myself and show the process of how it's done.
My boyfriend is a screen printer, so we have a lot of t-shirts lying round.  My favourite shade being this grey, so that's what I used.  If you go out to buy t-shirts for this (get cheapo ones), get the largest size you can, the bigger the better!  If possible, try and use a t-shirt that has no printing on at all.

1.  Lay your t-shirt out flat and cut off the bottom hem, and cut right across under the sleeves.  Get as close to the sleeves as you can.

2.  Along one of the sides, make some snips with your scissors, evenly along.  They can be any width, but I did mine about 1.5cm wide.

3.  With the guideline marks you've just made, cut along the t-shirt, but do not go right to the edge.  It's very important to leave about an inch un-cut at the other side.

4.  The magic happens now.
Unfold your t-shirt so the un-cut inch is now in the middle.  From the bottom, cut up on a diagonal. SEE DIAGRAM ABOVE.  Cutting on this diagonal is what makes the yarn one long piece.

5.  When you get to the top, just cut in a diagonal again, and that it the end of the yarn.

6.  Now it's time to make a ball.  If you pull the t-shirt strip, you will notice it curl up, do this all the way along and make a ball as you go.

What will you make with your t-shirt yarn?  The thinner you cut the strips of t-shirt, the longer it will be.  So keep that in mind if you have a particular project you want to make.  You can make all sorts really, chunky scarves, blankets, pretty cool bath mats and I've seen some amazing baskets made from t-shirt yarn.

I decided to go for a really large scale granny square blanket.  Using a 15mm hook, and a piece of regular acrylic yarn too (for a bit of colour).... here's what I'm making:

Ash also got involved in the fun, and he is making a blanket too.  He's doing straight crochet rows and alternating other colours mixed in:

I am really enjoying the process of this, but if it's not for you, then here's an alternative.  You can buy t-shirt yarn ready made (from many online shops).  It can be pricey but comes in A LOT of colours.