My fascination with t-shirt yarn started last year. I was trying to source colourful yarn to make plant hangers with and I came across the online company Hoooked who sell a fantastic range of zpagetti yarn in all different colours and textures. When it arrived I was amazed by its quality and how soft and durable it was, but what I loved most about it was the fact that it was a recycled material!
So what is T-shirt yarn? Basically, it’s a recycled craft yarn made from textile off-cuts swept up in foreign factories and saved from landfill! Because of this it can sometimes vary in shade and thickness – but that just adds to the overall appeal of working with this fantastic material!
I have since experimented with t-shirt yarn on many occasions in my studio, from simple knotted hangers and woven mats/coasters to crocheted planters and nail/string artworks – I honestly can’t get enough of it!
I have even upcycled chairs with t-shirt yarn. This is an old summer chair recovered from my dad’s dusty garage that was given a new lease of life. I spray painted the vintage white frame and then created a lovely colourful woven design using the zpagetti yarn. So many people have asked me if this chair is okay to sit on and it totally is – the woven yarn design is strong enough to comfortably hold the weight of someone. I’m looking forward to making more of these this Summer!
At the Handmade festival last September, in-between running workshops, I (along with some little helpers), upcycled an unwanted Acapulco style chair my friend found in a skip.
First of all, we removed all of the original PVC string and then tightly wrapped a mixture of shop-bought yarn around it as well as yarn we had made ourselves form old tees. Here is a photo of it halfway through the upcycling process. If you decide to have a go at this project, make sure you pull the yarn really tightly as you wrap it around the frame to ensure that it can be sat on. You can also weave in some lengths of t-shirt yarn which will make the design even stronger.
One of my favourite projects to make with T-shirt yarn is tassels. At Christmas time I made some tree decorations using t-shirt yarn and Rico wool pom-poms and I sprinkled some glitter onto them for some extra sparkle! Another great thing to try is wrapping some t-shirt yarn around old baubles – a great upcycling project! Use a glue gun to attach the yarn and twist it tightly as you go – perfect for adding some colour pops to your Christmas tree!
Most recently I edged a handmade woven rug with t-shirt yarn tassels. I created this project for the TV show Money for Nothing. My episode will air later on this year so be sure to tune in and see how I created it!
Did you know???? You can also make your own t-shirt yarn! Here is my step by step guide. So why not get looking out those old t-shirts – it’s super fun and addictive, so much so that you’ll want to do it again and again and again!!! And when you have made some why not try creating one of the many projects I’ve featured on this blog post.
Happy t-shirt yarn-ing!
Rachel x x
Step 1: Cut off the bottom part of your t-shirt.
Step 2: Fold the right side of your t-shirt fabric over to the left side and leave a gap of about 2cm at the top.
Step 3: Cut right up to the first fold on your t-shirt fabric and continue to do so all the way across, leaving a gap of about 1.5cm in between each cut.
Step 4: Unfold your t-shirt fabric and slide your left arm (or right if you are left-handed) under all of loops. Working diagonally, cut through all loops to create lots of strips of fabric.
Step 5: Once you have cut all of your loops into strips start to roll up the fabric to create a ball of yarn, pull and stretch it as you go to create tube shapes.
Photography by https://www.instagram.com/stmcstudio/?hl=en