Tag Archives: recycled


The Miracle Household is blessed with an overabundance of t-shirts. When I can no longer close Michael’s shirt drawer, he weeds out the ones he doesn’t wear and sorts them into two piles: dust rags and memorabilia. As an individual who neglects house work with such natural ability (I’m thinking of turning pro), I only need so many dust cloths.

So what do I do?

What any knitter would do: make yarn.

wound yarn

It’s actually not that hard.

First, find yourself some t-shirts. Qualifications: no side seams, minimal decoration. Stitching and ink will keep the jersey from doing the curling trick. You’ll need a ruler, scissors and one of those disappearing ink fabric markers (in a pinch, and if you don’t care about permanence, ball point pen also works).

cat in the shirts

Cat is optional.

Cut the bottom of a t-shirt straight across under the arm holes (or under the printing) and slice off the bottom hem. You now have a loop of fabric with two raw edges. (You also have a cropped shirt that would have been awesome in the 80s and a way to restrain prisoners. But for knitting purposes, you only need the loop.)

Flatten the loop into a rectangle as best you can, smoothing out the wrinkles, and arrange it with the raw edges to the left and right. Fold the loop in half so that the bottom edge rests about an inch beneath the top edge.

fold over

This is so you don’t have to try and cut straight for two feet.

Now, you don’t have to get out the T-square and go all crazy precise with this next part, just be as neat as you can. Using the ruler and fabric pen, make marks one inch apart along the bottom edge and then along the edge that used to be the bottom edge.

tick marks

Any width is fine, but don’t try smaller than 1/2inch: it breaks.

Get your scissors and cut strips from bottom mark to top mark. Be careful to clip through the marked top edge, but not all the way through the inch of buffer at the top of the fabric. The object is to make one continuous strip of t-shirt – not a bunch of loops.


William Henry, mind your own business!

When you’re finished, it folds out into a hula skirt.


Which gives me another idea for another time.

Now comes the trickiest part.

Open it all out so that you can isolate the inch margin where the strips are still hooked together. You want to make sure not to cut anything but the margin in this next step. Make diagonal cuts from one strip to the next.


Once you get the first one made, the rest are easy.

Then you’ve got a big spaghetti mess that needs to be wound into a ball. As you’re winding, give the strip a nice stretch. It’ll do it’s jersey trick and curl right up.


Jersey is just tiny tiny stockinette after all.

And you’ve got yarn! With 1″ cuts, I got about 26 yards from each large and extra large shirt.

Slice up a pile of white tees and you could make a garter stitch bath mat. Or if you have a bunch of colors, why not try a log cabin rug (Mason Dixon Knitting style). I made a toy, of course.


I’m a one trick pony these days.

I’ll never knit a t-shirt toy again. Knitting this stuff in a gauge small enough to conceal stuffing was rough on my wrists. This frog is one of a kind.

Next Earth Day, I’ll make a bath mat.

*Note: Cutting t-shirts into yarn isn’t my original idea by any stretch of the imagination. I’m sure there are a ton of tutorials out there much better than mine. If you find yourself saying “Whaaaa?” about my instructions, Google!