This is a tutorial on how to make “t-yarn” from old t-shirts. It’s great for making easy and stretchy ties for Covid-19 masks or for balling up and using for crochet or knitting projects.
This shows how to make a single continuous piece of yarn from the body of the shirt. Start with an old t-shirt.
Fold the t-shirt almost in half lengthwise, matching the arms at the top. Cut off at the armpits of the sleeves (put aside for later cutting.)
With the body of the shirt, fold almost in half, leaving a gap of about 2 inches from the front half to the top of the back half of the body of the shirt.
Next you’ll start cutting into slices the width you want for your t-yarn. This tutorial shows me making yarn that was cut into 2 inch widths that I made into yarn to crochet a rug. For making ties for Covid-19 masks I’ve been cutting these into 1 inch widths.
Cut into your preferred width, but only cut just pass the first/top fold. It should look like this as you get going.
After you cut to the entire piece and unfold it, it will look something like this, with all the pieces connected at the top.
Open it up. It might be easiest to open it and put it like a sleeve over an ironing board, like I did here. Take a piece of chalk or a pencil (or just mark it up with a pen). Importantly, start from the bottom and mark an angle from the center connected piece towards the left. Continue to mark up towards the left from the next cut on the right up to the cut on the left. Doing this makes it a continuous spiral piece. DO NOT CUT STRAIGHT ACROSS or you’ll just be making single loops (they can be just sewn together, but doing it as a continuous piece makes the whole process very fast and easy.
It should like like this, a continuous piece in a spiral.
Pull it off the ironing board, then take the “yarn” and pull it in your outstretched arms gently so that it stretches a bit and folds itself from a flat piece into a rounded yarn/cord shape.
Sometimes I just roll it directly from the “flat” shape into a ball when I want it to remain flatter and thicker, which is more like what you see here.
Now about those remaining pieces – you don’t have to let those go to waste! You can do the same thing with sleeves – especially if the shirt has long sleeves. Just fold it in half and leave a space at the top like you did with the body of the shirt.
Then cut it into slices as you did the body section. (Note, I usually cut off the bottom hems of the body of the shirt as well as the sleeves before I start)
To cut into a single spiral, I usually put it on my arm and use scissors to cut it like this.
If you’re feeling really thrifty and want to use every piece, you can take the top rectangles left over after the body and sleeves have been cut off.
Sew the two short ends together, fold, slice, stretch and roll as you did the others.
If you want to create just one long piece of yarn from all the different pieces – body, sleeves, top – you can just sew the pieces together and roll them all up into one giant ball of t-yarn.