I like to crochet and have been making things with yarn since I was young. (I hesitate to admit how many years ago I started, but it’s a lot!) When I first learned to knit and crochet there was little variety in yarn to choose from. I only remember the traditional 4-ply acrylic yarn.
Now there are SO many types of yarns available! Many are made for specific types of projects and the variety stretches way beyond my imagination. It’s fun just to browse yarn isles any time I can!
With the current push to go “green” many people are transforming their used clothing or other textiles into yarn or fabric patches of all sizes and shapes to make new things. This is a wonderful idea. Anything to help save the planet!
T-shirt yarn has become popular for making a variety of things. One Internet search and you’ll find countless tutorials on how to make such yarn. I’ve made T-shirt yarn a number of times and it’s well worth the effort rather than just “tossing” an old shirt. BUT…
The problem with using T-shirts for yarn…
Time. Even though making your own t-shirt yarn is not hard, it does take time and effort.
Not much yarn per shirt. One shirt does not make a lot of yarn. It’s enough for me to make one trivet/hot pad. But if you want to make a larger project, you’ll find yourself using assorted colors or scrambling to find more shirts of the exact same fabric weight and color. That can be challenging. If you’re buying t-shirts (even at yard sales or thrift shops), this can run up the cost of your project. Don’t get me wrong! Reusing old shirts is great for expressing creativity and saving the landfills, but you may find issues with your finished projects.
Not all fabric is the same. I’ve noticed that not all t-shirt fabrics are identical in weight and texture. Some fabrics are thinner than others. If all the fabric is cut at the same width, some yarn will be thinner than others after being stretched, which will create unevenness in your finished project. That looks unprofessional and may leave you with some very unexpected results!
Hard to match like colors. When using assorted t-shirts for one project, like colors are almost impossible to match up unless the shirts were made by the same manufacturer in the same batch. You don’t believe me? Just examine a pile of black t-shirts. You’ll see there is a wide range of shades of black! Using them in one project may leave you wishing you hadn’t.
Transforming a t-shirt or two into another item is a wonderful thing to do. However, if you’re needing a lot of yarn for a specific project, I suggest an easier, faster, less frustrating way…
Try using Premier Craft-Tee yarn instead! I have tried this yarn and I find it a lot easier and often cheaper to use than homemade t-shirt yarn, especially for larger projects or when a lot of yarn is needed. Here’s why…
Uniform thickness. The entire ball of yarn (which I find to be equal to four to five t-shirts) is uniform in thickness. This works very well if you need more yarn for a larger project or you want to make a number of smaller projects in the same yarn. The yarn curls just like homemade t-shirt yarn. The curled yarn is about 1/4″ to 3/8″ wide and is ready to be used.
Uniform color. The entire ball is uniform in color, so there are no guessing games or hunting for matching colors when more yarn is needed. Each ball has roughly 88 yards (17.5 oz or 500 g) of yarn.
Ready to use (saves time). No time is spent cutting, stretching and winding. It takes time to make your own yarn from t-shirts. That may be fun if you’re doing it “just because.” But, if you’re like me and you sell items you make, time is money. Having the yarn ready to go saves me time, and hence, cuts the cost of the items I make. That’s a real bonus!
It’s Wrapped–Nice and Clean! This yarn comes wrapped in plastic to keep it clean–a nice plus.
It’s still “green.” Look at the label. This yarn is made from recycled t-shirt fabric. It’s still “green”! The only difference is that the company is doing the cutting, stretching and winding for you!
Easy to care for. Simply machine wash in warm water and dry the item flat. How easy can you get?
Colorfast (no bleeding). This is a big plus for me. I sell what I make and I want my customers to be happy. When they’re happy, I’m happy. No one wants an item that looses half its color the first time it’s washed. I ran a colorfast test on the green yarn. I placed it in a bowl of very hot tap water. As you can see in the photo, after 5 minutes in hot water, there was NO color loss! Impressive!!
Good stretch…not too much, not too little. As you can see from the photos, I took a 3-inch piece of the yarn and stretched it with my fingers. The piece stretched about one inch, to 4 inches. That stretch, makes the yarn comfortable to work with when crocheting. Hint: Make sure your hook is large enough and you crochet rather loosely. I used a size P crochet hook. A size Q hook might also work.
Plenty of Colors Available. As you can see from this link, Premier has a lot of color shades to choose from. Notice they’re considered “color shades” instead of exact colors. I’m assuming this is because the yarn is made from recycled fabric and is not dyed to make specific colors. Therefore, their balls of t-shirt yarn are categorized according to color shades. At the time of this posting, there are 16 color shades available! That’s plenty for me!
Excellent price. If you have your own old t-shirts to cut up, you could consider them “free” because you already got your first intended use out of them. Beyond that, shirts must be purchased for your projects. Recently, I’ve browsed thrift shops and yard sales for used t-shirts. They’re not as cheap as they used to be! My local thrift shop prices usually run from $3 to $4 for one adult size t-shirt. Yard sales I visited had t-shirts ranging from $2 to $4 each. That’s NOT cheap when you’re making items to sell!
Consider the cost of Premier’s Craft-Tee yarn. On Premier’s website, their Craft-Tee yarn sells for about $8 per ball. (Important note! I suggest you choose carefully where you purchase this yarn because there are sites on the internet that sell it for quite a bit more per ball!) Some sites will occasionally offer free shipping, or free shipping with a minimum order. Those options can help keep costs down. Assuming the purchase is made with free shipping at $8 per ball (which I’ve done), and getting four larger trivets and one smaller trivet per ball (see photos), my cost per trivet comes to roughly $1.78 each! I can’t buy a t-shirt anywhere locally for that! It’s a deal I can’t refuse!
Premier Yarns has free patterns online for this yarn. If you’re not sure what to make with your t-shirt yarn, try some of the patterns made available by Premier!
If you’re making things from t-shirt yarn, I highly encourage you to try Premier’s Craft-Tee yarn. If you’ve run out of your own shirts to cut up, it’s cost effective, has uniform color and size yarn for larger projects, and saves a LOT of time and energy in cutting, stretching and winding your own yarn! I’m sold on it.
Best wishes to all and happy creating!