Posted in Crafting Corner, crochet

How To Help Save The Planet By Making Yarn Out Of T-Shirts

Have you heard of the term “upcycling”? It’s pretty much the fancy way of saying that you have repurposed something that you own into something new. Or maybe you’ve heard the term “zero waste” living being tossed around.

Both of these terms serve the same purpose. They are both based on the philosophy of reusing what you have to create something different or to reduce the amount of waste that we are putting in the environment by using reusable items instead of plastic or paper products.

What does this have to do with making your own yarn? This tutorial is going to show you how to make your own cotton yarn out of your old t-shirts.

If you are an avid crafter, like me, and you care about the environment, then making your own yarn makes sense.

Plus I saw a ball of yarn in Micheals, Lion Brand Re-Up Yarn, that is made from recycled materials. It’s nice to see that even the big brands are getting on board with the upcycling trend.

While this yarn wasn’t expensive ($2 a ball), why drive all the way to store to buy recycled yarn when you can make your own cotton yarn from t-shirts you already have at home.

Are you ready? Let’s make some yarn.

To make your own cotton yarn or t-yarn you will need the following supplies:

Supplies needed to make t-shirt yarn: t-shirt, rotary cutter, cutting mat, scissors, and a ruler.

This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small fee, at no additional cost to you, when you purchase items using the links provided. As an Amazon associate I  earn from qualifying purchases.

  • 100 % cotton t-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Self-healing cutting mat (optional)
  • Rotary cutter (optional)
  • Washable marker(optional)

Selecting The Right T-shirt

The best t-shirts to use for this project are 100% cotton t-shirts without side seams and with minimal designs. If you use a t-shirt with print on it, then the yarn will not be a uniform color and if the design is vinyl you will not be able to stretch the shirt properly to turn it into yarn.

For this project, we are making a continuous ball of yarn. If the shirt has side seams you will have to remove the seams, which will prevent you from making a continuous ball of cotton yarn.

The amount of yarn that you will make depends on two factors.

  • Shirt size (bigger is better)
  • Strip size

How to Make T-Shirt Yarn (T- Yarn)

Step 1: Cut Your T-Shirt

Lay your t-shirt down on a flat surface (right side up). Using your ruler as a guide cut a straight line across your shirt underneath the sleeves. Set aside the top half of the shirt.

You can either use a seam ripper and take out the bottom hem or cut the bottom hem off. It’s up to you. I cut the bottom hem off.

Clear ruler placed underneath the arms of a t-shirt.
Cur off the bottom of the shirt.

Step 2: Line Up The Edges

Turn your shirt sideways so that the side of the shirt is at the top of your workspace. Fold the bottom half of the shirt up to the top. Leave an inch gap between the bottom edge and top edge.

Fold the edges of the shirt up leaving a 1 inch gasp.

Step 3: Cut Small Strips

Using your ruler and scissors cut the t-shirt into 1-inch strips( if you want thinner yarn make ½ in or ¾ in strips).

DO NOT…I repeat DO NOT cut all the way to the top. Stop cutting 1 inch away from the top of the shirt.

T-shirt cut into 1 inch strips.
Only cut to the inch mark.

I prefer to use my rotary cutter and ruler for this part just because it makes my strips more uniform in size. (I struggle with cutting things in a straight line.)

Your shirt should look like this:

Cut strips of yellow fabric.
Unfolded strips

Step 4: Make 1 Continuous Strip

Put your hand inside of the shirt to separate the strips. Find the uncut part of the shirt and lay it flat on your workspace (as flat as you can). This is the tricky part so take your time.

Kinda looks like a skeleton rib cage.

Starting at the middle of the first strip you are going to cut the strip diagonally to the first cut. Then you cut the next strip, starting in the middle, cut diagonally to the next strip.

Honestly, I had to use a marker to create a guide so that I knew where I was supposed to be cutting. Once I got the hang of it I didn’t need the guide anymore.

Cut each strip diagonally to the next strip.

You should end up with one long continuous strip.

Continuous t-shirt strip.
Continuous t-shirt strip.

Quick note: try not to cut the middle pieces too thin or else the t-shirt will break when we start to create the yarn in the next step.

Step 5: Pull

Now, the easy part.

Take the end of your t-shirt and stretch it. As you stretch the shirt you will notice that the strip will get thinner and that the raw edges will curl in on themselves.

Continue this process until you’ve finished the whole strip.

Pile of completed t-tarn.
Stretched t-shirt

Then wrap it up into a ball.

yellow ball of t-shirt yarn with a metal crochet hook.
Ball of T-yarn

Congratulations! You’ve just made your first ball of t-yarn and helped the planet.

How does making your own yarn help save the planet?

drop of water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

According to the Lion Brand website,” It takes, on average, 20,000 liters of water to make 1 kilogram of cotton. By using one 70 gram ball of Re-Up you are saving 1,400 liters of water.”

A ball of Re-Up Yarn will give you 114 yd (105 m) of 4 medium weight yarn.

Depending on the size shirt you used you can easily get 150+ yds of yarn. Plus you didn’t have to drive to the store, which reduced your carbon footprint for today.

You’ve also kept a t-shirt from going to the landfill

Did you know:

  • It takes 1,800 gallons of water to make 1 pair of blue jeans.
  • 400 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make 1 plain cotton t- shirt. (treehugger.com)

What Can I Make With T-Yarn?

If you made 1-inch strips you can use a size 5mm crochet hook or larger on your yarn.

You should be able to make anything that requires a 5mm crochet hook and cotton yarn.

If you are interested in using all of your t-shirt to make yarn check out this youtube tutorial on how to make t-yarn using the whole shirt.

Need some crafty ideas on what to make with your new yarn? Check out this list of Top 20 t-shirt yarn projects by Sustain My Craft Habit.

If don’t want to make your own t-yarn you can buy t-yarn on Etsy.

What are some other ways that we could upcycle a t-shirt to help reduce waste?

Share your ideas in the comment section. Don’t forget to like, share and follow my blog to keep up to date on my latest post.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner, crochet

Crocheted Toddler Hooded Cardigan

Fall is almost over and I’m finally getting back to that crocheted toddler hooded cardigan I discovered on Pinterest.

You know that one I started a few months ago, but abandoned it because I finished the body of the cardigan only to realize it was too small for my daughter.

I’m not really sure why it took me so long to get back to it. I think I was just really disappointed that it turned out wrong.

On the positive side, I did learn a lesson from my mishap and why it’s important to use the correct gauge when crocheting garments. I’m actually looking forward to crocheting an oversized sweater for myself that I saw on youtube.

After, getting over my disappointment I decided to give it another try. And this time it turned out just right! (Following instructions can be a good thing).

For this project I used the following:

  • Purple Yarn ( Caron Kindness Yarn) – 1 Ball
  • Robins Egg Blue Yarn( Caron Kindness Yarn )- I Ball
  • M13/9.00 mm Hook
  • Darning Needle
  • Scissors
  • Instructions for 2T/3T pattern

The instructions for this pattern suggests that you use a size J/6mm hook. However, I tend to crochet very tightly so I had to use a bigger hook( M13/9.00 mm) to get the correct gauge. I also used the 2t/3t pattern, which the author suggested because my daughter is a little on the chunky side.

In my opinion, I think this hoodie is the perfect starter garment for a beginner. Most of the garment is made using half double crochets. The hardest part, for me, was creating the stitches for the edging.

However, instead of doing the edging described in the pattern I decided to just crochet in the back loops only instead of trying to do the alternating front post and back post stitches.

Besides changing the edging the only other change I made was adding the design to the back of the hoodie. In my post on the corner to corner Superman Blanket, I mentioned graphagens.

A graphagen is a pictorial representation of a design you want to crochet. I’m not sure if you’re only supposed to use them for the corner to corner patterns, but I figured I would give it a try.

I used some graph paper and tried to draw out the diagram for the butterfly (Yes, that’s supposed to be a butterfly lol) and to keep track of how many rows I’d done.

As you can see from the picture it didn’t really turn out exactly as planned. I’m not sure if it was because of the half double crochet stitches or if it was just me.

I did pretty well on the first part of the graphic, but then as I went on I kept getting everything mixed up. According to my diagram, the other blue spot is supposed to be on the opposite side of the top wing. Not on the same side.

Sometimes I think my ideas are a little bit bigger than my skill set. If I could add anything else to this hoodie it would probably be a few buttons to help keep it closed. But my daughter doesn’t seem to mind that it doesn’t have any.

Even though it took me two tries, I eventually got it done. Personally, I think it turned out great!

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

 

Posted in Crafting Corner, crochet

Crochet Superman Themed Corner to Corner Blanket

A few weeks ago I decided to send out a text to family and friends stating that I would only be making handmade gifts for Christmas this year. Then in my infinite wisdom, I proceeded to give a list of the things I could make…scarves, blankets, dish towel sets, etc. (Thinking they would pick something easy like the dish towel set.)

I’m not sure why I told grown people that I could make blankets. The largest blanket I have ever made was for a baby! And I was over making that blanket within a few days. Now I have two requests for adult blankets and one baby blanket!

I figured I would start with the easiest blanket first. My cousin is pregnant and her baby is due December 1st. Of course, she didn’t want a simple blanket, but a Superman blanket. So I scoured the internet for different superman baby blanket patterns.

And this is where I stumbled upon the corner to corner stitch and all the amazing blankets that could be made using this stitch. The stitch itself is not very complicated once you get the hang of it.

It’s primarily made of single chain and double crochet stitches. If you know how to make a shell stitch then corner to corner is quite easy.

I decided to create my own version of the blanket instead of trying to follow the graphgan, which I wouldn’t have been able to do anyway, because I had no idea how to crochet a C2C stitch.

I found a simple corner to corner written tutorial on Craftsy. Once I got the hang of that I was ready to try to create my own rendering of a Superman-themed blanket.

For this project I used:

  • Red Yarn – Studio Classic (1 ball)
  • Blue Yarn- Loops & Threads (1 ball)
  • Soft Yellow Yarn- Studio Classic (1 ball)
  • Black Yarn- Red Heart (1 ball)
  • Scissors
  • K/6.5 MM Hook
  • Darning Needle

The completed blanket was supposed to be a 36in square. However, my husband and I are superhero nerds (he’s a Batman fan) and as I was working on decreasing the number of chains he said that it looked like the Superman logo.

I was a little hesitant about following his suggestion and just leaving it as is, but once I finished the project I was very pleased with the results. ( He also suggested outlining everything in black.)

The measurements for the blanket are as follows: both sides – 24in, top 26.5in.

How to Make the Blanket

Increasing (Rows 1-31)

Starting with the red yarn you will create 15 rows (the last row should contain 17 blocks)

Change to blue yarn and create 15 rows (the last row should contain 32 blocks)

Change to yellow yarn and create 1 row (the last row should contain 33 blocks)

Decreasing (Rows 32 – 43)

In the next row you will continue to use the yellow yarn, but at this point, you will begin decreasing the number of blocks you have.

Decrease using the yellow yarn for 11 rows. The final row should have 21 blocks.

Tie off your yarn and weave in all the loose tails if you haven’t already.

Border

Starting in the bottom corner of row 1 single crochet around the entire blanket using the black yarn. When you get back to the corner tie off your yarn and weave in the tail.

At this point your blanket should look like this:

The Superman Logo

For this part of the project, you will only need the red and black yarn.

To create the S used for the Superman logo I followed the youtube video here.

This was the hardest part of the project. It took me a while to understand the directions in the video. To create this logo you will need to know/learn how to do a single chain foundation stitch and how to crochet stitches together.

In the video when she refers to the single chain side of the foundation chain she is talking about the side of the work that has single chain stitches. (It took me a few tries to figure this part out). I ended up making this logo twice before I got it right. Third times the charm.

Border

Once you have completed your logo, then you use the black yarn and single crochet around the outside of the logo and the inside. Make sure to leave a tail long enough to sew each part of the work to the blanket.

Your superman logo should end up looking like this:

Final Steps

The last part of this project is sewing the Superman Logo onto your blanket. I started sewing at the bottom of the logo and worked my way around, then I sewed parts of the S on the inside that I wanted to lay flat.

You can hide any loose tails you had from attaching the black yarn underneath the logo or you can weave them into the border before sewing it on.

Once you have attached the logo your finished blanket should look amazing! And you should give yourself a pat on the back for getting that logo done!

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed working on this blanket and I hope my cousin likes it. If I could change anything about it I think I would have added more rows of the red yarn.

I also would have preferred for the black yarn not to be seen on the back of the work when I sewed the logo on, but I guess that’s what using a graphgan is for. I’m sure I could have hidden the yarn better during the sewing process.

If you have any tips or suggesting let me know. This is the first time I have ever provided instructions on how I created something. Please forgive me if there is a lack of detail.

If you decide to make this project please let me know or share a picture of it with me in the comments section. If you have questions about anything that I did please ask.

That’s one gift done. Now onto the next one.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner, crochet

Why You Should Pay Attention to Crochet Gauges

 

A few weeks ago I saw a pin for this really adorable crochet child’s hoodie. I was positive that my daughter would look super cute in it. Plus, it would double as a fall and spring jacket.

I quickly made my way to my local craft store to purchase some yarn.

Needless, to say I was really excited. This was going to be my first time making an actual crochet garment.

I’ve made scarves, headbands, and shawls before, but none of them had to be an exact fit.

If you haven’t read any of my other crochet posts you would know that I am notorious for just jumping right in and not following directions to the “T”.

Which is fine, when the fit doesn’t matter.

So I did what I usually do.

I jumped right in and started working through the pattern.

After putting in about two days worth of work, I made it to the part where it was time to assemble the shoulders and arm holes.

I quickly stitched everything together. I was so excited to try it on my daughter even though it wasn’t completely finished.

I got one arm in… and with a bit of a struggle the other arm went in.

Sadly, it was way to small for her. It looked like it was about to burst at the seams if she moved any more.

Attach24865_20180916_183753

I was so disappointed. All that time wasted creating something that wasn’t going to fit her.

Where had I gone wrong? I looked back at the pattern.

I had followed the instructions as they had been written (for a change).

 That couldn’t have been the issue…then at the top of the page I saw the recommended  crochet gauge, for the hoodie. next to the words,” make sure you CHECK YOUR GAUGE! 

What is a Crochet Gauge?

If you don’t know what a crochet gauge is, you’re not alone. I had to do a little bit of research before I understood what it was.

A crochet gauge tells you the number of stitches and the number of rows you should have in a 4×4 in square using a specific sized hook and yarn.

This square is known as a gauge swatch.

For some crochet patterns like dishcloths or scrubbies, where size doesn’t really matter, gauge is not important.

However, if you are going to create a hat or some other kind of garment then trying to replicate the gauge used is extremely important.

How To Make A Gauge Swatch

Every one crochets differently and if you want your garment to turn out right (and not wrong like mine did) then you need to check your gauge by making a gauge swatch.

You should make your swatch using the same stitches,yarn weight, and crochet hook used in the crochet pattern.

You can create a 4×4 in square swatch or you can make your swatch a little larger.

The recommended gauge for the hoodie I was working on was 11 hdc (half double crochets) and 10 rows in a 4x 4 in square.

Obviously, since I had followed the pattern and it turned out too small my gauge must have been wrong. I just didn’t know how wrong.

In typical fashion, I created my own gauge swatch, but instead of creating a 4” square I just crocheted 11 hdc and 10 rows.

I tend to crochet tightly especially, when using the smaller hook sizes. After 11 dc my width was only about 2.5” and my row height was only a little over 2.5”. Based on my swatch I was way off the mark.

Final Thoughts

After learning the hard way. I’ve realized that when it comes to making clothing in crochet that gauge is very important.

If you don’t follow the recommended gauge your item can end up being too small or too large.

I’m just glad that I didn’t complete the whole thing only to find out that it didn’t fit.

Until I’ve figured out how to fix my gauge I will have to put this project on hold, but when I’ve figured it out I’ll share my finished product with you guys.

Have you ever crocheted something and it turned out too small or too large? How did you fix it? Thanks for reading! 

Don’t forget to like and share this post.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner, crochet

4 Beautiful Easy Crochet Dishcloth Patterns for Beginners

4 Easy and Beautiful Crochet dishcloth patterns.
Multicolored crocheted dishcloth and hand towel set.
Crochet dishcloth and hand towel set.

One of my favorite hobbies is crocheting. Honestly, if I look at my stash of unused yarn that I have piled up all over the house, it’s probably a little more like yarn hoarding at the moment.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to spend crocheting these days with a mobile 10-month-old running around the place.

About a month ago, when I had more free time, I stumbled across the magical world of crochet dishcloths.

I’ve crocheted scarves, amigurumi, ponchos, purses, etc. I even tried to start an Etsy shop to sell my handmade goods. But for some reason, it never crossed my mind to crochet a dishcloth.

Can you even really wash dishes with these things? Apparently, you can if you use cotton yarn (which I didn’t even know was a thing).

You can even add nylon or scrubby yarn ( Evidently, there is a whole world of yarn out there that I don’t know about.)to make it more abrasive.

So, I figured I would give it a shot. I enjoyed it so much that I ended up making 4 different types of crochet dishcloths. Most of them were really quick and simple to make.

If you would like to try to make any of these I have included the links to each pattern.

1. Rescued Paw Designs by Krista

Blue and white crochet dishcloth.
Awesome textured dishcloth.

This was the first dishcloth I attempted to make because I thought it would be really easy and quick to work up. However, it took me a little longer to finish than I thought it would.

I had to refresh my memory on the difference between the front loop and back loop of a stitch. It is definitely a pattern for a more advanced beginner crocheter. It has a really nice texture. I can’t wait to see if it has any real scrubbing power.

(I used sugar n cream cotton yarn (White and Bleach Glass) to complete the first three dishcloths.

1.The Blossom Stitch Washcloth by Erica at 5 Little Monsters

Blue crochet dishcloth with a white border.
Beautiful Blossom Stitch

These dishcloths are really beautiful. I haven’t even tried to wash dishes with them yet because I don’t want to mess them up.

The pattern is fairly simple. It consists solely of single crochet, double crochet, and chain stitches. Once you get the pattern down it’s smooth sailing from there.

4. Diagonal Dish Cloths by Olives & Okra

Blue and white striped crochet dishcloth.
Corner to Corner Crochet Dishcloth

I really just wanted to try a corner to corner stitch. It was pretty simple to create considering the only stitch used is a single chain crochet and remembering which loop is the back loop.

I like the ribbed texture created from this pattern. I wonder how it would turn out if I used alternating rows of cotton yarn and scrubby yarn.

3. Mama’s Wash Cloth by Susan Carlton at the Felted Button

Multicolored crochet dishcloth and towel set.
Mama’s Washcloth gift set.

I enjoyed crocheting this dishcloth. It’s really simple and only uses single and double crochet stitches. I used lily’s sugar and cream cotton yarn (the color is natural stripes) for this pattern.

I liked making it so much that I created a larger one to use as a dish drying towel. The pattern creates a really cute spiked design, but it’s hard to see when you only use one color.

This color combination is really pretty. Instead of keeping them to myself, I gifted the set to my sister-in-law as a housewarming gift.

I can honestly say that I had fun creating these dishcloths. They were simple to create and worked up quickly.

They will definitely make their way into my arsenal of homemade gift ideas. They are way nicer than the dish clothes that I could buy in the store.

Hmmm…as a matter of fact, I might even try to make up my own dishcloth pattern! Just not today.

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Until next time,

The Crafty Afro