Knitting dishcloths from old t-shirts

by - Wednesday, February 27, 2019

After Marie-Kondo-ing our closets, we were left with several t-shirts which weren't well suited for donating. I cut several up to use as dusters and polishing cloths (they're great for glass and mirrors!), but decided to re-purpose the remaining few to use as dishcloths, as the texture is great for scrubbing without damage to delicate plates.

T-shirt yarn, I've discovered, is surprisingly fun to work with. You'll need chunky needles, which should only cost a couple of pounds from a haberdashery, a large sharp pair of scissors, and just a little patience. Plus any old t-shirts which are past their best.

To make t-shirt yarn, you'll want to create one long piece from each t-shirt.

Cut off the bottom seam, then just under the arms, in straight lines, like this:

Turn the t-shirt on it's side, then cut up from the bottom in straight lines about 1 inch apart, leaving one inch at the top:

This next bit is trickier to explain. Move the uncut section (which should run across a side-seam) to the centre, then cut diagonally to the left to join each section. The first cut from the left should go right to the edge, and will form one end of your yarn. Then the second strip on the bottom will join to the first strip on the top, and so on.

This should leave you with one long strip of fabric. Now for the magic!

Take the yarn on small sections between your hands and pull it taught. You'll find the yarn stretches and curls in on itself.

Once it's all done, you can wrap it into a ball and get knitting!

For me, knowing how many stitches to cast on was a bit hit and miss. I gauged much easier with the pale fabric, cut from an XL-sized men's t-shirt with 20 stitches. The striped one was much smaller so I cast on 15, but ended up with a long rectangle!

Once you've finished your square (or rectangle) you can finish it off by pulling the remaining yarn through the final stitch to knot, then weaving the end through your stitching to neaten it off.

I found the process very satisfying: the chunky yarn makes for quick and easy projects, though I'm yet to discover how to join t-shirt yarn neatly to knit something larger.

Will you try this project yourself? Let us know how you get on, or if you have any hints and tips, by leaving your comments below.

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  1. Sewing T-Shirt yarn strips together so not as bulky, how about using the same technique that is used in making binding for quilts !!