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Using T-shirt Yarn – September 2020

Using T-shirt Yarn – September 2020

Using T-shirt Yarn – September 2020

Using T-shirt yarn for knitting or crochet can lead to some amazing projects.  Projects work up quickly because the yarn is so big, but T-shirt yarn can be a little difficult to work with.  Here are some tips that I found  when I started using it and others that I picked up along the way.

  1. T-shirt yarn is pretty firm and can strain your body if you work with it too long in one sitting.  Take regular breaks. You may even find that you need to swap to other projects using softer and thinner yarn for a while.
  2. Do your finger exercises.  The strain on the muscles can be reduced with regular stretches.
  3. Use large hooks and needles—8mm and up. If you generally use the pen hold [A] you may need to adopt the knife hold [B] using these larger hooks.
  4. Needles and hooks that are a little slippery are helpful for working the stitches more easily and evenly with T-shirt yarn. Plastic needles therefore work better.
  5. T-shirt yarn is a lot heavier than regular yarn. As projects grow in size and get heavier they can put a lot of strain on your body. Take it slow and rest often if you’re feeling sore.​​
  6. Cotton T-shirt yarn is stretchy, but the less you pull on and stretch the T-shirt yarn as you work, the better off you’ll be in terms of getting an even tension and having stitches that don’t look distorted. If you do stretch it, it will get tight and ‘buckle’.
  7. T-shirt yarn is also less forgiving with tension than regular yarn as it doesn’t ‘move’ as easily. Once a stitch is in place, that’s what it will look like. For a neater finish, check your stitches as you go and redo any that don’t look good. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a misshapen stitch will just “sort itself out” as you go. It won’t!
  8. Knots in t-shirt yarn are big and difficult to hide and are guaranteed to spoil your work. Instead of using knots; try one of these alternatives:
    • sew the ends together—either with a sewing machine or by hand;
    • use strong, double-ended tape; or
    • use slits (see the diagram opposite)
  9. You can block your projects made with t-shirt yarn. Baskets in particular can be made sturdier by draping over a large bowl/saucepan, spraying with water and  left to dry.
  10. Sewing in ends is almost impossible, therefore it is better to crochet over the end as you begin and then weave in the end with your crochet hook after you fasten off.


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