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Make Your Own Rag Yarn

I want to share a cool way to repurpose old, worn shirts into what I call rag yarn. This “yarn” can then be used to knit, crochet, or even be braided and sewn into various craft projects. Old t-shirts or similar material work very well. I like to use stripes because they are easier to cut evenly, and make interesting color patterns.  Start by laying your old shirt out flat on a table top, keeping the front and back as even as possible.

 Lay shirt out flat

Next you want to cut the top off, cutting as close under the arms as you can.

Start cut under arm 

cut completely off 

Now cut the hem off.

cut off hem 

You are left with a nice chunk of material that is basically a tube. Starting at the end, cut from what was the side of the shirt. Cut ¾ to 1 inch strips to within 1 ½ inches of the top.

cut strips 

Do NOT cut completely off.

cut to within an inch and a half of the top 

Repeat this, cutting strips the whole length of the piece.

Cut strips the entire way across 

Now open the piece and lay the part that is still connected flat on your tabletop.Starting from the outside, you want to make DIAGONAL cuts from one slot to the next.

open uncut part and lay out flat 

If you cut straight, you will not have one long piece, but lots of unconnected loops! Continue these cuts the entire way, ending the same way you started.

continue cutting in this manner the whole length 

At end 

Next to last cut 

Last cut 

If you did it right, you should have one long, continuous thin strip of material.

Long rag strip 

Starting at one end of your strip, stretch it. When it is stretched, the material curls, resembling yarn.

stretch to curl into rag yarn 

After I stretch it, I roll it into rag balls till I think I have enough for whatever project I have in mind.

rag yarn balls 

You can make potholders, chair pads, rugs, and table runners…anything you can imagine!

come up with your own cool creations 

It’s fun to color coordinate too, choosing shirts with colors that complement each other in your project. The top portion of your shirt can also be cut into rags to be used for cleaning, or for someone like my husband, into disposable grease rags. Give it a try, and see what you can come up with!