Tarn. T-Shirt Yarn

Ms. SpoolTeacher mentioned on her Facebook page that she is making t-shirt yarn. She has discovered many things already.

She just took what she has on hand from t-shirts she has stopped wearing. Seamed tee’s are no good. They can be used, of course, but seamless t-shirts are the best. Seamed ones leave a bump every seam and don’t curl at that point. So you might want to cut the seams and splice as you go, but that means little short strips. Seamless t-shirts allow one continuous strand.
The hems cut off from t-shirts before making yarn from them

The above picture is of the hems at the bottoms that are cut off first. She’s sure they will find their own usefulness.

Her rotary cutter had no sharp edges left so she just got out her favorite pair of Crafter’s Companion scissors and started cutting away. “Fooey”, she says, on having the latest greatest tools. Don’t let that stop you. It is amazing how skilled one gets at cutting exactly one inch strips, (or whatever size she wants) as she goes along. It’s rather therapeutic to sit and cut around and around the t-shirt and see it all pile up.

1 inch makes a nice size yarn, but she liked 1 1/4″ better as she plans to use it for a rug. Later she saw some very fine ones on Etsy that she may try as well. Fine meaning they were probably 1/2 inch before curling.

T-Shirt Yarn by ArtWildflowers on Etsy

T-Shirt Yarn by ArtWildflowers on Etsy (click picture to visit)

After you cut it off, you pull it to stretch it. You need to give it a good pull and be consistent. As you pull, the edges curl in on themselves and you want the raw edges tucked into the turns. She realized that the material curls into the front, the back exposed, so any images printed on the front only show as a “bleed-through” shading. Not necessarily bad.

When stretched, the material is supposed to curl on itself into the yarn it becomes

When stretched, the strip is supposed to curl in on itself. The turquoise one refused to do so. It will have to find a different use, she supposes.

T-shirt yarn. Each ball represents a whole shirt

Here’s her pile so far. She also noticed on Etsy that many people selling it have learned to spool it such that it looks very professional. Here’s an example:

EcoTees on Etsy

EcoTees on Etsy, click picture to visit her shop

So, Ms. SpoolTeacher is trying hard to dig in to her Resource Central and get to making things she might use or sell on Spare Shelf on Etsy. Currently her Etsy shop looks like she prefers to knit or crochet; but it is really a telling sign of what resources she has already made use of. She works with what she has and makes the most of it.

The t-shirt yarn making started with this image of a finished rag rug that Ms. SpoolTeacher thinks is gorgeous.

image courtesy of Good Ideas For You via Olino Hobby

image courtesy of Good Ideas For You. Click picture to go to website.

Olino Hobby made this rug

Close-up of above rug. Olino Hobby made this rug, but the tutorial is foreign language. The pictures there tell everything without words, however. This picture links to her tutorial.

rug made by greenatheartrugs on Etsy

Ms. SpoolTeacher loves this girls work. Click picture to go to her Etsy shop.

Ms. SpoolTeacher also made a few more Yo Yos and has learned a thing or two there as well. She likes the bigger gathering stitches that tighten closer in the center. She’s still not skilled at knotting them off and getting pleats to look right at the end.

Yo Yo pile increasing

Yo Yo pile increasing


yo yo's in the making

click pic to read, “Hey, Yo” post by Ms. SpoolTeacher


The main thing is to be productive and to utilize resources on hand.

For your viewing enjoyment, here are two more of her inspirations:

rag rug inspiration

image courtesy of: odpaam on Etsy.

Rag rug inspiration

And here is one made from fabric other than t-shirt yarn. Image courtesy of: RagsMadeRight on Etsy.

Doesn’t this all make you want to tear something up? Maybe cutting would be neater.

Have fun and here is a great tutorial for using just plain old scissors.


Dancing Spools

These beautiful people…

Who are these beautiful people and how did they influence her?

Ms. SpoolTeacher’s mother loved to spool her own clothes. This picture was of the beginning of Ms. SpoolTeacher’s life. These two people met in Goosebay Labrador and fell in love. This night, they were probably headed to a dance. They loved, loved to dance. It was probably a special dance as they are dressed to the nines. There is little doubt that that beautiful vintage dress was hand-spooled. No doubt.

They would go on to have three little girls, whom Ms. SpoolTeacher’s mother would dress alike for years. Most of which were fabricated from remnants lovingly plucked from the reduced bins of House of Fabrics. (noone less than 50 years old knows about that wonderful sewing and fabric store. It just reeked of cemical dyes before there was any concern, it was the delight of all sewers to pass the doors and get that fix of fabric smell. Disneyland. A pure Disneyland of Fabrics. Countless hours…spent.)

As a little girl, Ms. SpoolTeacher sat with her two sisters with a See’s lollipop in their mouths while “mummy” looked through pattern books then scoured the bins for the best three-of-a-kind fabric cuts. Sometimes the colors would vary, but always three alike somehow.


Ms. SpoolTeacher would lay for many hours behind her mother sitting at the Kenmore machine, stretched out on the full sized bed, daydreaming and chatting; quality time listening to the machine hum, the pressure foot going up and down, and watching her mother create a work of art for her to wear, or a new outfit for her doll.

She was about 5 when her mother couldn’t keep the needle away from her any longer.

age about five, needle and thread and some this and that…

Little Ms. SpoolTeacher was helplessly hooked.

Her career Decorating other people’s homes was started because of a wonderful Kirsch Drapery Hardware magazine that fell into her hands somewhere along the lines. She saw a way to marry her love of sewing and decorating together in the world of treating windows.

After many years of “making” (having a workroom make) other people’s ideas (however strongly influenced by herself), she wanted to create her own, using her intuition and whatever fabric fell her way.

She pulled this ensemble together based on a vision of what they might be. The ribboned dark purple was purchased because she couldn’t not, the satin stripe was from the leftover of a job probably 20 years prior and stored for such a thing as this, the plaid piping was a little remnant that seemed to surface constantly and beg to be used. It was a lightweight cotton and it just didn’t seem to have enough heft for anything substantial. It had just found it’s perfect home. The cream sheer was a “memo” sample ordered to test a sheer for a client (designer’s order memos to get a bigger sample than what is typically in a book of samples so the client and she can handle it and play with it). It was enough to cut several strips from and ruffle it up to splice between levels of this evolving drapery panel. The translucent iridescent sheer another memo (not much of it so judicious use required, splicing pieces and settling for a diagonal seam in the middle).

The diagonal satin stripe would make a nice bias un-corded lip between tiers. That fabric, more retrieved leftovers from workroom jobs, always overestimated. (best practices call for this, to insure for mistakes and be sure of enough – dye-lots are a nightmare) The bullion trim would not make it in.

                                                                                           ^ (sorry about the camera cord)

(Floor Monster and Paint Monster are showing their faces in this shot. They will have to answer to this eventually)

Bishop sleeve anyone? Several ways to use this panel.

Ms. SpoolTeacher spent this process “InSewVating” and did manage to cut two of each items, but couldn’t bring herself to fabricate the second panel, the first one was sooooo much detail work. Fortunately, she has a perfect place (an un-doored opening) to hang a single panel, even though the other side of the room has another un-doored passage that would love to have the companion – one of the millions of things she will do “later”; like all that heavy lifting!) (and getting Paint Monster to paint polka dots on the floor?!)

It could work. :o)