Jill Tarabar

Graphic Designer by day. Fiber Artist by night.



Upcycle T-shirts into Yarn

This is my first project as part of the 3 Month Channel Challenge... 


If you're like our family... we're "just in it for the t-shirt!" Whether it's a charity event, concert or sports team, the t-shirts accumulate fast!

This project is a great way to UPcycle those shirts... but if you'd rather not part with your memories, a wide variety of colorful t-shirts can be found at your local thrift store a a great price. 

Follow these 4 easy steps to create a continuous strand of colorful, machine washable, cotton, heavy worsted to bulky weight yarn out of each shirt.

Class Project:

You'll only need two things to get started:

  1. T-shirts. Looks for shirts that do not have side seams or any type of overall sewn-on appliqués. Shirts that have printed-on designs are fine, especially if the design is above the underarm. The larger the shirt, the better... Aim for XL or larger. Thrift stores are a great source for shirts at a very reasonable price. Machine wash and dry your shirts before beginning.
  2. A good Fabric Scissor. When choosing a scissor, cutting through fabric is very different than cutting through paper or other household items. Fabric scissors are available at most craft, hobby and fabric stores as well as some big-box retailers. Once you've found that fabric scissor - hide it! Don't let anyone use it for cutting paper or anything else as it will dull quickly!

Deliverable: Show off a photo of your completed ball of yarn!

Previous class posted at part of the July New Teacher Challenge:


Knit a Mobius Infinity Cowl:

A Mobius strip, by definition, is a single-edged geometric surface with only one continuous side. Bring geometry to life with this deceptively easy-to-knit cowl which can double as a hood or even a shawl.

Together, we will knit a Mobius Cowl step by step, mastering new knitting skills such as Provisional Crochet Cast-on, Adding Beads as you knit, and creating an Invisible Kitchener Stitch seam.

This class focuses on knitting a Mobius Cowl with any yarn of the student’s choosing. The chosen yarn will determine knitting needle size, (optional) bead size and crochet hook size.

Please feel free to post any comments or questions in response to each video lesson.

Revised Intro Video

Lesson 1: Choose your project yarn and needles. The cowl pictured was knit using a fairly thin, sport weight rayon yarn. Choose a yarn that has character… silkiness such as a rayon or ribbon yarn, loft such as a mohair yarn, bulk such as a thicker winter yarn. You will need approximately 200 yards of yarn to complete this project.

In order to achieve a loose, drapey appearance, choose a knitting needle at least 3 sizes larger than the yarn label recommends. The cowl pictured was knit with a US #17 knitting needle. Create a test swatch to determine the size of needle you’d like to use with your yarn selection.

  • Deliverable: Post a photo and description of your yarn and needle choice.

Lesson 2 (optional): Decide if you’d like to include beads on the edge of your Mobius Cowl. Choose a bead that is light in weight but has a large enough hole for 2 strands of yarn. Wooden beads work well and the hole can be enlarged with a drill if necessary. Larger seed beads (size 6 or larger) work well with thin yarns such as lace or fingering. The hole in your bead must be large enough to allow a crochet hook to slide through, grab your yarn (demonstrated in the video) and pull the stitch through the hole in the bead.  If you do choose to include beads, you will need approx 36 to 50 beads.

  • Deliverable: Post a photo and description of your yarn and beads.

Lesson 3: Provisional Crochet Cast-on using waste yarn. This cast on will be unraveled in the last steps of this project and those live stitches will be “woven” with the stitches on your needle using a Kitchener Stitch. This stitch literally creates a knit row between the two sets of live stitches while binding them off. Crochet cast on is the easiest to unravel when we get to this point. Begin to knit your Mobius Cowl using your chosen project yarn and needles. Continue to Lesson 4 if you choose to add beads or knit to 28" to 36" and skip to lesson #5.

  • Deliverable: Post any questions you may have at this point. If not, proceed to 

Lesson 4 (Optional):  Learn to add beads to the edge of your Mobius Cowl as you knit. 

  • Deliverable: Post a photo of the edge of your Mobius Cowl showing off your beads!

Lesson 5: Add a Mobius Twist and learn Kitchener Stitch. This is the final step to turn your flat knitted rectangle into a continuous, single-edged cowl! Once complete, it will be nearly impossible to determine the beginning or the end of your  beautiful Mobius Cowl! 

  • Deliverable: Post a photo of you finished cowl! Yeah!

What makes this a recipe rather than a pattern? As with any recipe, you will want to understand the proportions but then have the opportunity to experiment, embellish and enjoy both the process and the outcome.

Here is what you'll need to get started:

  • Up to 200 yds of any yarn of your choosing. You will need more yardage if you choose a lace/fingering yarn and less if you choose a worsted/bulky yarn (100-150 yds). This is a great project to play with novelty yarn such as ribbon or eyelash that might be overwhelming for a sweater or larger project or a more pricey yarn as you'll only need 1-2 skeins. It works equally well with a smooth yarn or a more lofty mohair.
  • Straight knitting needles in US size #13 or larger. Needle size will be discussed in the "Choose Yarn, then Determine Needle Size and Gauge" video lesson.
  • A crochet hook. The size of hook is determined by your yarn choice and bead choice. 
  • (Optional): 36 - 50 or more beads with a large enough hole for 2 strands of yarn to fit through. Again, this will be demonstrated through video lessons. You will also need a crochet hook that can fit through that bead hole and grab the yarn. This will most likely be the same crochet hook used to cast on but may have to be a second smaller size hook.

Please join me on this knitting adventure!



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