Making and using T-shirt yarn with Clare Griffel

Tutor: Clare Griffel
Craft: Hand Knitting, Crochet
Experience: Basic
Summary: Learn the best way to make old T-shirts into yarn, and make a start on knitting or crocheting an item using the yarn.


Bag made from T-shirt yarn.
Photo credit: David Griffel

More than 235 million items of clothing go into landfill every year. But that doesn’t have to happen – we can recycle old T-shirts into yarn for knitting, crochet, macrame … – and it’s fun!

In this session we will learn the most efficient method for making the yarn, and discuss the type of item which can be knitted or crocheted using this yarn. We will then work on producing a small bag or a tablemat. The technique can also be used on plastic carrier bags.

About the tutor

Photo of Clare Griffel
Photo credit: David Griffel

Clare has been knitting since the age of 7 – a very long time! She particularly enjoys interesting methods of construction, innovative textures and reversible fabrics.  Clare has given workshops for a number of WI groups, and at previous Conventions. 

While Clare loves a nice hand-dyed wool as much as anyone, she will knit with anything that can be turned into yarn. Clare is also very interested in sustainability, so the idea of making useful things out of old T-shirts is very appealing. 

Skills required

Basic knitting or crochet ability – this yarn is not suitable for complex patterns. 


No preparation needed.

What to bring

Participants need to bring a sharp pair of scissors, and a pair of large knitting needles or crochet hook, size 6 mm or larger. Also several T-shirts or carrier bags – T-shirts must have a substantial cotton content and be jersey fabric, not woven. As a rough guide, a smallish bag will require 3 – 4 T-shirts.

Additional material

Clare will provide a handout to help you remember what you learn during the workshop.