Craftsplosion! v 2.0

This is the absolute last project I’m taking on this summer until I finish something – anything, I promise. Slowly but surely, I vow to take our tiny apartment back from this Craftsplosion. Not that I object so much to having projects everywhere but in a small space, things go from charming to messy real fast. And that goes for both my “Ravelry Queue” and Pinterest “Project Queue.”

Technically, this project combines three on my list, had started about a month ago and is up-cycling stuff we had around the house so… I’m being efficient?  Though, if I’m completely honest, I think this was just a matter of the project being irresistible and really good fiber timing.

[After some feed back I realized that I posted the wrong version, so I wanted to clear up the details of this project so it makes sense later.]

Usually old white undershirts become rags and then become compost (they are 100% cotton after all) but a year ago, I discovered T-shirt yarn was a thing and resolved to make some. I was in the middle of turning 8 shirts into rags when I remembered I wanted to try this and took the remaining shirts out of the rag bin. Then knitting happened. So as I began trying to contain the craft, I came across the stack of shirts and decided it was time they become yarn. At first, In thought it would be cool to make a pullover of some sort to really recycle the yarn into a top, but then I took a Pinterest break and I saw this little guy.
Free pattern and the image are from

At that, my internal critic spoke up: A plushie Maggs? Isn’t that just a huge waste of material?

But my inspiration would not be so easily cowed: It isn’t if it’s the world’s most adorable throw pillow, which is something the couch desperately needs.

That’s not hyperbole, I’ve been meaning to figure out how to make a bunch of pillows for our couch – not out of some weird desire to have a Pinterest worthy couch – but because it’s the last stage of finishing our couch.

Yeah, you read correctly. When my allergies to dust mites and mold meant we had to get rid of our old futon, we decided it was time to upgrade to an actual couch. We found out really quickly that we couldn’t get a used couch for that same reason, and like mattresses, the only couches I wasn’t allergic to were REALLY expensive. So we did the next best thing and made our own out of  a long narrow twin bed and a queen size duvet cover. The box spring is where we sit and the mattress part is the back. It has a good amount of storage and some pillows acting as cushions  but it needs some more pillows to be more comfortable.

Cue these two cute owls.

The Spouse and I really like both so I’ll be making both, but will be adjusting the pattern a bit so that they are both the same size and have the same pillow potential as the Snowy Owl (which we are both a bit on the fence about it remaining white, so rather than make it confusing, we’re just calling him Whiskey from now on). Since we want to keep these guys in good condition and free from allergens as much as possible, I am going to make them more like pillow cases which we can wash. Whiskey Owl might also be winking when all is said and done. I know that these are a lot of changes but the best is yet to come and I am seriously amped about it!

While I am making Mortimer, Glasses Owl, out of acrylic yarn, I get the opportunity to both knit and make the fiber for Whiskey, and he’s really where all three projects come together. Last week, I got to work. I watched a bunch of YouTube tutorials on making t-shirt yarn and set off to make some.

From t-shirt to yarn.
From t-shirt to yarn.

When all was said and done, I had about 35 yards/t-shirt but I also had a ton of left over material and it bugged me something fierce. The Spouse (Mrs. Mg? I’m working on it) knows I hate to waste things and what’s better, she gets it, which might be because we both grew up with grandmothers from that Greatest Generation, who managed to use every scrap of everything and make awe-inspiring things that lasted forever. Even though The Spouse suggested that I use the extra material as stuffing, I could feel both of grandmas shaking their heads as I looked upon the hem of the shirt and the section from the sleeves up. So much material… Material that I needed because I was a bit short on yardage.

I decided to cut off the seam of the hem and make that into yarn – and ended up gaining four yards! Five hems, later, I had an extra 20 yards and then I turned my attention to the top half of the shirts. I also experimented with cutting one up and though I at last understood why the seams of these sections were a problem, the strands come apart at them, but the yarn not being continuous isn’t the end of the world. Not when I up my yardage some more and now have a little over 400 yards! Or enough to complete the entire project and still have a little left over – maybe enough to make some wings? I have to admit that I didn’t end up using every scrap of the shirts as yarn, sorry Grandma and Abuelita, but I will definitely be using the collars and sleeves as stuffing.

T-shirt yarn. The three in the back are just the bottom part of the shirt while the two in front have the hem added.

I am far from finished. I have to dye some of the yarn and get the right sized DPN’s before I even start knitting but even that’s going to be fun. I’ve never dyed anything before, so I get to learn about that as well. In the end, I’m going to have a project in which I had a hand at every stage and the mere thought is both humbling and thrilling!


17 thoughts on “Craftsplosion! v 2.0

  1. Long live frugality! This looks like a great project, I especially like that you’ll have played a part in all it’s creation. It’s sort of like spinning, but with re-purposing and faster results ( I imagine, I’ve never tried spinning yarn) T-shirt yarn sounds perfect for pillows – they will be so soft!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I might have quit knitting if I’d started here but I’m so glad I finally gave them a shot. They’ve taught me a lot, including that I need to take notes when I knit and how to follow a pattern, which I’d always been scared of before.


      1. It took me years of trying periodically before I got how to cast on, so very glad that my first project was a scarf. The main things that I learned from socks are that my gauge is tighter in the round, dpns are less scary than they look, and it looks impressive to even life-long knitters

        Liked by 1 person

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