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Fabric to Knit or Crochet


Crafters who love to sew and love to knit and crochet can combine these versatile skills and show off their handiwork in unusual ways. By tearing or cutting fabric into long narrow continuous strips, the resulting yarn-like lengths can be knitted or crocheted into various projects.

The most common example of fabric strips used in these ways is a well-known recycle project – crafting the rag rug. Rather than the useful and functional rug, consider making continuous fabric strips to knit or crochet a sleeveless top for the upcoming warmer weather months.

Pair the combination of a knitted or crocheted fabric top with the same fabric used for the fabric strips to sew a simple gathered skirt. The combination top and skirt makes for a surprisingly contemporary spring or summer outfit.

Choose softly woven, light-weight cotton or cotton blends to cut, or tear into narrow strips suitable for knitting or crocheting. If the fabric has a print, the pattern should show though to the wrong side nearly as clear and bright on the right side to be effective, as the fabric strips will naturally twist and turn as they are manipulated. Solids work well too, however a printed fabric is particularly stunning. Also old t-shirts no longer favored to wear make for an excellent fabric choice.

To cut fabric for knitting or crocheting a simple sleeveless top you will need about 3 yards of 44-45” wide fabric or several soft t-shirts. Several methods can be used to prepare the fabric strips.

Method One – Cut fabric yardage lengthwise into approximately ½" wide strips several yards long. Roll into loose fabric balls. Rather than tie ends to make a continuous strip, which will make uneven lumps when knitting or crocheting, join new strips with a loose overhand knot. For t-shirts, cut as many long strips as is possible.

Method Two – Lay fabric yardage open flat so that the right and left selvedges are visible. Measure down ½” from one selvedge edge and cut horizontally cross-grain nearly to the opposite side selvedge edge but not all the way through. Stop ½" in from the edge. Then measure down ½" from this selvedge edge and cut horizontally back across to the opposite edge. Continue in this zigzag way till all the fabric has been cut but never cutting all the way through either of the selvedge edges. It should look like the letter "Z" was cut several times continuously from the top to the bottom so that the fabric will open up into one very long strip. Roll the continuous fabric strip into a loose ball to have at the ready.

Method Three – After strips of fabric are cut, parallel or crosswise to the fabric selvage, cut a slit in the end of one strip and the same size slit in both ends of the next strip and all subsequent strips. Lay the first strip down face up. Pull the second strip all the way through the slit of the first strip up to the slit that was cut in the end. Then take the end of that strip and pull it though the strip’s own cut end combining the two strips into one. Continue with all strips, winding into a soft ball as you go.

Use your favorite simple sleeveless sweater top pattern to knit or crochet in the usual manner using large size knitting needles or crochet hooks. Let the long fabric strip unfold and twist naturally. If the fabric edges have frayed somewhat they will contribute to and enhance the modern look of the top. Knitting or crocheting with large size needles or hooks with fabric as your yarn lends itself easily to finishing the top in no time.

Our families hold a treasure chest of skilled knowledge like sewing, knitting, crocheting, food preservation, recycling, ranching and farming that is so valuable; hopefully new generations will see these skills for what they are, a universe of knowledge to be revealed, rediscovered, relearned, and cherished.

Sew happy, sew inspired.


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Content copyright © 2015 by Cheryl Ellex. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.

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