Joining Fabric Strips

  I've been working on a huge recycled sheet project, and it's time to share the truth about such things: It takes more work to make your material than it does to crochet the project. If you want to make fabric strips the "right" way (to reduce the amount of fraying and ensure they stay together), then you'll need to cut the fabric on the bias and spend a lot of time sewing. That's not for me, and my bias strips fray anyways. For those of you who don't mind the thread bits and want to save some time, I'd like to show you my trick for joining fabric strips with a smoother join, no sewing needed.

fabric scrap yarn, recycled fabric yarn, sheet yarn, how to

  The threads get messy while cutting and crocheting, but the fraying stops once the project is worked up. If you wanted to spend the time trimming all the bits from the finished project, you could... But just like cutting and joining the "right" way, that's not for me. (And wow, that would take forever! You might as well spend the time making bias strips instead.) I think the threads give it extra style, like the fraying bottoms of cut-offs that haven't been hemmed.

sheet yarn, recycled fabric, fabric scrap yarn, how to join

  So, here's my work in all it's glory; I won't hide the mess from you. The ends of the strips are sloppy, threads are everywhere, and I don't even cut the material straight. But the joins are strong and smooth, plus one simple extra step will help you avoid tails popping out. It may not be as pretty as working with bias strips, but it gets the job done more quickly.

  The one thing I actually do that isn't sloppy is wind the material up as I go; otherwise, I'm always left with piles of tangles. You don't have to wind your fabric yarn, but I do recommend it if you'll be making all the material before you begin crocheting.

how to, fabric scrap yarn, sheet yarn
You'll need to cut a slit in all the ends of the strips. I do so as I'm creating the material, but you may want to do it as you join the strips. My strips are about 1" wide, and I make the cut 1" from the end. Test to make sure the cut won't rip out easily before making slits in all the strips.

fabric scrap yarn, sheet yarn, how to
Run the end of strip 'B' through the slit in strip 'A'. (If you do it backwards and pull strip 'A' through the slit of strip 'B', don't worry! It works the same both ways.)

fabric scrap yarn, sheet yarn, how to
Now, here's your trick: If you run the short tail of 'A' (the rest of the strip past the cut) through the slit in strip 'B', then you'll get a knot that smooths out into a tube shape. If you skip that step, the tail gets stuck inside the knot and makes it thick and lumpy. I like to make it easy by pinching the short tail of 'A' together with the opposite end of 'B', and running them together through the slit.

fabric scrap yarn, sheet yarn, how to
So, you should have both the short tail of 'A' and the opposite end of 'B' ran through the first slit in strip 'B'. Now, pull the opposite end of 'B' through until there's no more material.

fabric scrap yarn, sheet yarn, how to
I like to give the tails a pull to straighten them out, which makes one tail curl over the strip. The other tail usually curls in the opposite direction, so don't fight it.

fabric scrap yarn, sheet yarn, how to
As you crochet up to the knot, fold the tail inside of the strip, and you won't have to worry about the tail popping out at all.

-  -  -  -  -

  Is it the best way? No. But it's the way that gets it done for me. I'm not good at sewing, and I have a ton of material to cut up with no help. So when I have time, I sit on the floor with a scrap piece of plywood and my rotary cutter, and cut... And cut, and cut, and cut. It took me a whole day to cut a king-sized fitted sheet into strips. Then it took me more than a day to join them all. And I still have two more sheets to cut up for the project. No, it's not the "best" way, but if I do it any other way, I'll never get it done. 

fabric scrap yarn, sheet yarn, how to

It always seems like such a great idea when I'm looking at my old sheets and wondering what I should do with them... "Yay, let's recycle and crochet something!" But after hours on the floor cutting and joining and I'm still only finished with one sheet, all I can think of is getting back to

Happy Crocheting!


Popular posts from this blog

How to: Bobbles, Clusters and Popcorn

Hooks with a History - Boye

How to Sew a Toggle Button