Upcycling material scraps into twine

7 March 2017
Upcycling material scraps into twine
To say I enjoy up-cycling is an understatement. I'm not sure what it is about the activity, that draws me to it. Perhaps it's the problem solving aspect; nutting out a solution to a dilemma, pushing the cogs in my brain to creative overdrive. I love reading about other peoples solutions to practical problems too, and I know that is why I am drawn to blogs, both reading and writing one. Most blogs are infinite resources of solutions. If I have found a good solution or idea, either by myself or read someone else's, I feel compelled to share it, whether one hundred people find it useful or only one. I'm not sure what category this blog post falls into, but I'm going to share it anyway.

The Builder had a couple t-shirts he was not wearing, half synthetic and half cotton. The thread itself was not a blend, rather the graphics on the shirts were clearly a synthetic raised print, not a simple screen print. I have written previously about my dislike of synthetic clothing, due to the micro fibres entering our waterways when they are washed. This week, Story of Stuff shared their campaign on microfibres. Rather than pass the synthetic clothing I had on to charity (for someone else to deal with and to continue polluting water ways), I came up with the idea of turning all of my old synthetic clothing into pillow stuffing. And those pillows I mentioned above, are full!

The t-shirts were all cotton (except the weird plastic print graphic) making great rags for when the baby arrives, to help mop up spills, vomit etc. I feel like rags will be our best friend very soon. The graphic part of the t-shirt could not be used as a rag. I cut up the t-shirts for our rag pile and put the plastic print graphic squares with other odd scrap material, left over from shirts I had turned into cleaning cloths previously. I knew I could turn this pile of scrap fabric into something, but was unsure what.

I then came across a tutorial on turning scraps of fabric into twine. I had found my solution, turning the cloth into strips and began turning it into twine.
Upcycling material scraps into twineUpcycling material scraps into twine
It's not as colourful as Cinita's tutorial and I had to plait it, as it would not twist. But it worked and I am now figuring out what I will turn the twine into from here. I am tempted to replicate the weaving skills, learnt at a class last year with Put Your Heart Into It.

I have had my share of upcycling projects not go 100% to plan, yet I never see them as fails. More like learning curves, the object morphing into something else or more than I imagined. Taking old items, deemed as useless and turning them into something useful, was a common occurrence last century and beyond. I wonder if our ancestors did it purely out of necessity OR was reimagining and rethinking simply an integrated part of our mindset that we as a modern society have lost? Many of the upcycling ideas I find are not new ideas, they are old. Making fabric twine from scraps of is not a new concept.

I feel like this post could start rambling on and on. So I best leave it here and think about what object I will turn my new found fabric twine into.

Are you a fanatical upcycler? Do you like purchasing up-cycled treasures? What is a favourite up-ycled piece you have seen someone create? If you don't like upcycling, what is it about the process that turns you off it? What else could I have done with the scraps of fabric?

19 comments

  1. Really cool idea! I never would have thought of that - may have to give it a try at some point!

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    1. I would never had thought to try it either. It was an easy and fun project to do :)

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  2. Looks beautiful! Try a bowl or a doormat once you have enough. I collected forever and made a bath mat from the old tshirts.

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    1. The bath mat would be epic to try. I'm impressed!!! I might try the bowl or I was thinking a hot plate mat. The useful items old fabric can be turned into is endless.

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  3. Anonymous3/16/2017

    Hi Erin,

    I loved seeing the pictures of your twine. Twine itself is very useful, but you could also knit or crochet it into other things - dishcloths, wipes for the baby, pot holders, even a bikini! If you chose your colours carefully you could even use the twine as cool shoe laces.

    I often think of all of the ways that my parents reused things. All of my mothers nylon stockings were used to tie up plants in the garden. Old jars held all of my father's nuts and bolts in the garage, and until I left home my cloth nappies were still being used to wash the floor!

    Madeleine.x

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    1. Anonymous3/21/2017

      My parents still use my nappies as window and floor washing/drying rags and I'm 26! It's great- instead of plastic nappies that would still be sitting in landfill those nappies have had years of usefulness and when they finally fall apart they could be composted.

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    2. With a bit of imagination, anything can be upcycled. There is no end to what we can do. I do need something to set my hot pots onto. I love looking back and remembering how our parents and grandparents were so adept at upcycling stuff. But I also wonder at what point did we stop? And why?

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  4. Great post and very goodideas.I made something similar during my pregnancy.While decluttering my closet, I set aside all the old clothes and other fabrics made from natural fibers and then turned them into about hundreds of cloth napkins and bibs. Those things get stained very fast and when baby is young you need tons of them, so this was e very good and useful solution for me. Doing this, I saved a good amount of money for other useful stuff I needed to buy for the baby. Greets!

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    1. Way to go mama! It is the best solution and if i could sew, i'd try my hand at this. Very inspiring :)

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  5. This post is really helping me stay inspired to start my rag rug ! I've helped myself to my husbands ratty tee's he wont miss and a couple of my own and some long strips from sewing projects. All the pieces of cloth that cant be quilted under 3 inches I am saving for stuffed animal or ottoman up-cycled stuffins. I hate wasting fabric!! This would be excellent for use of things i have to tie up as well! thanks for the idea!

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    1. Good luck with the projects. Your comment just inspired me with an idea to upcycle something else. Ottoman stuffing!

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  6. Such a great upcycling idea and a wonderful way to reduce waste. I've also read your other upcycling projects and I can't wait to try them, too, especially the pillow!

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    1. Thank you for the words of encouragement. All the best with the pillow. Lucky most of my up cycling tricks are easy to do.

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  7. very good ideas and a great article about cycling
    Thanks for sharing this article.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to reply with your kind words.

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  8. It's Very user for article Erin Keep it up

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    1. Hello Sanjay, thank you for the kind words :) I finally found a use for my material scrap twine.

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