From Sheets to Yarn – Starting a Rag Crochet Project


How to Turn Sheets into Balls of Yarn

(with extra help for those who live under feline rule)

rag crochet - turning old sheets into balls of yarn

I’ve done rag crochet projects like this before and here are two things I’ve learned

  1. its a lot of work to get your “rags’ ready to crochet, and
  2. a certain troublesome furry little creature that I live will be all over it every step of the way

As I mentioned last week, I’m starting a rag crochet project. I have some old sheets and I want a tote bag. That’s simple enough. But it always takes longer than you would think to get your “yarn” ready. In the past I’ve powered through the prep stage and ended up with a sore back (from being bent over) and stiff hands (from all the cutting). This time I’m not demonstrating for a class so I can take it easy. I’m doing a little bit everyday. I’m also working with a camera right next to me so I can capture all those charming moments of constructive and helpful feline assistance.

The Materials

You’ll need some fabric to cut up. Here are the sheets I’m sacrificing for this project.

old sheets

You’ll also need scissors, plenty of coffee, and bribes.

The Cutting of Strips

Cut your fabric into strips and don’t worry too much about the edges. Make them a certain thickness and then try to be consistent. The thicker your strip is, the thicker the “yarn” will be. If you find yourself sweating over a thin strip or trying to trim down a thick one.. stop. Its RAG crochet. Its supposed to look a little rough.

1) Find a nice big space in some good light to spread those sheets out.

cat under the sheet

2) Chase The Feline Overlord out from under the sheets.

3) Turn your back to grab the scissors.

4) Chase her out from under the sheets again.

cat under the sheets again

5) Cut off any elastic edges or trim first.

elastic edge from an old sheet

6) Dangle that cut off edge in the air for a few minutes. No you can’t skip this step. Trust me its easier to just give in.

cats playing with fabric strips

7) Cut your strips. Mine are 1 to 1.5 inches wide.

old sheet cut into strips

8) Take a break. Go get yourself some more coffee and let Her Evilness have Her Evil Way with your strips. Trust me its easier to just give in.

cat playing in fabric strips

** This post got long and somehow wound up with too many cat pictures. I had to break it into two pages. Click to go through to the second page. Or scroll all the way down (past the ads) and there should be another link to the next page. ***

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10 Comments on "From Sheets to Yarn – Starting a Rag Crochet Project"

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You are such an inspiration. Never attempted a rag project but now I’m ready. Your tutorials are great. Can shorter pieces of fabric be used? Or would too many joins muck up the finished work? What about denim maybe for a tote or baskets. My mind is spinning with ideas. I love your “help”. My furry friends always help when I change sheets on my bed.


Shorter pieces are just fine. They are to me anyways. When I cut up t-shirts I cut up the sleeves too. That does mean more joins but yarn is yarn. I’m not wasting any of it!

As for denim…. huh. I’ve never tried that. I think it would work but It cut thin strips. Its a heavy fabric and I’d be worried about having a hook big enough to work it if I cut the strips too thick.



I’ve worked with denim and it’s a real drag! Seriously, it causes lots of extra tension… It also frays a lot, making a huge mess. And the project comes out soooo heavy! (I was going to make a rug and abandoned the project.) But, it makes good stiff baskets 🙂


Interesting. I have an old pair of jeans that I might become a basket then someday.


You make it look easy. If it turns out to be a lot of work… I’ll complain.


It is work, lol. Cutting strips is a pain.

But don’t let that stop you! not from the rag crochet or the complaining. 🙂


I was thinking I might cut up some old t-shirts for yarn and wondered if it’s okay to cut a long spiral piece to avoid so much joining – what do you say?
And I’ve spliced rope. The best part – the only fun part, I think – is rolling it under your boot to finish it smooth. Very satisfying!
Have fun crocheting 🙂


There is a way to cut a t-shirt body and have it all come out as one long strip/yarn. The t-shirt has to be made in the round though. No side seams. If that is the kind of t-shirts you have then definitely use this method. Its easier and faster.

Here is a decent video showing how the cuts are made. (The real info starts at 1 min mark, skip all the talky-talky)


Thanks, Jenn – that is really helpful!


Thanks for the advice on the denim. Raising a granddaughter and we go thru a lot of denim. I did not even think about the fraying. YUK! Just might try a basket after Christmas. I might even dig out the electric scissors I’ve been hoarding in the back of my closet to help with cutting. Yes i’m a craft hoarder.thanks again.