Etsy: Upcycling and Re-imagining yarn with M.K. Lawrie

Posted on by MK Carroll

Go into the average thrift store and what are you almost guaranteed to find? Lots and lots of t-shirts. What to do with all those t-shirts? In Chicago, 31-year old Mary K. Lawrie turns t-shirts into yarn, and has been selling on Etsy as mklawrie since January 2008. She cuts shirts with a single, continuous cut, with carefully handsewn joins, for a smooth, even yarn. Weights range from worsted to bulky to super bulky, with worsted weight being cut from the lighter, thinner t-shirts.


worsted weight t-shirt yarn

What got you started on upcycling/recycling yarn and/or yarn materials?

I started using recycled materials when I was in college in part because I was a poor art student, and recycled materials were free. However, the more I work with recycled materials the more aware I am about what else I can do to create more sustainable practices in my life and daily routines.


left to right: Super-Bulky Red, Super-Bulky Yellow-Orange, and Super-Bulky Black

What are your favorite parts of recycling/upcycling?

It's like a puzzle. I love the challenge of finding new ways to reuse things.


worsted weight t-shirt yarn

What are the most challenging things about recycling/upcycling?

Limitations. By that I mean both setting limits on how much stuff I can save to use later, and feeling limitations on what I can accomplish.

Buy Handmade

Mary is planning to increase inventory and provide a wider selection in her Etsy shop (M.K. Lawrie), where you can also find cozy handknit hats and scarves.

All photos in this blog post are copyright Mary K. Lawrie and are used here with her permission.