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You may be wondering what is Trapillo or T-shirt yarn, or as we also called it, Crochet XXL or XL (Ganchillo XXL o XL, in Spanish).

Trapillo yarn is a long fabric strip that has been spin and presented as a fabric skein. It is used for knitting, crochet, macramé and making craft projects. You can make your own Trapillo yarn with an old or slightly used T-shirts or you can buy the commercial ones that are made with the  strips edges from fabric used in garment factories. There is a wide variety of prints and colours. They normally come with slight imperfections and colours are difficult to repeat. You normally use a big knitting or crochet hook, from size 6 to 14.

The good things are:
Using T-shirt fabric or Trapillo  promotes recycling, repurposing, and upcycling fabric products that otherwise will go to the rubbish bin. Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
It feels nice to work with,  and you work really fast once you practice a little.
You can use it for making colourful rugs, handbags, purses, baskets, bracelets, dolls, table mats, and your imagination is the limit!.

So, How do I choose the right trapillo yarn for my craft project?

There are different sizes and materials for Trapillo yarns.  In this post I will show you how to select Trapillo yarn according with what you want to make. It will save you time and money, and you will feel more confident making the craft project and planning the next one.

1. Selecting the Trapillo yarn by size:

We have two sizes of Trapillo: thin (1 cm. or less)  and thick (1,5 – 2.0 cm or a bit more)

Thin Trapillo

Thin Trapillo

Thin Trapillo yarn (1 cm. or less) is the one for knitting and crochet  handbags and purses.  You need to have a very thin yarn to get a light garment, otherwise, it will become too heavy to wear. Using thick trapillo yarn for handbags is not recommended, because if the handbag is already heavy without your personal things, imagine how heavy it will be when you put your things inside.  And on top of that the stitches don’t look that nice in a handbag with a thick Trapillo yarn. You can see examples as follow. The thin Trapillo yarn is also useful for making dolls, bracelets and table mats. Tale mats You can see examples as follow. You can use the thin Trapillo for making small baskets, but you need to use a very tight knot for stitches. You can use thin t-shirt yarn to crochet a basket, just keep in mind to use a tight stitch to get a rigid look for the sides of the basket. You can use one or two strands of thin Trapillo yarn to crochet some parts of  rugs and baskets and to add some delightful contrast of colour and thickness. Thin trapillo yarn can also be used for crocheting rugs.

Thick Trapillo

Thick trapillo (pink and red trapillo are thin, for comparison)

Thick Trapillo yarn (1,5 – 2.0 cm or a bit more) is more useful for rugs and baskets. The thick Trapillo yarn, when it is used for crochet, adds strength to the sides of the basket with a more rigid look, not a fluffy one. Rugs are thicker with a thick trapillo yarn than with a thin one. You can play here with the Trapillo yarn. Alternate rows with thin and thick or add a row in a bright colour thin Trapillo yarn to add some colourful contrast. All depends on the design you are working on.

2. Selecting the Trapillo yarn by colour:

Colour Trapillo

Colour Trapillo

Plain colours. You can find any colour you want. You just have to research a little bit in your local stores and online to see if you can get the colour you are looking for. I rather prefer to see for myself the Trapillo yarn in the stores, as the colours in the online shops do not always match the ones that you get in the package. Plain colours are very good for all sort of projects. The skein has to be in good conditions, clean and without too many visible knots. Some low quality skeins have too many knots and that’s why some of them are so cheap. Don’t despair when looking for a colour, just be patient and you will find it. The pales colours are the most difficult to find ( and in good condition too).

Printed Trapillo

Printed Trapillo

Printed colours. Because these yarns are made of fabric, you can find almost any combination of colour in one skein. There are polka nots, squares, circles, plaids, etc, almost any design. The good thing about this is that you can play with the colour design of the fabric and the plain colour trapillo.  This is useful for handbags, rugs, basket, and any craft project. Imagine you want to make a handbag black and red. If you find a trapillo yarn with a black and white pattern, you can combine it with a red trapillo yarn. Try to choose the colours beforehand, so you will look exactly for what you want and will  buy the best combination. Use Internet for inspiration. I love the Trapillo yarn with tiny square designs or pales colours designs. They combine well with plain colours in a rug or a handbag. They have a “country look”.

Warning: my advice is to be very careful using too bright colours for a handbag. It does not goes well. If you like bright colours, I recommend you to try in a small piece before using it for your project. Those are better for rugs, baskets or ornaments.And for polka dots designs, I have try it myself and didn’t like it, but depends on what you like.


3. Selecting the Trapillo yarn by type of fabric

Sctretchcotton trapillo

Stretchcotton trapillo

Stretch cotton. This Trapillo yarn is useful for anything. They can get a bit longer if you stretch it with your hands.  In plain or printed colours, or in thin or thick yarn. Make sure you get the colour, the quality and the width you want.

Cotton trapillo

Cotton trapillo

Non-stretch cotton. this Trapillo yarn is useful if it is not too thick. One centimeter wide for the strip is OK for crochet. Some Non-strech cotton are too stiff to crochet. Take your hook with you whe going to the store, and try to make some chain stitches before buying it.

Lycra trapillo

Lycra trapillo

Lycra. This fabric yarns are very soft to crochet. I usually look for these ones with a shiny texture because it gives some special effect in the finished craft project. I rather prefer the Lycra ones as they are easier to clean than the cotton ones.


Handbags and purses: Use thin Trapillo yarn mainly. It could be plain or printed, cotton, or Lycra. Avoid bright colours. A handbag should be something elegant that complements the woman outfit.

Rugs, baskets and table mats. Use any kind of Trapillo yarn, as you can make rows of different colours and textures. The Lycra ones go very well with these craft projects, as they are easier to clean than the cotton ones. Mixing two strands of different thickness, patterns, and fabric materials, produce very nice effects.

Any questions? Tell me what kind of trapillo goes well for your project.

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