UPcycle T-Shirts into Knitting Yarn


Upcycled t-shirt knitting yarnDid you know… Almost anything can become knitting yarn!  

Whether you are an experienced knitter or just a beginner, creating your own yarn can be fun and a very creative way to begin a new project. With a sharp scissor and a few old t-shirts, you’re ready to get started. A great re-purpose, up-cycle, re-cycle project… A great first knitting project for beginners!

Choose your fiber:

T-shirts make a great choice as a beginner fiber. They are plentiful, brightly colored and easy to work with. Choose t-shirts that are solid colors, tie dye, or printed. Avoid t-shirts with obvious stains or holes. Also try to avoid shirts with side seams.


choose t-shirts in graduated colors for an ombre effect

Consider color and quantity of yarn you might need for your finished project. One XL shirt can yield between 25 and 40 yards of yarn depending upon the width and length of the shirt and usable fabric. If you are fortunate enough to accumulate a large number of the same shirt, you will have more matching yarn. Consider gathering shirts in white, black and shades of grey which can knit into an ombre effect or shades in one color family such as our example. Impact Thrift Stores has a never ending supply of gently-used t-shirts to choose from.

Prepare your fiber:

Start by washing and drying your shirt(s). Even shirts that are clean but have been packed away for a while should be freshly laundered.

Now… let’s get started!

In addition to your t-shirts, you will need sharp fabric scissors and a ruler or yardstick.

step 2 trim away sleeves before turning your tshirt into kntting yarn

First, carefully lay one shirt on your table matching the bottom hem across. Smooth the fabric from the side, removing any wrinkles. Trim off the hem edge through both layers (front and back) as straight as possible. Next, cut straight across the chest just under the sleeves. You will be working with the body of the shirt which now resembles a tube, not the sleeve/neck section. Do not cut up the side seams.

cut almost to the edge of your side seam but leave 1 inch uncut to create continuous knitting yarn from a tshirt
Next, starting at one side of the shirt, cut 1 inch strips across through both layers, parallel to the hem edge, stopping 1 inch from the other side seam. Do not cut completely across but leave the strips connected on the side as pictured at left and below. Continue cutting 1 inch wide strips until you reach the other cut (chest) edge.

cut 1 inch strips of fabric stopping 1 inch from side edge

As you’ve cut through both layers of fabric (front and back), you’ve created long tubes or circles of fabric connected to each other along one edge.

Open the cut fabric tube and lay it on a table exposing the 2” of uncut fabric. Spread your fabric on a table and begin to carefully cut the strips into one continuous strand starting at the bottom edge. cutting guide - turn tshirt into continuous strand of knitting yarnYour first cut will start on the edge of the fabric and angle up to the first strip, through one layer of fabric (from Star A to B in the diagram). Next, carefully cut on the angle from the first cut on the left to the next cut up on the right (from A to B). Continue one cut at a time on this angle through one layer of fabric, cutting from point A to point B until you reach the other edge. Cut from the last point A on the same angle off the edge (as you did in the first cut Star A to B.) Be careful not to cut through any of the 1 inch strips as you go.

Once all of the diagonals have been cut, start at one end and gently tug on your yarn as you wind it into a ball. As you stretch and wind the yarn, you’ll notice the edges will curl, forming a nice, smooth, even strand of “knitting yarn”, perfect for size #15 or #17 knitting needles!

Click here to download a printable version.

Happy Knitting!


Turning Pages (one at a time… but as fast as possible!) – An Intern’s Experience


Alicia Stewart, PSU Student, Impact Thrift Store Intern. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

As I sat at my desk pondering my future, these words as spoken by St. Augustine flowed like a stream through my mind. I watched the clock, anxiously awaiting class to be dismissed.

On my drive home from class, I began thinking about my past travels. Not just in a physical sense, but rather different experiences I have had throughout my life. As a senior in college, I came to the realization that it was time to embark on a new path of travel; I became fixated on the thought of getting an internship.

It seemed rather instantaneous that I was hired as an intern for Impact Thrift Stores. I was overwhelmed with excitement when Frank Hartwell (Education Program Director) said that he wanted to extend an offer to me to intern for the organization. It was truly a blessing to know that I was going to be a part of such a wonderful organization. I grew eager to impart my knowledge about marketing and management to the organization.

January 8, 2013 marked the beginning of my “newly traveled path,” and in the matter of two weeks, I would be “reading several pages of the book.” Rather than limiting myself to one experience, I would soon be exposed to a multitude of them. There was far more in store for me than I could have ever imagined!

Today marks the sixth week of my internship and I have already been exposed to many new and exciting things. My experience at Impact thus far has truly been transformational, and filled with tremendous positivity. I would like to share some of the many experiences of my “travels.”

My first few weeks at Impact began at the Hatboro location. I must admit that I felt quite timid the first few weeks – not knowing anyone or what to expect didn’t help my case any. Such feelings were quickly put to rest, after being welcomed with open arms. I was blown away by how hospitable everyone was and I quickly fit right in with the crowd.

Cruise Wear Display in Impact Thrift Store  Hatboro created by PSU intern Alicia StewartThe most memorable experience that I had at Hatboro was when I was assigned a project in which I was to create a display in the store, of cruise-wear. To be completely honest I had no idea where there project was going to lead me, but I was very eager to find out. After well- thought- out plans, I completed my cruise-wear display. I decorated the display with items and clothing that were bright and symbolic of warm weather. It was truly an honor to be given such a project and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

As the weeks have passed, I have continued on with my internship at the Donation Processing Center (DPC) which has been equally rewarding as my time spent at Hatboro. Working with Jo Greenawalt (Director in Business Development) and a few others has been an unforgettable experience. Regardless of the task that I am asked to complete I feel as though I am being challenged on a daily basis as well as furthering my knowledge for the future.

Aside from traveling a new path of knowledge and experiences, I have also been traveling a new path in terms of my faith. Working with Impact has been such an incredible experience and has truly inspired me to become more devout in my faith. Impact is a wonderful organization to work for, and I am blessed to be doing the work that I am doing. In the words of Pat Conroy (New York Times bestselling author) “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” As I continue on my internship journey, I hope that from this day forward, I will be just as blessed as I have been every other day.

~by Alicia Stewart

Be My Valentine: Upcycle Paper Roses


Paper rose created from sheet music Impact Thrift upcycle projectRoses are red,

Violets are blue.

You love music,

and I love you…

Ok… so I’m not a poet!

And you don’t need to be an artist to create these lovely, personalized paper roses! A great project for kids to create for mom.

First choose paper that would appeal to your sweetie. We chose sheet music from the book department at Impact Thrift Stores but consider any type or color of paper. The possibilities are endless… magazine pages, book pages, newsprint, scrap book paper, or even coloring book pages. 

Click here to download our HeartRosePattern You will need to cut a minimum of 8 hearts to create a rose. If your paper is especially fragile, cut more as some may tear as you work with them. More hearts will make a fuller flower, less a rose bud.

pinch bottom edge of each petalPinch the bottom point of the heart to give it a “U” shape. Be careful not to tear the paper as you pinch and carefully attach each heart petal by squeezing the bottom edge together. Start with two heart U’s facing each other to form the center of the rose. Tape them together at the bottom point.

Carefully add one petal at a time around the 2 petal center. Tape each in place as you go. Your petals may start to bend outward towards the outside giving your flower a more natural look. Once you have placed all the petals and they are firmly attached to each other, set it aside.add more petals

Remove the silk rose from the rose stem. This may take a little tugging strength. Once the silk flower is removed, carefully tape your paper flower around the top 1″ of the stem. Fasten securely.

paper flower replaces silk flowerWrap floral tape tightly around the bottom of your paper flower and top of stem to hide the connection.

Add a red ribbon bow and present to your sweetheart with a smile!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Click here for a printable version including heart petal pattern.

Share your Story – Philadelphia Home Show Ticket Giveaway


Sample of Philadelphia Home Show TicketOur friend, Denise Sabia of The Painted Home, a Featured Designer at this year’s Philadelphia Home Show, has invited Impact Thrift Stores to partner in her Craft Room display!  She will be demonstrating how to use Impact Thrift Store finds in unexpected ways… or expected ways with a twist! The show runs from February 2 through 10 at the Philadelphia Convention Center on Market Street.

Have you ever been to the Philadelphia Home Show?

What… you don’t have tickets?

Well… We have tickets and we’d love to share them with you!

Here’s how…

Everyone has an Impact Thrift story to share…

  • A Fabulous Fashion Find for less
  • A Re-purpose or Up-cycle Project or Inspiration from Impact Thrift finds
  • A DIY project you created from one of our Free DIY Tutorials
  • An item you may have donated that has special meaning to you or your family
  • An experience at our store with a special purchase or donation
  • Or any other Impact Thrift story (or photos) you’d like to share…

Share those stories with us and win 2 tickets to this year’s Philadelphia Home Show!  Click here to E-mail your story (and mailing address please)… and the first 50 responses will receive 2 free tickets to the Home Show!

The fine print… because there is always fine print:

All entries must be received by Wednesday, January 30, 2013. One entry per mailing/e-mail address. By entering you agree to allow us to share your stories on social media.  We will not share your address, e-mail address or last name anywhere.

Share your New Year’s Resolution… A Diet for your Home!


So New Year’s has come and gone… We all made resolutions that we may (or may not) be sticking with at this point in mid-January. Was one of your resolutions to watch your diet and get more exercise?

Well, share that resolution and put your HOME on the Diet… The De-Clutter Diet!

Is your home a candidate? Take this simple quiz to find out…

if you check even one item, you home is a candidate for a de-clutter diet

If you have checked even one box the answer is “YES!” Your home is a candidate for a Declutter Diet!

Impact Thrift Stores is here to help!

Please Donate those gently-used items that no longer fit your lifestyle or are just in your way and support locally-based charities at the same time! Click here to learn more about donating to Impact Thrift Stores!

Drop off your donations at any of our 4 stores Monday thru Saturday 8:30 am to 5 pm.  OR We can schedule a free pickup larger items that are too big or too heavy to fit in your car. Call 215.957.6131 to schedule a FREE pick-up of large items today!

Your home will thank you and YOU will feel lighter in the process! Promise!

Baby… It’s Cold Outside! Part 2 – Warm Winter Mittens DIY


The debate continues… Which is more important in winter, to keep your hands warm or your head warm?Heather ready for a snowball fight

Both of course!

And what better way to keep your hands, your head and your heart warm, than by re-purposing and up-cycling old wool sweaters into new (to you), warm mittens and hats!

This post tackles Warm Winter Mittens DIY. Click here for Part 1 – A Warm Winter Hat DIY… 

Start with an old favorite wool sweater that you don’t wear anymore or shop thrift to come up with a 100% wool sweater if you don’t have one in your closet. We’ll help you turn that old (or new to you) wool sweater into a fabulous warm pair of mittens in just a few easy steps! Just a little hand sewing involved… you don’t need a sewing machine or any experience at all!

First, make sure your sweater is 100% wool or a mixture of wool and animal fiber (alpaca, cashmere, or angora). Machine washable acrylic or cotton blended wool sweaters will not work well for this project because they will not turn to felt.

Once you have chosen sweaters, place each in a lingerie laundry bag and toss them in your washing machine. Set your machine to HOT wash and COLD rinse and let it agitate away… exactly the opposite of the garment care directions! How much fun is that! If you are felting a number of sweaters at once, you might separate them to felt dark colors together and light colors together to avoid lint from a dark sweater glomming onto a light color sweater. Add a little detergent and step away to allow your washing machine’s agitation do it’s thing. Once it’s done, remove your sweaters from the washer and take a look. You will find that the fibers have all “felted” together, creating a wonderful, thick fabric.  Now just lay them on a dry towel and allow them to air dry.

mitten on sweaterNow you’re ready to turn that wonderful treasured sweater into a pair of nice warm mittens.

The mitten pattern we have developed is available in two adult and two child’s sizes. Click here for printable instructions and the mitten pattern pieces (page 2-4 of the instruction pdf).

cut piecesStep 1: Determine your hand size by measuring your hand against the printed pattern. Once determined, use that same size to cut all three pattern pieces.

Step 2: Lay your sweater on a flat surface and pin all three mitten pattern pieces to the sweater. Use any ribbed or finished lower edge of your sweater as the lower edge of your mittens – both front(palm bottom) and back pattern pieces. Pin the pattern in place through both thicknesses and cut around the outside of the pattern. You will now have two cut pieces for each pattern piece. In our example, the red ribbing on the sweater becomes the cuff of our new mittens.

sew across straight edge and around thumbStep 3: Next, match up the two mitten palm pieces – palm top and palm bottom. The two sets should be mirror images, one for each hand. Pin across the flat edge and around the thumb of each. Hand sew this pinned seam together across the flat edge, around the thumb, stopping at the star as indicated on the pattern piece. The pattern allows for about a quarter inch wide seam all around. Repeat for the second mitten.

mitten sew front to backStep 4: Open the palm pieces and match them up with the mitten back pieces. Sew up and around through both thicknesses, leaving the bottom ribbed area open.

You’re done! Remove all of the pins and try on your new mittens! They can be worn either with the seams facing out or turn them inside out for a more snug fit.

Now… go out and build a snowman!

Thank you to Heather Hamilton for developing the pattern and instructions!


Baby… It’s Cold Outside! Part 1 – A Warm Winter Hat DIY


Bbbbrrrr… Winter is here for sure!

And what better way to keep your hands, your head and your heart warm, than by re-purposing and up-cycling old wool sweaters into new (to you), warm mittens and hats!Abby Freeman models our completed blue felt hat created from a wool sweater

Do you have an old favorite wool sweater that you don’t wear anymore? Perhaps it is too small, has some holes or is just not in style anymore… Perhaps it’s a sweater that your child outgrew that has fond memories.

Turn that sweater to “felt” and with a little hand sewing, that old, beloved garment can become a very useful pair of mittens or a fabulously warm hat!

Hat first…

First, make sure your sweater is 100% wool or a mixture of wool and animal fiber (alpaca, cashmere, or angora). Acrylic or cotton blended with the wool will not work for this project. You can usually double check by the laundry instructions – if the label states “dry clean only” or “hand wash only”, you’re good to go.

Once you have chosen sweaters, place each in a lingerie laundry bag and toss them in your washing machine. Set your machine to HOT wash and COLD rinse and let it agitate away… exactly the opposite of the garment care directions! How much fun is that! If you are felting a number of sweaters at once, you might separate them to felt dark colors together and light colors together to avoid lint from a dark sweater glomming onto a light color sweater. Add a little detergent and step away to allow your washing machine’s agitation do it’s thing. Once it’s done, remove your sweaters from the washer and take a look. You will find that the fibers have all “felted” together, creating a wonderful, thick fabric.  Now just lay them on a dry towel and allow them to air dry.

Now you’re ready to turn that wonderful treasured sweater into a nice warm hat or mittens.  Let’s start with the hat. It is simpler and will take less time as you only have one head… or at least you should only have one head.

The pattern we have developed is available in two sized for an adult head and two sizes for a child’s head. Click here for printable instructions and the hat patterns (page 2-3 of the instruction pdf).

Step 1: Determine your head size by measuring the circumference of your head around your ears. Compare this number to the measurement of the hat pattern. The pattern should measure 1″ less than half of the measurement of your head.

lay pattern piece on sweaterStep 2: Turn your sweater inside out so that the right sides are facing each other. Lay your sweater on a flat surface and pin your hat pattern to the sweater. Use any ribbed or finished lower edge of your sweater as the lower edge of your hat if you’d like. We used the ribbed edge for our hat edge. Pin the pattern in place through both thicknesses and cut around the outside of the pattern.

sew from a to bStep 3: Hand sew the two pieces together starting at the crown of your head (A) and sewing to the bottom edge (B). Secure your sewing yarn at B and trim.  Repeat on opposite side from C to D. You will now have both sides sewn and you can try on your hat to see if it fits. If you feel it’s too large, now is a good time to sew another seam on each side a little bit inside your first seam…

top seam of hatStep 4: Once both sides are sewn, open up your hat and fold again in the opposite direction, matching up the V shaped opening. Sew across this opening to close the crown of your hat.

Optional Step 5: Add embellishments to your hat such as a pom pom, buttons, patches or anything else you can think of… Make it your own!

Voila! Your hat is complete and ready to wear! Show it off with pride… and warmth!

Click here for Part 2 – Warm Winter Mittens DIY

Thank you to Heather Hamilton for developing the pattern and instructions, and Abby Freeman for modeling our finished hat!


Playing Secret Santa


Three students from North Penn School District If you want to see a room full of well behaved, studious students wildly erupt into a cataclysm of cheers, squeals, and smiles all you have to do is walk through the door with an armful of toys, and a heart filled with Christmas spirit. This is Impact Thrift Store’s version of “playing secret Santa”; spreading Christmas cheer with the intention of showing children how spontaneous acts of kindness can affect lives in a positive way.

a young man from North Penn School District enjoys his new toy from Impact Thrift Store secret SantaPlaying Santa to children at neighboring schools, hospitals and churches is quickly becoming a holiday tradition for Impact Thrift Stores. Each child might receive a new board game…a doll…a stuffed animal, or the hottest new Justin Bieber Diary, donated to them through the generosity of people who drop off donations at the back door of any one of the four stores locations. Impact Thrift pays the donor’s generosity forward by placing the toys in the hands of unsuspecting, yet very deserving children.

“For some of these students, this may be their only Christmas gift,” commented Ms. Brown, a first grade teacher in the North Penn School District. 
a young lady from North Penn School District with her new Justin Bieber note pads from Impact Thrift Stores secret SantaJust as she made her remark, her attention was called away by the joyous scream of a little girl receiving a pretty purple password journal. The child’s excitement could not be contained. “This is exactly what I mean…” stated Ms. Brown, her voice trailed off, as she was emotionally moved by the young girl’s exuberant show of gratitude.

Knowing that a child’s Christmas was made a bit brighter elevates the spirit of Impact Thrift. Creating connections, and showing people that we truly care –especially when they least expect it—gives true meaning to playing Santa. 

~Tamika Miller

Introducing Impact International


Impact International LogoAt Impact Thrift Stores, we joke about World Domination

But then again… why not!

We ask ourselves… could we find a way to support other organizations outside of our region- worldwide in fact – that actively make a difference in the lives of families and children while still fulfilling our mission of financially supporting  locally-based charities?

Well, we think we’ve found a way… and we call it Impact International!

Impact Thrift is excited to open a new in-store department that we are calling Impact International. This new department, currently only in our Feasterville store, will display and sell products that directly financially support those in need in foreign lands; empowering them to create a sustainable life for themselves and their families. 100% of the net proceeds generated by the sale of these items go directly back to the organizations supporting those in need.  Please join us as we come alongside these organizations in their support of others.

The two organizations represented in this department are:

sustained acts logoSustained Acts is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support sustainable projects for those in need in Kenya. Sustained Acts offers Animal sculptures hand crafted in Kenya“Crafts from Kenya” which are Kenyan designed and produced crafts. Sustained Acts has pledged that 75% of the price will be paid directly to the crafts person and 25% will go towards supporting Kenyan ministries overseeing the local Kenyan orphanage. Sustained Acts Kenya Crafts are in all four Impact Thrift Stores.


worthwhile wear logoWorthwhile Wear is a non-profit organization focused on the prevention of, rehabilitation from and raising awareness about human trafficking and sex slave industries in India. One of the many ways that Worthwhile Wear supports their mission is to sell jewelry and purses for

impact international merchandise

Freeset, Nightlight and Rahab’s Rope whose merchandise is produced by girls and women who have been rescued from the brothels and sexual slavery.   Through Freeset, Nightlight and Rahab’s Rope these rescued girls

bracelet - impact internationaland woman are not only taught a trade but are getting much needed education as well as emotional, physical and spiritual support. These women’s lives are being transformed from one of being victims of degrading sexual exploitation to one that is filled with hope, dignity and self-worth and are now economically empowered.

Next time you are in Feasterville, stop in and browse Impact International! Your purchase will make a difference in so many lives!

January: 5 Weeks of Opportunity


January calendar photo by Jill TarabarThere are 5 weeks in January 2013… 5 weeks of cold, sometimes snowy weather… 5 weeks of being stuck indoors with nothing to do…

We like to think of January as…

5 weeks of Opportunity! 5 weeks to tackle 5 projects! A makeover of mind and matter.

sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and relaxWeek 1… Give yourself a break!

So you didn’t accomplish all that you hoped to in 2012.  So what! Put all of that behind you and keep your thoughts in the present tense. Easier said than done of course but definitely worth a try. Focus on what you do well and enjoy, and practice positive self talk… Replace “I can’t…” with “ I CAN!” and let your positive energy flow! This will take some work, it’s not something that will happen over night – or even in one week. But, seriously, if you start now, you’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel before too long.

Now… Take a deep breath, pour yourself a cup of tea or hot chocolate and set your organizing goals! January is after all, National Get Organized Month.  Begin by making a list on paper.  Be realistic, manageable…  but inclusive. Pick 4 of those goals – or adopt ours – and assign one to each a week.

Week 2… Your Foyer, Vestibule or Point of Entry.

Do you walk into your home to a mess of clutter? Shoes, backpacks, work bags, gym bags? Items piled on the stairs waiting patiently to be carried upstairs? Walking into a disaster area every time you enter your home is not at all relaxing! Think outside the box… or if you have room add boxes, shelving or cubbies so that each family member will have a place to store their belongings. Make your entryway inviting… it sets the tone for your home, and you!

Week 3… Your Bedroom. 

organized closetTake a look in your closet… What fits? What doesn’t? What have you not worn for a year… or more? Is it an item you were talked into buying? An item that reminds you of a different time in your life? An item that you hope will fit after your next effort to lose weight? Are those skinny pants or skirt the source of unnecessary stress? Now’s your chance to break free and purge those items from your closet!  If it doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn it for at least a year, why keep it around? Consider how your closet feels… stuffed to the gills!

Impact Thrift now accepts soft goods in ANY condition! Those donated items such as clothing, bed sheets, towels that are in bad shape are now responsibly recycled… keeping these items out of landfills and funding charities at the same time!

Once you’re happier with your closet, take a look around your bedroom. Do you have books piled up that you’ve already read? Other items that are gathering dust? Hold on to the family heirlooms and box up the rest for donation. Someone will enjoy reading that book or looking at that wonderful treasure… Donate those new, gently-used, un-needed or stress inducing items and clothing to help others who will put them to good use!

so much paperWeek 4… Your Stacks of Paper.

If you’re like me, you print EVERYTHING! Recipes, craft ideas and patterns, e-mails, driving directions, contact info, and more! Go through all of your paper and decide what you absolutely neeeeeeeed to keep, what can be recycled and what should be shredded (be sure to shred anything with personal info especially your Social Security or credit card numbers!) Locate a few empty binders (we usually have an abundant supply available at Impact Thrift!), a box of sheet protectors or a 3 hole punch, a label for the binder spine and you’re ready to get started. A notebook (or 2) for recipes, one for contact info, another for craft project inspirations and you’ve developed a system to organize your paper and stay organized!

a semi organize kitchen cabinetWeek 5… Your Kitchen.  

The things you use often are front and center but… do you ever look in the back of your kitchen cabinets? In the dark recesses where unused baking dishes go to hide? Clean out those cabinets and free your serving bowls! Perhaps you’ll find something hiding that will come in handy at your next family party or something that you don’t even recognize (where in the world did that come from?) If you haven’t used those items since you (or some mystery person) placed them in your cabinet… consider donating them as well.

Enjoy your accomplishment as you cross one item off your list after another!

Clearing clutter, clears your mind!