Posts tagged tshirt rug

here’s what i know about makin’ a rag rug

So now I’ve made a rag rug, and before we leave this subject (and all those tshirts) behind for a good while, I want to share what I learned with you all. Okay,…maybe I just want to show you another picture….

rag rug with jackdog

Overview:  I made my rug out of tshirts I cut up into yarn. I then used a size 11 crochet hook, chained about 8 stitches and connected them in a circle. After that I just continuously worked my way around with a single crochet into each stitch.

When it started to bow up like this:
rag rug needs stitches

I added more a few more stitches in here and there.

When it started to curl up like this:
rag rug too many stitches

I went back and took a few stitches out.  It should lay flat.

I wanted my rug to be an oval, so I purposefully added more stitches on the ends and less on the sides. Here are some things I learned are important in your rug making adventure:

1. Make sure you have a lot of material. You’ll need more than you think you will. I’m guessing that I put at least 75 shirts into my rug. It turned out to be about 5 1/2 feet long by 4 feet wide.

2. Make your strips uniform. Because I worked on my rug at random times (while watching The Wire (with which I am now obsessed)) my tshirt yarn ended up being somewhat un-uniform. This poses a problem because the thick yarn pulls too hard on the thin yarn. See here:

rag rug

See how the pink strip is pulling the blue/gray strip? This makes the rug unstable. I didn’t realize this until I was well into the rug, so I dealt with it by going back and tying little strips around those unstable parts like this:

rag rug repaired

To be honest, this alternating thick and thin yarn bugged me too because I like symmetry and the rug was already so irregular with the mix of colors. The different size yarn, to me, makes it look all the more uneven and unplanned. But, if you like that sort of thing, then, by all means, mix it all up! (I’m looking at you Meg!)

3. The rug is totally malleable. Even when you think you’re finished, you can stretch and pull and manipulate its shape. This may seem obvious to you, but I was disappointed with how round my rug had become when I was almost finished. Luckily I was able to pull on the ends and smoosh in the sides and create the oval shape I wanted. But that being said,…

4. Go in with a plan. A circle would be really easy. An oval isn’t difficult, it just takes more planning, so if that’s what you want, make sure you’re working towards that goal. (In rug making, as in life.)

I wish I had something else to share with you, but really it’s easy. You can’t really screw it up. If you do feel as though you’ve messed up, you just take your stitches out and re-do it.

Now, we are finished with tshirts and rugs. For the time being. Actually, there are a number of ways to make rag rugs – crocheting is just one of them. You can tie, braid, sew, etc. You can use sheets, actual rags, old clothes, etc. Hmmm…maybe next year.

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tshirt rug: a retrospective

I finally finished my expletive tshirt rug!

tshirt rug complete

I was pretty tired of it when all was said and done. After I tied down the last stitch, I grunted my way up from the floor, took a look and harumphed out of the room. I peeked back in a few hours later and I was in love! I think this is why I craft – the feeling of accomplishing something. I didn’t know what I was doing (or why I was doing it for that matter) when I started my rug. But after hours of labor and thought and attempting, undoing, and retrying, I’ve finally accomplished something. Maybe it’s a rug, but it’s a Something.

Let’s have a look back at the evolution of the ole tshirt rug. It was only yesterday that you were a mere idea in my mind…

This is hilarious now, but here are the tshirt yarn balls I started with. I really thought I would make a rug out of these….

tshirt yarn

…and then we got this tiny thing.

tshirt rug 1

Actually, I was really proud of it at that point. I wish I could have kept up with the color scheme, but I didn’t have enough shirts. That’s when I started scouring all my resources for free tshirts.

tshirt rug 2

Progress! Feelin’ good! Oh wait, how big is it really?
tshirt rug 2 with jack

I really didn’t have use for a tshirt doormat, so I kept going.

tshirt rug 3

Hey, we’re gettin’ somewhere. This was when poor Jackdog decided it was his new bed, which made it difficult to work on. He’s a big guy. So I gave in and bought somewhere around 30 tshirts. Whatever size rug I was going to end up with after that would be it!
tshirt yarn balls

Now you see why those first 8 balls are so laughable? So, long-story-long, I’m finished! I’m finished! And it’s nice. (I’m a bit surprised.)

tshirt rug 4

tshirt rug complete with jack

If you’re interested, look back in a couple of days and I’ll post about all the things I learned. If you’re not interested, look back anyway just to be nice to me. Thanks, friend.

So that’s it! I’m finished! What the heck do I do with myself now?

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hi! hiiiiii…(waves)…hello?

Hi friends! It’s me! Remember me? I make things. I talk about stuff.

Look, I’ve been busy. Really, I have! I would relate all the things I’ve been up to to you, but then you’ll be as bored as I’ve been. I’m sorry! I’ll never leave you again!

I’ve still been makin stuff (of course). I have about 5 projects up in the air at the moment, and I can’t wait to fill y’all in about them all.

In the meantime, I will tell you that I am still working on my rug. Look!


In case you’re curious, I am still taking old tshirts. I would say I’ve put at least 15 shirts in this rug, and as yet, it’s not really rug-size. It is, however, a good size for a confused and uncomfortable dog to sit on and question why I make him do the things I do.

Don’t let those sad eyes fool you, he’s a happy dog.

Recently, I did some goodwill shopping with a couple of pillow projects in mind. I picked up these 3 button-down shirts and 2 ties for the not so stellar price of $28. Don’t you think that’s a bit pricey for GOODWILL? Oh you recession, you get me at every turn.

In related pillow project news, I also worked on making a stencil for another pillow, with the materials you see below. More on this to come later.

Otherwise I’ve been organizing, reading, volunteer training, doing dishes (don’t you hate how as soon as they’re clean, they’re dirty again?), giving ole sad eyes tomato juice baths and perfecting the art of doing my own manicures while watching old seasons of The Wire. See? Busy!

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