Making a rug out of old t-shirts

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Making a rug out of old t-shirts

A couple of weeks ago, John and I did a sort of our closets, and we ended up donating a few bags of stuff to the drop box. But when I saw the lovely selection of various shades of blue t-shirts he was getting rid of, I just had to pull them from the donate pile…really I am not a hoarder, I just have a bit of a problem getting rid of old stuff that can be used to make cool new stuff.
So I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make, but I had to justify my hoarding like tendencies to John, so I had to make something ASAP.
I thought that I would start by making the t-shirts into some yarn, and I would figure out the rest as I went along. I started by cutting the t-shirt apart right under the arm pits, and cut the bottom hem off.

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Next I cut through the t-shirt from one side into strips about an inch wide. Be careful not to cut right through to the other side, stop cutting about 3 inches away from the other seam.

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Now. readjust the shirt so that the uncut part is facing up and you have opened up the fold. You can put a piece of cardboard or paper in between the layers to make sure you don’t cut through.

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Cut in from the side at an angle so you cut apart the first strip

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Then cut the next strip parallel to the first strip…

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When you get to the last strip, you will end up with an upside down Y like this…

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Cut down the middle of the Y to taper off the end of your yarn…

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Now, like magic, you have one big pile of yarn!

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The funnest part about making t-shirt yarn is stretching the yarn. The material that t-shirts are made of is knit, so it doesn’t unravel when you cut it, but if you stretch it, it curls up. The convenient thing about the way it curls (if you happen to be cutting up t-shirts to make recycled yarn) is that it curls so the t-shirt is right side in. Why is that convenient, you ask? Because most of the stuff that is printed or written on the front of the t-shirt won’t show. Anyways, all you have to do is take a small section at a time and pull it apart, it stretches to about three times the size. It is fun to do, and the kids love helping with this part.
You can see in the photo that I have stretched the pile on the right.

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So from here, you could make a whole bunch of things…..a rug, baskets, a recycled bag, stuffed animals… you could make whatever you could crochet. However, this batch of yarn ended up pretty thick, so I decided to make a rug.
I started by trying to make a rectangular rug..

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But, when I ran out of tshirts, it didn’t look finished, it was a little out of proportion. This rug you see in the picture took about 7 tsirts. So, I ripped it out and made an oval design. I used a single crochet for the whole thing.
I ended up “finding” 5 extra t-shirts (sssssshhhhh, John will never know) And here is what about 12 t-shirts made:

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I think after I sort out Sam’s closet, I will try to make a pink one!
Can’t wait to show everyone photos of our new family room!

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