Eleven Old T-Shirts

I discovered the Ravelry group, Got T-Shirt Yarn?, a couple of years ago and started saving every t-shirt that we no longer wear. DH has lost weight so he contributed several. I really want to try the pattern, Bridgetown T-shirt Rug, from the book, Alterknits, by Leigh Radford. It says I need to cut eighteen adult t-shirts into 1/2″ strips in order to knit a 24″ x 37″ rug with size 19 needles.

Recently I brought my garbage bag of t-shirts down from the attic and sorted them by color family, hoping I might finally have enough shirts for a rug!

Well, I only have eleven t-shirts in the blue greens of our bathroom, so it’s good that I only want to make a little bathmat. The one we use now is 19″ by 28″

388 - balls of tarn

Most of the finished examples of the Bridgetown Rugs in Ravelry are either striped or have wide bands of color, neither of which I want for our bathroom. Hoping that my mat will end up looking something like an old-fashioned woven rag rug, I joined random lengths (aprox. 18 to 60 inches) of t-shirt yarn together. Sharon shows a clever no-knot, no-sew way to join tarn strips in her blog, laughing purple goldfish designs. It worked very well for me.

I don’t have either circular or long enough straight #19 knitting needles, so I’m using my 14″ long #17s. Taking a wild guess, I cast-on 50 stitches instead of the 46 called for in the pattern. I’m so used to handling my slim little crochet hook, these big needles make me feel like I’m knitting with wooden fence posts!! lol

At least their finish doesn’t resemble that of fence posts! They’re very smooth and slick so the tarn slides easily as I knit. My little garter stitch mat (easy, all knit, all the time) is coming out 19″ wide, which is just what I want!

388 - knitting a bathmat

But how long of a 19″ wide mat can I knit out of my 11 shirts?

Prepare yourself – here come the mental gymnastics! lol. . .

The pattern says 18 shirts will make a 24 x 37 rug, which is 888 square inches. (24 x 37 = 888) But I only have 11 shirts, which is .61 as many shirts. (11 ÷ 18 = .61) So I’ll only be able to knit .61 as many square inches, which is 541. (888 square inches x .61 = 541) If I divide the number of squares inches that I can knit with my 11 shirts, 541, by 19, the width of my knitting, I’ll find out how long of a rug I can make. (541 ÷ 19 = 28) 28 inches long.

How cool is that!? Remember. . . 19″ x 28″ is the same size as our old bathmat. So this is Perfect-o!!

Color Linda happyhappyhappy.

For a Crocheted version, visit the blog, Amanda’s Happy Hearth, where you can get the pattern pdf for the Tarnation Rectangle Rug. You’ll also see Amanda’s handy list of links to several other t-shirt yarn (tarn) related posts, including this very helpful tutorial on how to make tarn. Next time I may try using a rotary cutter to cut the loooong t-shirts strips, as demonstrated here by eLoomanator. I didn’t bother pulling on the strips to make them curl. This technique wasn’t even mentioned in the Bridgetown Rug pattern, probably because it happens on its own during the knitting process.

To learn how to Weave a t-shirt rug, visit this Ravelry forum thread where a visitor shared both how to cut giant t-shirt yarn loops and make a simple giant potholder loom to weave them on. This project uses the same easy weaving process as the looper potholders many of us made when we were little kids. Looks like Fun!!

To Sew a t-shirt rug, visit The Happy Housewife blog and check out Jackie’s tutorial for making a highly textured Upcycled T-Shirt Rug on a hand towel base.

There you have it – links to patterns/tutorials for Knitted, Crocheted, Woven and Sewn t-shirt rugs – something for Everyone!

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6 Responses to Eleven Old T-Shirts

  1. jacekica says:

    Wow, love the colour. Mat seems nice, but I am wow-ed with math for the rug 🙂 I like it, few years ago I started to keep old t-shirts, but I used them as cleaning towels for old dogs accidents……It seems after your post I will keep another group of t-shirts….with better result.

  2. I’ve seen the tshirt yarn thing. Lion Brand has come out with a tshirt yarn for sale. It seems silly to pay money for something that’s completely free! Will be watching for updates on this project!

    • I saw some projects in Ravelry made out of Hoooked Zpaghetti, which is made by DMC.
      I’ll see if I can find the name of Lion Brand’s version. Who knows what clever project idea I might come across!

      Yep, you and I both think it’s silly, but we also know there are many who would never stoop so low as to cut up used t-shirts for yarn. lol.

  3. RecycleCindy says:

    Love your t-yarn rug. The colors are fantastic that you put together. I really want to make another one for me as they do make sure wonderful soft bathmats.

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