It’s Done!!

I learned an important lesson about making tarn (t-shirt yarn) while preparing to start our new kitchen rug. Two of the t-shirts had side seams so I couldn’t just cut looong spiraling strips from a t-shirt’s hem up to the bottom edge of its armholes like I’m used to. So I made piles of short 3/4″ strips by cutting from seam to seam instead.

418 piles of tarn strips

Not hard, just time consuming. But now, Ah-HA, I realized that I could cut short strips out of the upper part of t-shirts I’d been flinging aside and the sleeves too! This could give me as much as 50% more tarn per shirt. Yay!

418 cutting upper part of tan tee

Earlier I’d wondered if my dozen shirts. . .

405 tee collection for kitchen rug

would yield enough tarn to knit a 40″ long kitchen rug. Now, thanks to my new idea I was sure I would have plenty!

But wanting a 65% larger and denser rug meant a much longer knitting slog compared to that of my lighter, smaller bathmat.

When I got to this point, so very close to being done. . .

418 stalled - rug almost done

it seemed that no matter how long I knit, it didn’t get any longer! A typical case of “a watched pot never boils” I suppose, because I did keep measuring it in hopes that I was done. lol.

It’s all been worth it though. I’m so proud to show you our lovely new kitchen rug. Ta-Dah!!

418 rug - done

Who would guess that I made it from discarded t-shirts?

In conclusion:

I cut tarn from the bodies (hem to armholes) of 12 t-shirts, mostly sized XL to XXL, and from the upper parts of a few of them. This was way more tarn than I needed. Our 22″ x 40″ rug weighs 2 lb. 13 oz. and I have 1 lb. 4 oz. of left.

418 tarn leftovers

This means I used only about 70% (45 oz. out of 65 oz.) of the tarn I made. That’s about 8 1/2 shirts’ worth (12 XL-XXL shirts x .7 = 8.4 shirts).

And that means that I got about 100 square inches of rug out of each t-shirt. (22 x 40 = 880 ÷ 8.4 = 105 in²/shirt) I’ll keep that in mind the next time I want to knit a dense tarn rug. I’m wondering about putting one at the front door. Must check to see whether the door could swing freely over such a thick rug.

I’m also wondering what it would be like to weave with tarn!

P.S. Just noticed that the colors in this rug are almost the same as in the Rugby Scrum ripple. Hunh.

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7 Responses to It’s Done!!

  1. well, the rug is so stunning that it was worth all the effort. May I also suggest that, as far as time is concerned, you are a much faster crocheter than a knitter? Maybe THAT’S why it felt like you weren’t making progress even though you were. 🙂

    • Stunning? WOW – Thank You!! We like it too. 😀

      You’re so right, I’m a much much much faster crocheter than knitter!! lol. It didn’t help that, because I knit so infrequently, I have no sense of how long a project is going to take. Plus, I never considered how much more tedious knitting a second one, let alone a 65% larger second one, would feel.
      Also I didn’t work on it nearly every day like I do my ripples.

      I’m sure once I’ve knitted my fiftieth rug, they, like the blankets, will be a breeze!! ROFL at the thought.

  2. HannahDavis says:

    How wide were your strips? I was working on a bath mat for a while but quit because the strips were too thick and it hurt my hands to crochet for very long.

    • For this thicker kitchen rug my strips were 3/4″ wide and for the earlier bath mat, 1/2″.

      Some tutorials, like this one, say to stretch the t-shirt fabric strips so they ‘curl’ and form a tube, which does make it look a lot more like yarn. But I decided not to stretch mine cuz I think unstretched strips have more give, which makes them easier to knit.

      I hope you’ll finish your bath mat – even if you only do a little bit at a time you will eventually be done and get to enjoy your mat for a looooong time. 🙂

  3. daniellajoe says:

    this is something I want to try, yours came out really nice looking, how long it takes to cut up that much material???

    • Yes, you should try it! You could always start with something small, like a hot pad.
      Please let me know how it goes. Would you knit or crochet?

      I didn’t time myself, just kept the workbasket handy and cut every time I watched something on t.v. 🙂
      I only did a single layer with scissors. Obviously it would go faster with a rotary cutter or if you followed Arlette’s example at Polka Dot Pineapple and cut multiple layers.

      Thank you! DH and I are both really pleased with how it came out.
      Emily, our cat, on the other hand, has simply ignored it, which makes us very happy as we had wondered if she would claim it as hers and paw at it.

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