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Turkey Tracks: The T-Shirt Rug and Rags

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Turkey Tracks:  April 23, 2011

The T-Shirt Rug and Rags

On a very pretty and warm day last week or so, I switched out my winter clothes for spring/summer ones.  (I’ve been freezing practically every day since!)

In the process, I realized I had accumulated way too many stained t-shirts put aside for yard work or painting.  What to do with them?  I couldn’t bear to just throw them away, and I have a lot of rags already.  Or, so I thought.

I found myself wondering if I could weave strips of them into abraided  rug or placemat on the hand-looms.  But, I didn’t think I had enough for a rug, and I don’t need placemats right now…  Then, I remembered making Kelly’s rug out of potholder loops linked together.  So, I took the t-shirts to my sewing room and began cutting the thrunks, up to the arm pits, into strips with a rotary cutter, which slices right through the double layers.  I used a long ruler for stablity.  I cut the short sleeves off and realized I had a pretty nifty doubled rag of a nice size.  (I threw the long sleeves away once I realized they were too bulky to loop like the potholder loops.)  That left the armpits to the neck, which I slashed in half for two more rags.  (Cotton t-shirts make such nice soft rags.)  I divided the rag pile in half and put one-half in the laundry room and the other half in the kitchen bowl with the white washcloths I’ve been using.  (See earlier posts about NOT using so many paper products like paper towels.)

Connecting the loops like potholder loops made too bulky a knot.  So, I opened the loops, slit the ends, and looped the lengths together like I would while making a rag rug.  Since I wasn’t sure I would have enough materials for a braided rug, I decided to knit the strips on big needles (13s).  If you knit constantly, you get a garter stitch, which has interesting texture.  Here’s the start:

Here’s the finished rug:

It’s stretchy and endearingly rough looking and very sturdy.  It will work fine near doors for muddy, wet shoes/boots coming into the house.   It only took me a few nights to make it while watching movies.

Here it is in use–the mud/garden shoes came from Tara Derr Webb when she moved from Reston to California over…10 years???…ago.  I release and feed the chickens first thing in the morning, so I need a pair of mud shoes or winter boots very near the back door:

Now, here’s the fun part.   I’ve been looking for ways to cut down on paper towel use, and dripping out bacon strips was one of our last uses for paper towels.  I took two of the short sleeves this morning, put them on a plate, and used those.  Afterwards, I just threw them in the laundry.  I usually wash kitchen towels, etc., separately any way, so I think this use of the sleeve rags will work just fine!

Written by louisaenright

April 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

2 Responses

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  1. how meny t’s did u use?


    June 1, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    • Sorry to be slow replying. I’ve been away and have been catching up this week. I don’t remember how many I used–probably at least five or six old t-shirts. The rug is going strong on my kitchen floor where it catches dirty/wet boots and the like. It’s very sturdy. You can also use old t-shirts to make kitchen towels. Cut across under the arm and sew a pretty band across the top. Just say a fellow Coastal Quilters member make some kitchen towels this way. Very nice–so soft and absorbant.


      June 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

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