Introduction: T-shirt Latch Hook Rug

My husband lost a lot of weight and needed smaller clothes. My sons grew and needed bigger clothes. My neighbor had me make a quilt out of her husband's old t-shirts and there were leftover pieces. How ever you acquire them, there always seem to be a pile of old t-shirts lying around.

Some are in good enough condition to donate but a lot have frayed collars and/or holes. I have not yet found a use for the ball of t-shirt yarn I already have so I didn't think I needed more. I already have enough rags.

While exploring in my basement workroom, I ran across a couple of canvases for latch hook pillows that I was never going to make.

IDEA--latch hook rug for the workroom.

When I down-size enough to actually work in there, the rug will make the cold cement floor much more comfortable.

Step 1: Materials:

latch hook canvas
latch hook (or crochet hook)
pile of t-shirts (or pieces of old t-shirts)
sharp scissors
rotary cutter
cutting mat
cutting ruler

Optional: hook and loop fasteners

Step 2: Preparing the T-shirts

It is a lot of work to cut all the shirts with scissors but it can be done. With that said, I recommend a rotary cutter. If you don't have one, check around with family or friends before you spend a lot of money on something you may not use much. If you end up doing a lot of this kind of thing in the future, you can pick one up. I use mine all the time but I quilt a lot.

Before you can cut the shirts, make sure they are clean. Stains are not a problem--one of mine was an old painting shirt.

Cut off the collar and hem areas. This is easiest to do with the shirt inside out. Cut along any seams--shoulder, sleeves.

The direction you cut your strips will matter. I cut mine so that the pieces do not stretch--this means that I want the long side of each piece to run up and down the shirt--not sideways.

You also have to decide how long to cut each piece. When we had latch hook kits as children, the pre-cut yarn that came with them was always very short. I could barely use it when I had tiny little fingers. Now I have great big adult fingers and besides, I want a lot of cush to the finished rug.

I decided on one half inch by four inches. Whatever you decide, check one or two strips on the canvas before you cut too much. If they are too bulky (wide) to fit in the canvas, adjust the size. If they are too narrow and break, adjust the size. If they are too long or too short, again, adjust the size.

Step 3: Cutting the Strips

I start by laying the shirt flat on my cutting board. The shirt is still 2 layers (the front and the back) and I can usually fold up the bottom edge of the shirt so it fits on my cutting board. I cut it into 1/2 inch strips. Then I cut the strips into 4 inch pieces. If you are using scissors, you will probably be cutting one layer at a time.

I cut from the top to the bottom in half inch increments. The rotary cutter makes straight strips very quickly.

Then I turn the board and cut each strip to 4 inch pieces. This part can also be done with scissors easily. If a few strips are a smidgen too short or too long it will not matter.

Step 4: Hooking the Rug

This was the really time consuming part. If you have a helpful kid or two this is a good time to use them. I was not so lucky. It was a but rough on my arthritis but worth the time and effort.

Since this was just going in my basement work area, I did not really care about the design much. I settled on using up one or 2 shirts before cutting another one. It is hard to guess how many shirts you will need before you start since they are all different sizes.

One adult large shirt ended up covering about a 6 inch square (36 square inches)--maybe a bit more.

There was a lot of variation in the thickness of different shirts. This did not effect the rug much but it was a bit more work to hook the thicker ones. Most of the shirts with printing on them were not a problem. One of them however had a really thick decal which I just could not work with. Those few strips had to get rejected but the plane part of te shirt worked fine.

Hook the entire canvas but leave 4 or 5 rows around the edge that are not hooked. This will be folded under later.

Step 5: Attaching Pieces Together

Since I was using pieces of canvas that were originally intended to be pillows, my canvas was smaller than rug sized pieces. I could have attached them together as I hooked the rug but came up with a smarter idea.

I know I am going to want to wash the rug occasionally and a large rug will not fit easily into the washing machine, so I chose to make separate pieces and use hook-and-loop fasteners to join them together. I can also add more pieces later if I decide I need it.

One side of the fastener gets sewed to the top of one piece of the canvas along the border where it was not hooked. The adjoining piece of canvas gets sewed back on itself and the fastener is sewed to the bottom of the rug piece. Make sure you position the fasteners so that the rug has no noticeable gaps.

On edges that do not join up with another section of the rug, whip stitch the extra canvas to the under side of the rug.

Step 6: Before You Use the Rug

If you have worked with t-shirt yarn before, you know that there is a bit of a 'loose thread' problem. A lot of the threads were cut back at the beginning of the project. I threw the rug pieces in the washer and dryer. You may want to clean out the lint trap on the dryer before the drying is finished.

It turned out better than I was expecting. It is so cushy on my feet. Now I have incentive to straighten up my work room.

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