arts and crafts time…

At the beginning of the first wave of the global pandemic, we remain currently ensconced in, I was doing some cleaning out of my closet. And I found, at that time, what I could probably have found at any time over the last 25 years.

T-shirts. Lots and lots of t-shirts. Conference t-shirts, startup t-shirts, holey t-shirts worn over and over again, neatly folded t-shirts that never saw the light of day. Shirts shirts shirts.

Working in tech and having gone to many conferences there were so many t-shirts. And really I don’t think I planned on ever wearing them again. So I did what anyone would do. I mean… what anyone would do if they were me and constantly looking for a new distraction but also trying not to spend money. I decided to turn those t-shirts into t-shirt yarn, attempt to learn to crochet, again, and make a rug.

This attempt did not go well. I managed to crochet a piece as big as… half a scarf. But I’m too tightly wound so the tiny patch of rug was too tightly crocheted.

What is this…? A rug for ants…?

At this point I would like to acknowledge that I had NO IDEA you could crochet something too tight but apparently, that is indeed a whole thing.

So I did what I do with a craft project that I was no longer enjoying and failing at. I stuffed it in a bag along with the crochet hooks, the t-shirt yarn I’d made, and a bunch of other t-shirts. And I forgot all about them until over the weekend when I finally started unpacking stuff from my closet at the old place.

Yes, we moved in October. Yes, I still have boxes and storage bags to unpack. That’s another post. Today we talk about my inability to follow through on arts and crafts projects, not unpacking. So back to the rug.

Looking at my handiwork as I was unpacking I acknowledged a few things:

  • I started using the t-shirts I liked the color of least because I was practicing, so the piece I made was not appealing to me in color
  • I crocheted the t-shirt yarn way too tight, so the piece I made was not appealing to me visually, at all.
  • The piece I crocheted had no real shape. I’ve since learned that not only do you need to be consistent with the number of knots or knits or whatever you hook in crochet but you also have to have the patience to kind of shape the piece as well.
  • I lack the perseverance to crochet something the size of a scarf (sorry daddy, I had the best intentions on that scarf) so how did I think I was going to crochet a full-size rug?

To some of you, this may look like frustration, but for me, it’s more of a breakthrough. I could have just shoved all these bits and bobs into the back of the closet and pretended not to find them. That’s a very me thing to do. But instead, I reevaluated. I have too many t-shirts. I do not wear them. I want something to do with my hands. I want a rug. I want to feel like I’m upcycling and making use of my resources.

Additional acknowledgment:

  • I was just SUPER into making the t-shirt yarn. It was so therapeutic to cut and stretch and wind it into a ball. Shirt after shirt I made into yarn. I probably should have opened up a web store to just sell the t-shirt yarn to folks who would actually do something with it. And I considered that. But it felt like a failure. I couldn’t accept the act of simple creation for what it was. Also, I’m totally filing away that t-shirt yarn store idea for future use.

So back to the internet, I went researching rugs made out of t-shirts. It turns out there are a whole lot of different ways to make a rug out of t-shirts and… well yeah. I chose the most challenging. This time I exercised some patience and looked at at least three different ways to make a rug out of t-shirts and I found something that just seemed right. I could have gone with the no-sew braided t-shirt rug which would have allowed me to make my beloved t-shirt yarn but instead, I found a tutorial to make a shaggy rug out of tiny strips of t-shirt fabric by simply tying them into a no-slip rug mat. I was intrigued.

I am intrigued. I love shaggy rugs. I love tying knots. I love the idea that I can do an impossible thing. Like making a 7’x10′ rug out of t-shirts and a rug pad based on a tutorial for a rug the size of a small bathmat.

I took inventory. I realized really the only thing I needed was that non-skid mat thing and some sharp blades for a rotary cutter. Today the adventure begins. My goal is to have this rug done by February 20 of THIS YEAR.

Arbitrary deadline? No. The seating for the room the rug will live in is scheduled to be delivered sometime in the last week of February or the first week of March and I want the room to be ready.

So join me, reader. See if I actually make a giant rug out of t-shirts and a rug mat or if we file this away with the long list of other strange projects I’ve embarked on only to get really really bored. I’ll keep you updated here as I make progress, but if you’re super into seeing pictures of this process, or my cat, you can follow along on my Instagram.

Who knows what could happen?

One thought on “arts and crafts time…

  1. hbsuefred says:

    I have also recently moved, more than once! One of the things that didn’t move with me i.e. that I didn’t have my idiot ex pack was a similar project. I didn’t get as much of a charge/reward out of creating the t-shirt yarn and, at the time I started it, had planned to use clothing my kids had outgrown to create a personalized rug for each. I have since learned they don’t much care about this stuff. Like you, I also have a lot of unfinished projects. The ones that moved with me are those that might be of some use to perfect strangers! Please check out my “newer” blog for info re my move that might of interest to you.

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