Saturday, January 7, 2017

Weaving Rag Rugs with Tee Shirts Jan Gendreau

The first step in weaving a rag rug from tee shirts is to figure out what you want to do and how to do it! I nearly wore out the books I borrowed from Lois.  Lots of ideas—so difficult to choose! When I showed my favor- ites to Kate at Marshfield Weaving, she said, “Jan, you never do choose the easy ones!” I still haven’t woven my favorite examples—maybe someday!
Sorted clean t-shirts (these have been waiting for 5 yrs!) Instead of giving Don’s shirts to the thrift shop I decided they should be a bath mat for the kids. I included some of my shirts that I shouldn’t have been seen wearing outside the house. See the yellow in the foreground? I wore that for 23 yrs, painted in it, etc. as you can see. The darn thing wouldn’t wear out—too much polyester.

Cutting...I cut off the sleeves and the hem at the bottom, folded shirt almost in half (to w/in 2” of the other side), got out my rotary cutter and cut across the body from the bottom up to the arm holes in 1.5” strips. Don’t cut all the way across.
Can you see where I stopped cutting? That’s about 1.5” before the other side. There are 10 strips that will turn out to be 1 long strip!
Here’s the uncut side of the shirt. I cut diagonally starting at my index finger, slanting over to the op-
posite slit on the left. I found I could get 15-20 yard strips this way. The jags in the fabric dis- appear. The black lines are where I cut.
The next step was to stretch the strip.
I was curious to see how much length was gained by stretching—not as much as I expected! But see how nice and neat that reformed strip is? Because it curls to the front w/inside show- ing on the outside—no stains, paint, fading, etc! Nice new colors exposed. Look at those beautiful balls of “yarn”!!!
This is a mock-up of my first rug, made of all the pieces cut across the chest and back of the shirts. I
guess I was saving those 20 yard pieces for last! These were 18” long +/- DO NOT stretch strips before sewing together! It was a bear to uncurl all those ends and sew diagonally to join them!! I showed up at Marshfield with a ball of “yarn” the size of a basketball, ready to weave! Of course, I had to cut it into smaller lengths to fit on the shuttle!
It’s beginning to look like a unit! It took 1 day to weave the first rug. Then I spent the evening at home trying to figure out what to do with #2. I was hoping for wedge shapes traveling up the sides!!
Almost, but not quite. I’m going to try again in the near future. And there’s my yellow t-shirt!!
And what little was left of my warp turned into this. I liked this a lot. It was easiest to do: weave with long lengths of 1 color and beat in little scraps for sparkle. And NO curled strips to sew together!! Another future project!
Weaver’s info:
6 epi of rug warp (8/4 cotton) in a 6 dent reed
27” wide in the reed
Hems woven w/ double warp thread, wound on ski shuttle instead of bobbin Approx. 2# of shirts/rug

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