Monday, May 9, 2022

T-Shirts into Rag Rug Weft

I recently wove a rag rug as a guild challenge.  I used 8/4 cotton carpet warp for the warp and yarn weft and cut up t-shirts for the rags.  I was asked how I turned a shirt into a ball of rag weft.  I thought I would show how I prepared the fabric strips.  I got the idea of how to do this from The Rag Rug Handbook by Janet Meany.

I started with a t-shirt and cut off the body from just underneath the sleeves.  The tube body was turned 90 degrees so that the open edges were on the sides and the top and bottom facing me were the tube sides.  I folded the bottom onto almost the other side on the top but not matching the edges.  I left 1-2 inches between the two edges.  


Starting T-Shirt

Cut the t-shirt under the sleeves


Turn the shirt 90 degrees and fold the bottom edge almost up to the top edge

With a rotary cutter, I cut 1 inch portions of the two layers of the shirt body up to about ½ - 1 inch from the top edge.  (Don’t cut all of the way through or you will just have loops.)  The width of these strips are up to you and the project you are making.  I cut 1 inch strips all of the way across the folded fabric.  


Cut 1" strips almost but not quite to the top edge

Continue cutting to the right edge of the shirt body

The next step is also a bit tricky.  I opened the folded fabric and inserted my plastic ruler, just to separate the layers.  From the left edge, I cut up to the right side of the first strip.  I continued to cut the fabric in the same manner until all of the shirt is cut.  When this is finished, if all goes well, the shirt body is one long strip and I wind it into a ball, ready to be used for weft rags. 

I put a rule between the layers to protect the bottom layer from being cut



Cut from the left edge at the middle to the right edge of the first strip


Roll the strip of shirt into a ball for storage  


I like t-shirt material for rag rugs because they are squishy and pack in and there are lots of colors of shirts.  For the rug I made, I used t-shirts that had been my mother’s.  A nice remembrance of her.







2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your rug is just lovely. What weaving pattern did you use? What a nice way to honor your mother.

Ingrid said...

This is woven in plain weave. The warp stripes were alternating natural and colored carpet warp. The rag weft was thrown alternating with carpet warp. When I changed the color of the rags, I threw two shots of carpet warp so that changed when the colored warp threads were raised. It's mostly color and weave effect.