Today, a year-long process came to an end when this rainbow explosion finally made its way to adorn our living-room floor. The zig-zag striped rug is crocheted with 100% recycled materials. It’s thick, heavy and measures approximately 120 cm x 200 cm.
The idea of crocheting a rug struck me sometime last spring, along with the first rays of sunlight. Because free stuff is the best stuff (and recycling FTW), I didn’t even consider buying ready-made yarn. Instead, I rummaged through every closet in the vicinity in search of worn out t-shirts. Eventually I gathered enough shirts to make maybe a couple of stripes – crocheting requires a lot more material than the traditional rug weaving technique does.
Ekokaarina recycling center sorting hall
The good folks at Tekstiili 2.0 must have heard my call: the pilot project offered businesses and individuals a chance to dig through massive heaps of discarded textiles to gather materials for their own projects. All the textiles were free for grabs, as long as you stated how you were planning to use the materials. I filled up my big backpack twice with t-shirts, which I later cut into yarn.
Improving this shirt’s aesthetic appeal
The preparations were the most time-consuming part of the entire project: searching for suitable materials, washing, cutting, stretching and winding. The actual crocheting part would have been really fast if I knew how to make quick decisions. However, it was surprisingly difficult to decide the order of the colours, for example, and I tried many different combinations before deciding on this gradient style. I also had to unravel the whole thing several times: either my tension was too high (curling and wonky surface) or I had miscalculated the number of stitches yet again (too wide or narrow a rug).
I meant to post a highly artistic photo of the huge pile of colourful yarn balls here, but my memory card decided to die and take the photos with it.
If anyone feels like giving a shot at this project, I strongly recommend these beginner tips to avoid pulling your hair out in frustration:
- Cutting t-shirts into continuous yarn: Youtube
- Zig-zag crochet: Meet Me at Mike’s Zali Zig-Zag Chevron Crochet Pattern
- I also noticed that when combining two balls of yarn, it’s best to overlap the ends length-wise and sew them together with a zig-zag stitch. Sewing the ends together width-wise makes it more likely to unravel.
I didn’t quite achieve the smooth gradient style I envisioned. There simply weren’t enough shirts in different colours, especially in the shades of purple and gray. The end result feels comfortable to my toes and looks pretty nice, anyway.