Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Recycled Textile Idea

Over the weekend I attended a textile recycling class at a local non-profit called The Giving Tree and they showed me a really great way to use those old shirts and rags that are taking up useless space in your closet and make them into new things such as bags, rugs, or... coasters. But you do need to have a basic knowledge of knitting or crochet.

1) First, extract that old shirt out of your husband's fingers, because he never wears it, despite his pleading. (Just kidding, Hubby actually gave me this one, but I have plans for some of the others with holes in them.)
2) Trim off the hem at the bottom, the sleeves, and the collar. You can use a regular fabric scissor, obviously, but I found it to be much faster and easier to use a rotary cutter and a mat.

3) Then cut the fabric into one continuous piece, about 3/4" thick using a zigzag motion. (I was cutting parallel to the seems.)

4) Once you're finished, wrap the fabric into a ball and you are ready to knit or crochet.

I used large knitting needles for this project. I'm not sure what size, but they are 10.0 mm thick.

One shirt produces 3 coasters, with a bit leftover. I wasn't ready to do a whole rug so these worked out well. Other ideas are pot holders, reusable grocery bags, rugs, or heavy blankets for the foot of your bed on cold winter nights.

So dig out those old shirts, rags, or sheets and remake them into something new! It's really easy if you already have a basic knowledge of knitting and crochet, and it's a inexpensive way to make gifts.


mp2athome said...

I never cease to be amazed at your creativity!! Can sweaters be used for this craft? I have a beautiful brown wool sweater that ended up in the washing machine (boo hoo!), but I can't part with it thinking I can do something with it.... what do you think?

Katy said...

Hi mp2athome,
Old sweaters can indeed be reused if you unravel them to make new projects. If you were very thrifty, you could even go to places like Goodwill and get old sweaters for cheap yarn, but since yours shrunk, I'm pretty sure that can be used for a technique called "felting" which I am not very familiar with yet. Does anyone out there have any ideas on what to do with a shrunken sweater?

Geoff said...

Christmas is coming up. A shrunken sweater would look great on that aunt or uncle who gave you something less the satisfactory last season, or on that furry friend that seems to shiver at the thought of snow! In all seriousness, its great to see this blog turning into a place to bounce ideas off each other. Keep it up, you are doing great!

Su said...

What an awesome idea! I'm trying to think of other things that can be made this way. Lovely

mp2athome said...

Hum, felting... one of your step-sisses was looking into that craft. I'll have to ask her what she's found out.