Site icon Morale Fiber

T-Shirt Rug Tutorial


Here’s another project that fits firmly into the “tired of staring at it because it’s been sitting on my desk for over a year so I might as well finish it” category!

There’s no real reason that it took me so long to finish, other than I got continuously distracted by other projects and lost my momentum on it. It was the fourth crocheted t-shirt rug from this series that I posted a while ago, in which I allude to the method but don’t provide much of an explanation. Today I am remedying that!

But FIRST! Here’s how to make T-shirt yarn via Endlessly Inspired.

I got the idea of using yarn to crochet around the t-shirt strips from Pinterest (of course) but felt that I could make things a little more interesting by experimenting with stitch designs..

…. which was fun, but sometimes one desires a more mindless exercise. So I experimented with ducking the t-shirt yarn strip in front of and behind the stitch, and came up with a design that makes the strip form  eye-pleasing rings of bobbles or nubs, or in the case of my most recent rug, stones on sand.

Crocheting around the T-shirt yarn in this way is soooooo much easier, neater-looking, and more economical  than trying the crochet the t-shirt yarn itself. I always make my own t-shirt yarn, so it’s also better because it’s easy to switch from one ball to another with this method. So enough talk… how is it done?

Crocheted T-shirt Rug How-To

UPDATE 3/2020: I now have a video on my YouTube Channel that demonstrates this technique – view this video by following the link or keep scrolling to view right here on the blog 🙂 

You need:

A large amount of cotton or acrylic yarn (A skein of Caron One Pound usually gets the job done nicely, with some to spare)

T-shirt Yarn (I use home-made, but store bought works too!)

A 6.00 mm hook

Start by making a magic ring. 6 sc into the ring tightly. Sc into the first sc of the first round to begin a joinless, in-the-round crochet circle. *

*I will not be giving instructions for increases in the round because I’m making the assumption that the crocheter already knows how to handle this – just work them in the same proportion as you usually would or decide how many you need to keep it flat as you go. 

In the second round of stitching, hold the t-shirt yarn flat against the last row and start to stitch the single crochet over the tail of this yarn until you have worked 3-5 stitches or have anchored it securely. Once you have secured the t-shirt yarn, you will begin weaving it in and out of the sc stitches.

This isn’t a picture of the second round, but you can see where I have begun the new strip by anchoring it within the sc stitching before I start weaving it in and out.

Continuing to work in the round (and adding increases where necessary), hold the t-shirt yarn to the back of your work and work a sc in the next stitch. Keep in mind that the t-shirt yarn should be completely to the back of the work so that the yarn is not held within the stitch at all.

*Tightening the sc after working it by holding the loop steady and pulling on your working yarn makes the rug nice and firm and helps the t-shirt yarn bobbles look neat.

Before you work the next stitch, bring the t-shirt yarn completely to the front of the work, so that you are working your next sc behind the t-shirt strand.

Work the next sc, tighten it down if necessary, then return the t-shirt strand to the back of the work – this will wrap the t-shirt yarn around the stitch you just made, creating a little t-shirt bobble.

With the t-shirt yarn at the back, make another sc in the next stitch.

Continue alternating holding the t-shirt yarn in front or back, until you get near the end of the strand or decide to change colors. Return the t-shirt yarn to the top of your work and work a series of several sc stitches OVER the yarn, so that it is trapped in the stitch again. Do this until the end is reached, then begin the next strand the same way.

I like to vary the proportion of bobbles in the front (i.e – bring the t-shirt yarn to the front every two stitches, every three stitches, etc) to provide visual interest, or alternate rounds of bobbles with rounds of t-shirt yarn carried along inside openwork stitches.

T-Shirt Yarn Rug Video Demo:

UPDATE 3/2020 & 9/2020: I did eventually make a video guide/tutorial for how I make these rugs! It covers the basic strategies of how I start the rugs in Part 1 (following the basic increases formula to produce a flat circle and then adding in the yarn and crocheting around it) and then how to finish a unique rug in Part 2 (goes over the tricks I use to freeform the outer rings of the rug to create decorative stitching). Hope you enjoy!

T-shirt yarn carried inside openwork stitches (granny blocks in this case)

As I’ve mentioned before, carrying T-shirt yarn along while you crochet regular yarn is a lot easier on your hands than trying to crochet the t-shirt yarn itself!  And this way, there’s tons of variations you can try.

My rugs usually end up being somewhere between 32-45″, for use as small accent rugs or even table centerpieces (and if you use all cotton materials, really awesome hotpads are possible!)  Lately, I’ve been thinking more about making them specifically for use as djembe rugs for the drum-circle going type! This of course has nothing to do with the djembe I recently purchased after a drumming workshop.

Ain’t she pretty?

Typical. I finally finish a project that I’ve been dragging my feet on, and I immediately want to start another.



Exit mobile version