April 23, 2012

Crocheted Recycled Tee Shirt Rug

I found myself with a bunch of old tee shirts that needed a new purpose. Stains, holes and general over use rendered them useless for donation. With no need for more rags right now, I had to find another use for them.

The best shirts I made into grocery bags. This is a great idea that I got from my friend, Jenn. By sewing the bottom of the shirt closed, and cutting off the sleeves and neckline, a quick and easy bag can be made.

Tee Shirt Grocery Bag
The remainder of the shirts were cut into strips and crocheted into a rug. I used five extra large men’s shirts to make my small rug. It takes a little bit of time to prep the shirts for use. You could make just about anything with the tee shirt material if you have enough of it.

Recycled crocheted rug.
This is more of an outline than an actual pattern. Any size rug can be made by increasing the beginning chain (increases width of rug) and the number of rows (adds length). You can learn how to make the tee shirt strips here. My rug pattern is very basic. Some of the shirt material was stiff and hard to work with. I kept the rug simple for this reason. It seems silly to even write it out, but here it is anyway!

Crocheted Recycled Tee Shirt Rug

Tee shirt yarn- 5 shirts
Size P crochet hook

Row 1) Ch 32, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc across turn.
Row 2) Ch 1, sc in each st across.
Row 3 -37) Repeat Row 2. Fasten off.
Row 38) Attach yarn along side of rug, ch 2, (sk next st, sc in next st) repeat around. In corners- sc1, ch 2, sc 1.

How To Cut Tee Shirt Into Strips For Knitting and Crocheting

1) Cut tee shirt straight across below the sleeves. You want to create a tube out of the tee bottom half of the shirt. The top half of the shirt can be used, but it will require more sewing later to connect each strip.

2) Cut off bottom seam of shirt.

3)  Lay tee shirt tube down flat with a closed side of the tube facing up.  The open sides should be on the left and right.  Take the bottom of the tube (the other closed side) and fold it up towards the other end. Stop about 2 in inches from the top. Take the bottom again and fold it on top of the first fold. Cut the ends of the folded tube even if needed.

Tee shirts folded and ready to be cut.

4) From the bottom of the folded tube, cut stripes about on inch wide. Cut up wards towards the unfolded part of the tube. Stop cutting the strips where the folds stop. Do Not cut all the way to the top! Smaller strips are easier to crochet with. Try to make the strips the same width as possible.

Tee shirt being cut into stripes. Do cut all the way to the top!
5) Place your arm through the uncut unfolded top of the shirt tube. *Be careful not to cut yourself* Cut the first strip loose by cutting straight across the width of the strip. Unwind strip from your arm to the next cut. Cut from the cut of the next strip across the uncut part of the shirt tube to the cut of the strip on the other side. It may look like you are cutting diagonally across the uncut portion of the tube. Continue cutting each strip this way. The shirt tube should unwind in one continuous strand.

Notes: I cut at least three shirts before I got the hang of cutting.  The object is to get one continuous strip of tee shirt. If you make a mistake and end up with rings no problem. Just cut each ring and attach (see section on attaching below) each strip to one another. Longer strips just involve less sewing and seams within the crochet work. I used the top part of the shirts also. I cut off the arms and neckline at the seams. Then just cut what’s left into strips. I haven’t used the sleeves yet. I’m looking for a project just for them.  

Attaching The Tee Shirt Strips Together

I sewed some of the strips together and used Liquid Stitch on others. Hand sewing was fine for the longer stripes of fabric (if I was lucky enough to cut correctly).  I ended up with a lot of short strips that I still wanted to use. Instead of sewing all of these, I used liquid stitch. It worked well, was much quicker than hand sewing, and stayed together fine during crocheting. I actually prefer to use Liquid Stitch for this type of project now. The seams that were made this way also hid better in the crochet work than their sewed counterparts. Only time will tell which method will holdup after use.

April 17, 2012

Crochet Plastic Grocery Bag Holder

Crochet Plastic Grocery Bag Holder

24 inch long
5 inch wide

Worsted weight yarn: 1 skein
I used Red Heart Super Saver Pink Camo
Elastic hair band (ponytail holder) or rubber band
Size G & H crochet hooks

Pattern Notes
Beg ch 3 counts as first dc in each rnd.
Sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch 3 to join each rnd unless other wise stated.
The main pattern is worked in the spaces.

Bag Holder Body
Rnd 1) With H hook, attach yarn to elastic hair band. Ch 3, 20 dc around hair band.
Rnd 2) Ch 3, dc in same st, (2 dc in next st) repeat around.
Rnds 3-4) Ch 3, (dc in next st) repeat around.
Rnd 5) Ch 3, dc in same st, (dc in next st, 2 dc in next st) repeat around.
Rnd 6) Repeat Rnd 3.
Rnd 7) Ch 3, dc in next 2 st, ch 1, skip next st, (dc in next 3 st, ch 1, sk next st) repeat around.
Rnd 8)* Ch 4, sc in 1st space, (ch 3, sk next 3 st, sc in next sp) repeat around, sl st to 1st st of beg ch 4.
Rnd 9)* Sl st in 1st sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same sp, (ch 1, 3 dc in next sp) repeat around.
Rnds 10-33) Alternate repeating Rnds 8 & 9. Increase the number of Rnds if you would like to make the bag holder longer. Rnd 10 is the same as Rnd 8, Rnd 11 is like Rnd 9 ect.
Rnds 34-36) Repeat Rnd 3.
Rnd 37) Ch 1, sc in each st around, fasten off.
* Rnds of main design.

Rnd 1) With G hook, ch 100, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across.
To attach: Weave the drawstring through 1st row of dc on top of the bag holder body. I weaved the string behind one dc post, skipped three dc, and then weaved the string behind another dc post. You can weave the drawstring any way you would like.

Hanging Loop
Rnd 1) Attach yarn to top of bag holder body, ch 5, sl st to bag holder body, fasten off.
I crocheted a custom hanger for my grocery bag holder. I wanted to hang from a towel bar and wanted to be able to easily detached the holder from the bar. You can use a variety of ways to hang your holder. What you decide to use depends on where you are going to use it. You can attach another hair band, a metal or plastic loop, or an old key ring.

Please let me know if there are any problems with this pattern, or if you have questions. Email me at I hope you enjoy this free crochet pattern!

Pattern Abbreviations
beg   beginning
ch   chain
dc   double crochet
rnd(s)   round(s)
sc   single crochet
sk   skip
sl st   slip stitch
sp   space

April 9, 2012

Make Your Own Recycled Paper Picture

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I remember cold winter days when I lived in Illinois spent inside working on craft projects. Those days are few and far between now. I seldom have lazy, rainy days to spend cuddled up inside reading and creating anymore. It just doesn’t rain much in the west. I don’t see much of a winter any more either since I’ve been spending them in Arizona. What I do experience once in awhile are days so hot I would rather stay inside. There aren’t many days like this. I hate to admit it but today was one. It was only in the 90’s (the locals call this spring), but a bit to hot for me not to be lounging by a beach or pool. Since it was rather miserable outside, in my opinion, I decided to work on a recycled paper project. It’s great for a rainy day ( or hot day) for adults. Because of the use of a craft knife children shouldn’t make this.


 Recycled Paper Picture

Clean Used Cardboard
Magazines & Scrap Paper
Card Stock (Used if possible)
Glue (I preferred a glue stick)
Craft Knife

1) Cut used paper into strips. You pick the width of the strips for your projects.
Copyright © 2012 TownsEndCrafts.Com
 2) Glue stripes of paper onto cardboard using a layering technique. Overlap each stripe with the next strip of paper. 

 3) Cut card stock in the pattern you would like. 
Copyright © 2012 TownsEndCrafts.Com
 4) Glue the card stock on top of the used paper covered cardboard.

 5) Frame and enjoy!

Notes: I cut the strips of paper that I used in my pictures large. Cutting the paper into smaller strips would give the picture a different effect. I’m going to use smaller strips in the future. 

Any type of paper can be used for this easy project. I used old wrapping paper from the 70’s for my pictures. Some other ideas on paper to use include: wall paper, used coloring book pages, magazines, old dictionary pages, travel brochures, food packaging, and used greeting cards. The cardboard that is inside packages of socks, tee-shirts and other clothes is a great source of “card stock”.   
You can use stencils to cut out whatever you want from the card stock. This will allow for more precise figures and cuts. Freehand cutting is also possible. All of my pictures where freehanded. I like that the figures aren’t perfect. One more way to make the picture unique!

Use caution when using your craft knife! It is very easy for the paper to slip. I always use a cutting board with a towel underneath. This prevents the board from slipping. I also used small clips to keep the paper securely on the cutting board. If an adult does the cutting for children, this project is great for kids to create.
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