Monday, September 21, 2015

DIY T-Shirt Rag Rug

I recently got the motivation to use up materials that I've been hoarding for far too long - specifically t-shirts. I've saved several t-shirts to make a t-shirt quilt (post to come later). I cut them up a few weeks ago and had SO much leftover t-shirt that I just couldn't throw away! I decided to make one of these rag rugs, which I had considered doing years ago. 

Here's how I did it!

Step 1: Cut

Cut t-shirts into strips along the bottom of the shirt. I didn't take a photo of this, but I used my rotary cutter and just zipped up a bunch of shirts of several different colors. Most of the shirts I used were missing a big square in the middle where I cut out a piece for the t-shirt quilt. Just the lower part of the shirts made plenty of "t-shirt yarn" to work with. 

After I looked over my colors, I decided to start with red and follow the rainbow outward with whatever colors I had on hand. You can see in my final product, that I'm missing orange and purple, but I had pink and lime green. I ended up with a lot of white strands, so I kept one white strand throughout the whole rug. 

Step 2: Braid

Choose three strands and tie them together. 

Secure your braid with a clip. I used a clip board, but a chip clip or clothespin would work too. Start braiding. Re-pinch your braid every few inches so that you can keep control over the braid. 

When you get to the end of one strand, you'll need to extend that strand. To do this, fold over the end and cut a little slit in it to make a hole.

Cut the same kind of hole in the next piece that you'll use to lengthen your strand.

Pull one through the other...

...and loop the end of the new strand through it's own hole. 

Then pull it through. You have to kind of flip the ends through the holes to make it as smooth as possible. You could also sew the new strand on, but I wanted as little sewing as possible, so I used this loop method to add new strands. 

Then you just braid it as long as you can stand to. I used up most of my red, then transitioned to pink by braiding pink, red, and white together before switching to two pinks and one white strand. 

Step 3: Sew

I saw tutorials where you could use your sewing machine. I would not have attempted this project if I knew it was a hand-sew project, but guess what? I ended up hand-sewing it!! My braids were too bulky for my machine, and I knew I would get frustrated and break needles. Also, the zig zag stitch looked really tacky, so I opted to hand sew.

You just curl the braid and sew the inner edge of the braid onto the inner circle. Once it wraps around a few times it's easy to follow.

IMPORTANT TIP #1. Keep your stitches loose. Too tight and the rug becomes a bowl, because it's being pulled on the inner side. 

IMPORTANT TIP #2: Sew on a flat surface. If you don't sew on a flat surface, the rug gets lumpy and bumpy. Mine is very lumpy in the inner colors, because I didn't use a flat surface. The outer rings are nice and flat, because I got smart and sewed on cardboard. 

That's it! The whole project took me about 4-5 evenings of braiding and sewing. I worked on as much as I could while the kids were awake, but when the rug got big, I had to wait for them to go to sleep to work on it. Otherwise they were all up in my business.

It was SO fun to see old ratty t-shirts turn into something beautiful. The colors ended up matching my living room perfectly, because of these pillows I made last summer: 

I didn't really plan that, but it's a very happy coincidence! I love my new rug!

I've seen several tutorials over the interwebs about how to do this, so if you don't like mine, there are plenty others out there! I even watched a few youtube videos before I started my project.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mom of Two: Eleven Months In

We made it another month! This month started off a little rough for me. August is my least favorite month and somehow always depressing for me. Then as soon as September hit we were busy as bees! Now we're getting into Fall, and I'm starting to reminisce about the days just prior to Amy's birth. 

My big "mom milestone" was leaving both the girls for four nights in a row! Zane and I took a cruise out of Port Canaveral to celebrate his graduation and get away after an intense 15 months of school. We had a wonderful, relaxing time, and the girls did amazingly with grammy. When we returned, they acted as if we had only been away a few hours. 

My biggest concern about leaving them for four days straight was Amy and breastfeeding. I never left Daisy that long while still nursing. Two days before we left, Amy dropped herself down to two feedings. I was happy to oblige, since I'd only have to pump twice a day. I thought she might not be interested in breastfeeding again after so many days away from me, but she nursed like a champ right on schedule the evening that we picked her up. Leaving the girls exceeded my expectations!

Amy's milestones this month include wearing shoes (which she loves!), learning to sign "more," two more teeth (giving her a total of eight), and knowing the members of the family by name. She put on a fireman hat, and I told her to go show Daddy, so she turned around and walked into the other room where Zane was. She and Daisy continue to amaze us with how much they know.  

They're also starting to play together really well. Amy basically just wants to do whatever Daisy is doing. They will make noises back and forth to each other the car. Amy's also content to watch Daisy play. I think my dream of them being best friends is already coming true.