Little House Rugs
Featured Rug of the Month                   April 2018
                                                        T-Shirt Rainbow Mat 8"x13"
T-shirt strips on linen backing
Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

T-shirt strips are fun and easy to hook with, they are inexpensive, and best of all, rugs hooked with t-shirts can be MACHINE WASHABLE!

T-Shirt Penny Rug, 21"x28"
T-shirt strips on Monk's Cloth
Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

It takes one extra-large t-shirt to hook about one square foot of rug, so in the Penny Rug (above) I used two extra-large t-shirts for the black background. Fortunately, they were the same color and shade, so you can't tell any difference, but if there was a slight color difference, I could have just hooked a variegated background, just like I do when I hook with yarn. Then I just used small amounts of different colored t-shirts (child size is fine) for the pennies. 

I pre-washed the backing fabric in the washing machine, and I pre-washed the cotton cording I used to bind the edges, too, so that part wouldn't shrink. I whip-stitched the edge with acryllic yarn, so that would be washable, too. After I hooked the whole rug, I tossed it into the wash, gentle cycle in cold water, and let it air dry. It was perfectly fine!

I used Monk's Cloth for the Penny Rug, but I was curious if linen would work, too, so I pre-washed a piece of linen backing, hooked the Rainbow Mat, threw it in the wash, and PRESTO, it worked great! That's good news, because linen is more durable and long lasting than cotton.

The best way to cut the t-shirt strips is to use a rotary cutter and a cutting mat (like they use for quilting), using a yardstick as a guide. I like to cut my strips around 1/4". If you cut your strips too wide, they are difficult to pull through the backing. So try cutting a couple of strips and hook them through the backing until you get the width that is most comfortable for you.

And one other little technique difference from hooking with yarn: I found it helpful to leave my hook in the loop as I pulled it down to the desired height. I discovered that some t-shirt strips are so textured, that if I just pulled it up nice and tight across the back, then tried to pull down on the loop, it would drag both sides down (meaning that it wouldn't be tight across the back anymore, between loops). Leaving the hook in the loop, I didn't pull up with my hook at the same time my hand underneath was pulling down, I just gave a little resistance with my hook. With that small adjustment, I was able to hook without leaving little loops on the back of the rug.

Rug hooking is just so darned versatile. Whether you like to hook with yarn, wool strips or t-shirts, anything goes!

T-Shirt Turtle  12"x12"
T-shirt strips on Monk's Cloth
Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

For every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2018, you will be entered to win this Antique Flower Rug (a $480 value) hand-hooked with handspun and dip-dyed yarns from Little House Rugs
Do you have a rug you would like to see featured on this website? Email me! If your rug is featured, you will receive your choice of a free half-yard of linen or our recycled cotton totebag, so what are you waiting for? Every rug has a story and we love to hear all about them!