More Hooking with T-Shirts!

t shirt penny for web cropped

T-Shirt Penny Rug, 21″x28.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Lately I’ve been having fun exploring what can be done hooking with T-shirt strips. It’s a fun new tool to add to my creative toolbox. T-shirt rugs are easy to hook, the materials are cheaper, and most amazing and mind-blowing of all, they are MACHINE WASHABLE!

The Penny Rug shown above is very tough and durable, and as you see it above, it has already been through the washing machine, just to be sure!

rainbow t shirt for web cropped

T-Shirt Rainbow Mat, 8″x13″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

There was just one more thing I needed to know, and that was whether I could hook the t-shirts on a linen backing, instead of cotton Monk’s Cloth. The rainbow mat above was hooked on pre-washed linen, and after hooking, put through the wash again, and it came through perfectly. That’s good to know, because linen is more durable and long lasting than cotton, so it’s great that we have the choice.

There are some minor differences when hooking with T-shirts. One thing is that you are limited to the colors you can find. T-shirts are very difficult to dye, even if you try Rit Dye, the colors aren’t strong and they come out in the wash. Fortunately, t-shirts come in a huge variety of colors, all we have to do is be creative with what we have available.

You will need one extra-large t-shirt to hook approximately one square foot of rug. So on the Penny Rug, I needed two black t-shirts to hook the background. Luckily, I was able to find two that were indistinguishable, but if they had been slightly different, I would have just gone for a variegated effect, just like I do with yarn. Then you can just cut up child-sized t-shirts for the pennies.

On the T-Shirt Turtle mat (below), I used one extra-large t-shirt for the background, and small shirts for the yellow and blue. You can hook with a t-shirt with a design on it (like silk screen), but not the kind of iron-on transfer design (but you can cut that part out and cut strips out of the blank areas.)


t shirt turtle for web

T-Shirt Turtle, 15.5″x16.75″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

I made sure to pre-wash the rug cord for the binding, so it wouldn’t shrink in the wash, and I bound the edges with acrylic yarn. The best way to cut the strips is with a rotary cutter on a cutting mat (like they use for quilting), using a yardstick for a guide. For more info on how to hook with t-shirts, read this post.

This month I’ll have a booth at the Puyallup Spring Fair, April 19-22, and at the Okanogan Fiber Festival in Omak, WA April 27-29. If you’re in the area, come on and say hi!

Don’t forget that for every $50 you spend at Little House Rugs you will be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (below, a $480 value!). If you spend $100, you will be entered twice, $150 three times, etc. 

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

For you Etsy lovers, I just wanted to let you know that in addition to some of my rugs and supplies, I have recently put up some of the hats, purses and scarves that I make on my Etsy site. If you come to see me in a booth, I always have a variety of garments and accessories that are knitted or felted, but they didn’t seem like something that should go on my website, which is mainly just rug hooking. So if you’re looking for fun and funky accessories or gifts, check out my Etsy shop! If you “favorite” the shop, you’ll be notified when new items are added.

Happy Hooking Everyone!!!



2 thoughts on “More Hooking with T-Shirts!

  1. Actually- we’re NOT limited to the colors we can buy, just need to use a different type of dye with 100% cotton than we do with the more traditional wool for rug hooking. The dye needed for cotton fabrics is called a Procion MX type and is very simple to use. It’s the same dye used to hand dye fabrics for quilting and tie dyeing. If you’re anything like me, I’ve just created a new obsession in your fiber life!


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