Following my foray into recycled plastic knitting (https://rosalindhughes.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/a-plastic-story/), I was inspired by friends to try recycled t-shirt knitting. A slightly gentler and more forgiving medium, it’s perfect if you want to knit old stuff into new but find the plastic too rigid and inflexible for your fingers or needles.
First, I made a rug, which my daughter’s cat instantly adopted.
This was pretty simple. I cut six t-shirts, one strip each, cut on a spiral from the hemline to the underarm. A helpful teenager took away the sleeves and yoke to make into a scarf. Each strip was about half an inch wide. I used linen stitch in two colours to make a nice, flat mat. Linen stitch, if you’re not familiar with it, is deceptively simple and usefully dense, and easy to use in two colours at once. The different lengths of the t-shirt strips made for easy and interesting transitions between colour patterns.
Linen stitch cat mat:
Cast on 40 stitches in colour A
Row 1: With Colour A and yarn in front, slip one. Take yarn back and knit one. Repeat to end of row.
Row 2: With Colour A and yarn behind, slip one. Bring yarn forward and purl one. Repeat to end of row.
Row 3: Join Colour B and work Row 1.
Row 4: Using Colour B, work Row 2.
Repeat these 4 rows, switching to new colours/t-shirt strips as necessary. Weave ends in to join strips and secure.
When mat reaches desired length, cast off knitwise.
It took a few tries to find a shape that I liked and which fit the fabric, but I was quite pleased with this one, made for my 4-year-old goddaughter.
As usual, I was making it up as I went along, so the pattern is going to need some checking for repeatability before I share it, but if you feel inspired and want to go your own way, I suggest casting on about 36 stitches on circular needles, increasing over a number of rows, knitting straight for the mid-section, then decreasing until you feel comfortable turning bag inside out, dividing the stitches in half, and casting off using the circular needle as two straights with a third to knit/cast off both halves together knitwise. Then add a strap.
That’s pretty much what I did.
If you like a little more direction, check back in about a month and I’ll try to have a proper pattern posted. In the meantime, enjoy your knitting, and remember to reduce, recycle and reuse!