The summer stole project

I know, summer is technically over, and we’re into autumn around here, but I promised finished photos of the t-shirt stole, and it’s a sunny day on the north coast, so …

Recycling, knitting, and by no means least liturgy are some of my passions. Combining them into, er, unique liturgical wear has been a project which had me working with some great friends and some colourful plastic bags in the past ( ; this time, it’s the humble t-shirt’s turn for a role in the artful worship of God.

There are many ways to reuse t-shirts, and if they’re clean enough, many places to donate them. But for the truly old, holey and stained beyond redemption, here’s a way to redeem them after all, and put them to really Good use.

Suitable for sweltering summer Sundays when even the Queen of England wears a t-shirt to church:

… for outdoor services on the lawn:






For those parish picnics at the park:






Even, had one sufficient “white” t-shirts to recycle, those beachside baptisms or destination weddings:








I know it looks frivolous. And okay, maybe I had a little bit too much fun at the beach :). But don’t take offence. I am serious about sustainable worship, in many senses of the phrase.

The technical details:

This stole used seven t-shirts, cut into single strips (t-shirts without side seams are best, and just cut round and round from the bottom to the bottom of the sleeves). I divided the t-shirt strips in half to provide two symmetrical sides to the stole. I cast on 16 stitches using 10.5 needles, then switched to 13 or 15 needles to continue in linen stitch for about 50 inches – don’t go too long, it’s t-shirt and it will stretch when finished (for a description of how to knit linen stitch, click here: )

I repeated the same pattern for the second side.

Holding both sides together, I cast off using the three-needle technique (here you go: )

A good wash is necessary to get rid of all the little t-shirt specks that have accumulated on the stole, your clothes, floor, couch and cats while the knitting was in process. The stole will stretch on washing; shape it appropriately to dry. Embroider a cross on the seam if you wish.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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