My bathroom needed a new rug. Our old one had traveled with us through 2 houses and an apartment and was in such bad shape that the last time we put it through the wash and then back on the floor, the rubber melted to the tile.
I’ve been trying really hard lately to make more things and buy less. It takes a lot of time, but it means I truly appreciate what I have, instead of just loading up on “deals” that wind up needing to be stored or thrown away in a year when I get tired of them, so I decided to try my hand at making my own rug. The sizing didn’t quite work out for the space in the bathroom, but it’s PERFECT for a bathmat (which was also on its last legs).
Pretty fancy huh? So would you believe me when I tell you that my bathmat started out as this?
The Mr. hadn’t cleaned out his dresser in a while and so he had a dozen or so white undershirts that were ready to be tossed. Rather than condemn them to a landfill somewhere (after paying our garbage collection fee on them of course), I decided to put them to use.
Using this tutorial, I cut the t shirts up, and then linked the pieces together, like this. Heads up, this does get messy. You’re going to lose lots of little “pills” of fabric when you stretch it. I cut apart the remaining (above the armpits) portion of the shirts for rags.
Once it was all hooked together I headed to the store to grab some dye. I wanted something that would work with the coral theme I have in the bathroom, so I bought 2 boxes of RIT dye, one in scarlet and another in tangerine.
I wound the tarn around two chairs in an attempt to get a somewhat serviceable hank. Next time I’ll either put something between the chairs or start with them back to back…they slid closer and closer with every pass I made. If I ever dye tarn again, I will also put some ties around the hank to keep it from getting all knotted. Untangling my tarn after dyeing was by far the most arduous part of this process.
I wanted to make sure I had some variation in color throughout the yarn, so I wrapped rubber bands around random portions of the tarn and used two different dye baths. First I made a bath that was about 75% scarlet and 25% tangerine and then after dyeing and removing the rubber bands (and replacing them on other parts of the hank) I put it in a second bath with the opposite proportions.
Once the tarn was dyed, I stuck it outside in the sun to dry.
My neighbors are very understanding of the fact it looks like I’m putting guts out to dry.
That or they’re afraid to ask too many questions.
3 days later, when I’d finished untangling it all and had it wound into a ball, it looked like this:
Next to a ball rolled from a full hank of yarn
Now it was time to knit! I already knew the pattern I wanted to use. I’ve been working on making this Ariel scarf for…well, lets just say it was started before I was pregnant with G and leave it at that…but on size 5 needles, I can work for an hour and only add an inch. Not very satisfying.
Obviously, making a bath mat, and with big thick yarn to work with, it was going to go faster. I broke out the size 15 needles and while I’m not going to say knitting this was quick, it was always really satisfying to see how much length I could add to it with just a row or two.
I think I did 4 or so repeats of the pattern and then bound it off when I ran out of tarn. A brand new, all cotton, specifically-designed-for-my-decor bath mat…and all it cost me was a couple bucks for dye. Not bad huh?
A note for those who are interested in trying this:
Don’t be intimidated by the cable pattern! Believe it or not, this is my first completed cable knit project. Cable knitting takes a little bit to figure out, but this one has every step written out exactly, so it’s actually a great learning pattern.
If you have any questions about how I did anything, please feel free to leave me a comment!