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SXSW Eco: How to make a rag rug from recycled T-shirt yarn

Posted by Melissa Massello  October 10, 2013 12:21 PM

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crochet_tshirt_rag_rug_onedogwoof.jpgPhoto: Courtesy ChiWei Ranck,

SXSW Eco, the sustainability satellite conference to the famous SXSW interactive, music, and film festival, was in full swing down here in Austin, Texas this week, and yesterday we spent the day hanging out in the Maker Space expo — learning about 3-D printed food, upcycling initiatives, and the manufacturing challenges facing the Made in USA clothing movement, just to name a few.

After some deep conversations about climate change and technology, it was great to joke around with Nerds for Nature and roll up our sleeves for some crafty DIYs with the ladies of Stitch Labs Austin at their sewing tables, even pitching in for a few rounds on a collaborative crocheted rag rug project.

As the nights get steadily more wintry, this crocheted rag rug project using yarn made from old T-shirts is the perfect thing to make cold floors more cozy. Great for students and other folk who are short on cash but long on time (and needs for stress relief), this project simply requires a crochet hook, scissors, a bunch of old T-shirts of various colors, and lots of patience — taking the T-shirt "yarn" we made for the upcycled T-shirt necklaces project up a notch.

Depending on the size of the rug, this project can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, but if you get started now you could have all your floors covered before the first snowfall — or make one or two for holiday gifts. Several instructional tutorials exist for braided and tied versions — just do a simple Pinterest search for "tshirt rag rug" to find one that best suits your skill level, time allotment, and aesthetic preference — or watch this quick Instagram video with the experts from Stitch Lab Austin on how to use a simple crochet technique to get started:

For complete, step-by-step instructions and photos on how to make an upcycled crocheted T-shirt rag rug, check out this story on

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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