Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Anatomy of a Disaster

You always hear that you should learn something from your mistakes. I'm usually in too big of a snit to bother. I just work out all my frustrations in disposing of the offending project. But this project was rather different. I did learn something, and I thought you might want to witness the carnage.

I've been working on a t-shirt rug since my friend Amy told me about Erica Knight's crochet book Simple Crochet. Amy made a BEAUTIFUL rag rug in about 12 minutes, so I assumed that I could crank one out made of t-shirts in about 12 weeks, working 24 hours a day. The fact that I didn't know how to crochet very well didn't much figure into my calculations. Besides being WAY over schedule (I started this last fall!), other lessons I have learned from this project:


1. Cut your t-shirts outside. They make a mess of tiny speckles of fabric. With white shirts, mine looked like snow. Same holds true when you're doing the hooking - much rug dandruff ensued.

2. Cut all the shirt strips close to the same width. I started a little skinnier than I should and tried to just keep going. Mistake. Ideal for me would have been 1 1/2" width strips.

3. If you don't cut your strips the same, take out what you've already hooked. If not, you get this (prewashed rug):




4. No amount of blocking will fix a wonky rug if you don't follow the above advice. Post washing rug with bonus toes:




5. Rugs need to be much tighter than I can hook. I wound up with big holes and a rather macrame look to the rug. Maybe the M hook was too big. Close up the meshness of it all:




6. Bad looking rugs can still feel good on your feet. Cotton t-shirts were a good choice.

7. No matter how good your rug feels, it won't feel good mashed into the corner of your bathroom because the door doesn't have clearance to swing over it.

8. Not tying new ends together means that they'll come out in the wash. If they're really loose, you can tie them after the laundry like this:



9. No mat should be used in a bathroom if it can't be washed and dried.

10. No amount of time and effort will make a project salvageable if it just didn't work out. So goodbye, little rug friend! Have fun in the landfill.

And now that I feel like a better person for learning and passing on my tips, can someone please explain this train wreck:



I finally screwed up my courage to print some clothing labels on my computer using cotton twill tape and painter's tape. Did two test runs: check. The second test was even run with the tape and all applied, but the paper backward to check for placement (NOT because I forgot to turn the paper the right way. Really). And then this is what printed - nowhere near the target. Arg. And the print seems a bit bleedy. Maybe because the "cotton" twill tape I could find was polyester?
It is all very irritating and not a bit instructive. Apologies to Amy, but looks like I am not making any labels for you.

More on the "She Knits" logo in a future, happier post.







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