It’s almost been two years since my hubby passed away. My niece helped me right after he died to deal with all his clothes and we donated his work clothes to those who could use them. But after truckloads of shoes, workboots, jeans, shirts, coats, rain gear, etc. were dropped off at the Goodwill and we drowned our sorrows after this difficult job by consuming plate after plate of Vietnamese Chicken Wings from our favorite restaurant, we were still left with over 50 tee shirts that we didn’t know what to do with and they have sat in his closet for the last twenty four months. I often open that closet and bury my head in the shirts to smell him and weep. I am almost content to carry on in this manner indefinitely, but the pile has been weighing on my heart of late. I don’t want to be burying my head figuratively or really in the tee shirt sand of that closet forever.
This brings up what to do with them?
You can stop right there, I know what you are going to say. But I am already aware of the many things old tee shirts are recycled into. Unfortunately I don’t want a tee shirt quilt. I don’t want them to be rags. I don’t want a tee shirt skirt, a tee shirt grocery bag and on and on it goes – all the common reuses for tee shirts past their prime do not appeal to me. I decided I “might” like a braided tee shirt rug so I googled handmade tee shirt braided rugs and was surprised at the many tutorials that involved sewing machines or needle and thread and convoluted cutting up instructions or backing fabric and glue. This all seemed unnecessary to me. In my mind, where I write all my novels, bake all my cakes that don’t sink in the middle, paint all my masterpieces, etc. I imagined a way to make a rug with nothing other than some shirts and my Gingher fabric shears and my hands. Yesterday I decided the time had come to deal with some of the shirts in the pile and sat down to try to braid the shirts into the rug I imagined in my mind. Quite surprisingly my method is working and it has been very enjoyable work. I cut the shirts into loops and turn those loops into strings that I braid akin to French braiding hair so there is no need of any needle & thread. So far I’ve made a large bath mat sized rug using up only four shirts and I now realize I have enough tee shirts to wall-to-wall carpet my home if I so choose. I’m probably halfway done with this first braided rug, I’ll see as it gets further along, then I’m going to use the smaller leftover bits to finish the rug by tying on a fringe edge. I’m hoping for no waste and to use every bit of the shirts that I’ve cut up. I’m going to put this rug by my side of the bed and I am really happy with this plan. I’ll still be left with lots shirts to deal with but I can make more rugs over time until all his tee shirts are underfoot and out of the closet and off my mind.