27 November 2017

Snowflake Monday

Those of you who've been following my blog a while probably know I don't do Black Friday. I began a new tradition three years ago, looking for white things to photograph/do in lieu of shopping and spending money the day after Thanksgiving. That first official year was pretty easy because the snow was coming down in fantasy form, and I was having a ball taking photos.

My traditional White Friday blog posts began two years ago, when I displayed those photographs in my first online Black Friday rebellion.

Last year, I had to get creative because it didn't snow, and The Lizard was at work, so we couldn't go find snow somewhere. Those photos appeared last Friday.

We didn't get any snow again this year, although we're expecting some tomorrow... Fingers crossed! I planned in advance a series of white photographs and activities for just such unsnow day.

One particular activity resulted in today's pattern, and I'll have more photos from this year's White Friday the day after Thanksgiving 2018. Yes, you'll get to enjoy today's photos twice! I do have a few creative photos from today's snowflake I'm saving up for next year, so it will be worth seeing twice. Trust me. Ha ha!

Last January, I went through all our event T-shirts and pulled out the very few I intended to keep wearing. The rest went into a big huge bin, now overflowing so badly I can't even close it, for future use in quilts.

When I saw last week's forecast did not include any possibility of snow where I live, I decided I'd attack that bin and hopefully use up enough shirts to be able to close the bin by the end of White Friday.

Initially, I planned to begin a Race for the Cure quilt because most of those shirts are white. I have a couple of pink ones donated by breast cancer survivors.

However, in my search for white T-shirts, I discovered I had quite a few white, off-white, cream and almond-colored ride T-shirts. Working on a ride T-shirt quilt would be very motivational and exciting right now because I spent most of this year off my bike and in physical therapy. Ride T-shirts have this magnetic hold on me, and I can remember some of the most special moments of my life just by looking at these T-shirts.

This most favorite Ride the Rockies top will never end up in a quilt. Ever.

One of the reasons I haven't put any time into making T-shirt quilts yet is because for the last three years, I've been trying to finish unfinished quilting projects, some of them many decades old, as Christmas gifts for all the young members of my very extended family. Right now, I'm working on the 15th of 15 quilts for this year's gifting. So no time for too many T-shirts.

Another reason I haven't put much effort into using up those old T-shirts yet is because I refuse to throw away fabric I don't use when making a quilt. I had to come up with an idea to use up the tarn, or T-shirt yarn, I planned to make with the shirt leftovers.

At some point, I plan to crochet some baskets, perhaps a cat cozy (I'm hoping to have at least two cats again one day), knit an over-sized heavy knitted shawl/throw for winter, and I'd like to try crocheting amigurumi with narrow strips of tarn to see if it will work. I also plan to use up the T-shirt collars, cuffs and hems to stuff my first amigurumi test. No such thing as throwing away perfectly good fabric here at Snowcatcher's house!

I had never made tarn before, but I have made quite a few things with plarn, yarn made from plastic bags. I assumed the concept would be the same. I looked up a tutorial anyway, just to make sure. Good thing I did.

I didn't have access to video when I first began working on this project, so I used a photo tutorial, which I didn't think did a very good job of describing the angle-cutting portion of the project. So, when I began writing this post, I looked for a video tutorial that clearly demonstrated the angle cuts.

Even though I learned you should use T-shirts without side seams and you shouldn't use shirts with big prints on the front or back, I decided a rug isn't quite as picky about what goes into it as a sweater or a scarf might be, so I ignored both those two tips.

I also assumed I'd be able to use the same z-cut I use in making plarn, a technique I came up with so I could use every single piece of every plastic bag. After crocheting the first couple of rounds of today's pattern with tarn made using this Z-cut technique, I decided the final tarn is smoother, prettier and easier to use if I cut plain old strips from non-circular pieces and sewed them together. I spent about an hour at the sewing machine linking the strips for the second big ball of tarn, made from approximately six T-shirts. Sewing the strips together was a worthwhile investment, as far as I'm concerned.

I didn't find the tutorial below until after I had finished today's project. I probably will try the technique below instead of sewing the ends together next time I work with plarn or tarn.

I cut the designs out of the first two T-shirts before making tarn because I don't have a 12-inch square cutting board I could insert in the T-shirt to make sure I didn't cut through a potential quilt block. Who'd have ever thought I'd ever in a million years need a 12-inch quilting cutting board?!? But three cheers because I didn't go buy one on Black Friday when I discovered how helpful it would have been.

After the first two shirts, I would trim off the hems, neck and sleeves, then cut continuous tarn from the bottom up until I reached the bottom of the biggest design on each shirt.

After making one very long continuous piece of tarn, I'd cut the designs, then make tarn strips out of whatever remained.

Well, except for the print. I didn't include any large print on any of the tarn strips, but I let the small print slide because it rolls up just fine and doesn't show in the final project unless you use a magnifying glass and really good light.

future amigurumi stuffing

After sewing all the strips together, both the long continuous ones and the shorties, some as short as the length of an unfolded sleeve, I pulled all the tarn tight, just as shown in the video tutorials, to get the curling action going. The seams don't curl as tightly, but I had no problem whatsoever curling them up as I crocheted.

Best part of this literal exercise, other than the gorgeous rug now gracing the hardwood floor in our living room, was pulling the tarn tight, a move very similar to the physical therapy I've been doing since about July or August. That pull action turned out to be extremely good for my neck and arm! How about them apples!?!

I thought when I first began cutting that I had enough white ride T-shirts to make one quilt top. While making my second ball of tarn, I ran out of ride T-shirts and had to raid The Lizard's stash. He very happily offered three T-shirts, but I used only two, which was enough to finish our new rug.

However, we're missing two rides in the quilt top-to-be: Triple Bypass and Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Lizard has done both of these rides, and he has T-shirts, but they are not white. So I'm putting out the call to our cycling friends to see if anyone has a white Triple Bypass or white Iron Horse Classic T-shirt they'd like to destash.

If we don't find one of each, we'll either try to buy new ones in 2018 if The Lizard participates again, or I'll use some other cycling motifs on white T-shirts, such as the “Life Behind Bars” shirt with handlebars.

Whatever we end up using as the final blocks in the T-shirt quilt, Lizard says he's going to cherish it. He loves studying the cut-up blocks, and he, too, loves the journeys down memory lane as he admires what I've done with some of our old T-shirts.

You may do whatever you'd like with rugs you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Finished Size: 37 inches from point to point
Materials: Approximately 13 white t-shirts cut into 2-inch strips for tarn, size Q crochet hook, scissors, sewing machine and/or sewing needle, white sewing thread

White Friday Snowflake Rug Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 12 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Pull magic circle tight as possible without tearing tarn.

Round 2: Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2), * 1 dc in next sc, ch 2; repeat from * around 10 times for a total of 12 dc and 12 ch 2 sp; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 4.

Round 3: * 2 sc in next ch 2 sp, ch 1, 2 sc in next ch 2 sp, ch 3; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last ch 3 of final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in starting sc to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, * 1 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in same sp (V-st made), 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc and last 3 ch of final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 5: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), 1 dc over post of dc directly below (V-st made), * 1 dc in middle dc of next 3/dc shell, ch 1, V-st in top of next V-st, ch 1, 1 dc in middle dc of next 3/dc shell, V-st in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, V-st in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last V-st and last ch 3 of final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 3 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 6: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), 1 dc over post of dc directly below (V-st made), * V-stitch in top of next V-st, V-st in each of next 2 ch 1 sp, V-st in top of next V-st, V-st in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, V-st in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last V-st and last ch 3 of final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 3 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 7: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, * 1 dc in top of each V-st and between each V-st across to next ch 3 tip for a total of 11 dc (not including starting dc shell), 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same tip; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc and last ch 3 of final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 8: 1 sc over post of dc directly below, * ch 3, 1 sc in 3rd dc of next 3/dc shell, ch 1, sk next dc, 1 hdc in next dc, ch 3, sk next dc, 1 dc in next dc, sk next dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 5, 1 dc in same dc (tall V-st made), sk next dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, sk next dc, 1 hdc in next dc, ch 1, sk next dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 tip, ch 5, 1 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat. See finishing instructions below.

Finish: When I reached the end of crocheting my rug, I used the invisible finish, then tucked the tarn end into the back of the nearest stitch and machine-stitched it in place. My old sewing machine, which no longer works, would have handled this task gracefully. The newer inexpensive machine I've been making due with this year burped a couple of times, trying to digest such a thick project. It worked, but hand-sewing probably would have been much easier.

On all my crocheted afghans and rugs now, I stitch, either with the machine or by hand, around the magic circle in the center (of each motif when there is more than one) because one such child project I gifted a few years ago came loose in the center, thanks to being taken to bed and wrestled every night for about six months. So although not required, I would strongly suggest hand- or machine-sewing around the stitches in the magic circle just to keep them from ever becoming homeless. Homeless magic ring stitches are not easy to rescue. Not impossible, but not easy.

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. That is a neat way to go down memory lane indeed and cut down your t-shirt pile. 2 cats around is always fun, although your yarn may get a bit chewed lol saving up for a whole year, now you sound like the cat.

    1. Thanks, Pat,or Cat, or both of you! Yes, my yarn will get chased, chewed and strewn about, but boy, am I ready for the purry goodness!

  2. Great idea - I have a lot of those shirts too - and your favorite one is my favorite one too (except mine is a gray T-shirt) since that was my first Ride the Rockies - and the one I got married one! I like the idea of using the t-shirts as yarn! My husband uses them as rags. I should go through is rag bag and make them into yarn and crochet them into rug!

    1. Pretty funny, Beaver, that your hubby uses old T-shirts (and undies and socks...) as rags! For bike maintenance and repairs, I bet! I think you should make a T-shirt rug. It’s fun, it uses up the T-shirt scraps, and you will love it on your floor after you step on it in your stocking feet the first couple of times. What if you made a plain white (or whatever color) circle, then wove black (or gray) strips into bike spokes, with a final round of the spike color for the tire?!? Doesn’t that sound cool?!?

  3. The rug looks great! Is it an addition to the other one, or a replacement?

    What a wonderful quilt of memories you'll have when that project is done. :)

    1. Thanks, Sue!!! I almost can’t wait to begin! I’m hoping I don’t get discouraged by how difficult T-shirt fabric can be to sew...

  4. Wow!! That's QUITE the impressive project!!! I'll be looking forward to the day that you complete your Ride Shirt T-Quilt. Happy finishing of #15, too!

    1. Thanks, Joy! You know you are one of my best T-shirt quilt inspirations! I hope mine will look as good as yours when done!

  5. great idea to use up all the t-shirts


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