Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dead Pajamas Become a Crafty Rag Thing

I hate throwing things out. "What if I want that someday?" I ask myself.  I have to convince myself that I'll never use/read/want/miss the thing before I get rid of it.

Last semester (my last in college), two pairs of my pajama pants died. I did not want to get rid of them.  I would wear them, pretending they didn't have giant holes down nearly the entire leg seam.  K would watch them, leg gaping open, as I worked.  "You should just throw those out," he told me, again and again.
dead pajama pants with giant hole
They were very, very dead.
I loved those pajama pants. They kept me cozy warm during long, cold winter nights in the frozen north. They comforted me (my legs, at least) as I struggled with Number Theory and cried over Advanced Calculus.*  They helped me delay laundry just one more day so I could get an assignment in on time.

I decided to make a rag rug out of it.  First, I tore the pajamas into strips that were somewhere between two and three centimeters wide.  It was not an exact science:
strips of pajama fabric
Two pairs of pajama pants, reduced to strips.
I tried a tutorial I found on Pinterest for a braided rag rug and very quickly ran out of patience: my strips were flat, not round, and it was really difficult to get them to pull tight enough to look good but loose enough to pull through the loops-- at least, without further fraying the woven pajamas.
failed attempt at braided rug
This failed.
So, I gave up on the braiding and turned to crocheting, which I've done intermittently for over a decade.

The pattern I came up with went like this:
Chain two. Single crochet in the first chain until it looks basically like a circle.  Then, starting with the first single crochet, repeat "single crochet, single crochet two in the next single crochet" until you run out of material. 
I joined each new strip by making a slip knot and pulling both that and the loose end through the stitch.
plaid slip knot
Slip knot!
It doesn't quite lay flat, and it's not rug-sized, but it is about the right size to protect the table from a huge pot of spaghetti!  So I'm calling it a success. It's organic, okay? Organic.**  And I like the colors of the mat-thing just as much as I liked the colors when it was still pajamas.
The finished rag-mat-thing.
The finished thing.  Ruler for scale.
Still, there are some things I would have done differently.

  • I would have ripped the strips more carefully to get a more uniform length instead of using the plaid pattern as a guide.
  • I avoid fiddling with the sewing machine. It turns projects into something you do on a whim, when you have time, into a Major Undertaking. Joining each of the strips was annoying enough to make me wish I'd sewn them together, though, and I would have done them.

*It's like regular Calculus, only harder.
**Calling it "organic" means that it's okay that it's lumpy, right?

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