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Big hook crochet a sturdy tote with floral trim using recycled t-shirt yarn

A good friend gave me several dozen, brand new t-shirts to recycle. They were white, 100% cotton, sized x-large with some writing on them about a charity race. I wanted more color and the simplest way to do this was to dye them with ordinary powdered dye found at the drug store. After following the manufacturer's directions for washing machine dying, I had lots of fun material with which to play. I cut off the top of each shirt under the arm holes and then cut off the hem. This left me with a tube of jersey material. In order to create the spaghetti yarn, I had to cut the shirt into bias strips. I found the easiest way to do this was to cut the tube into strips, about the width of my thumb. I stopped cutting about an inch from the fold.I then made angled cuts to get a long band of material which I pulled into a spaghetti tube and wound into a ball. Each shirt yielded 34 yards of yarn.
Here is my photo step by step on how to make the T-shirt yarn:
http://crochetliving.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-to-cut-up-t-shirt-into-tarn-yarn.html

Bag construction
Bag constructionMaria Merlino copyright 2014
tarn tote
tarn toteMaria Merlino Copyright 2014

Size: 14 x 13 inches, not including handles.

Materials:

6 x-large t-shirts cut into spaghetti yarn. I used 3 dark and 3 light, but you can use whatever you have. Also have extra shirts on hand just to make sure you have enough yarn.

Plastic crochet hook size P-16/11.5mm. I used Red Heart Crystalites

Scissors

Stitch marker. I used a scrap piece of yarn but you may also use a safety pin, bobby pin or a commercial marker

Gauge: 5 sc = 3 inches 3 sc rows = 2 inches However this depends on your yarn. Thicker yarn will yield a bigger gauge.

Here is a photo step-by-step of the instructions:

http://voices.yahoo.com/photos/crochet-sturdy-tote-tshirt-spaghetti-7729694.html?cat=24

Instructions:

Rnd 1: Ch 25, sc in the 2nd ch from the hook and each of next 22 chs, 2 sc in last ch, working on the opposite side of the ch, sc in each of next 22 chs, sc in first st. You will have 48 sc. Mark first stitch. Do not turn but continue working in a spiral.

Rnd 2: Sc in each sc. (48)

Rnd 3: Sc in each sc. (48). Sl st in first st to join. Change to new color for next round.

Rnd 4: Ch 3 (acts as first dc), dc in each rem 47 sc. Sl st to top of beginning ch 3 to join. (48 dc)

Rnd 5: Ch 4 ( acts as the first dc and ch 1), *skip next dc, dc in next dc, ch 1, skip next dc, rep from * around. Join with a sl st to the third ch of the beginning ch-4. ( 24 dc and 24 ch 1 spaces).

Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in the next ch 1 that remained from the ch-4, * dc in next dc, dc in ch-1 sp, repeat from * around. Sl st to top of beginning ch 3 to join. (48 dc) Change to new color for next round.

Rnd 7: Repeat Rnd 5.

Rnd 8: Ch 3, dc in the next ch 1 that remained from the ch-4, * dc in next dc, dc in ch-1 sp, repeat from * around. Sl st to top of beginning ch 3 to join. (48 dc)

Rnd 9: Repeat Rnd 5. Change color for next round.

Rnd 10: Repeat Rnd 8.

Rnd 11: Repeat Rnd 5.

Rnd 12: Repeat Rnd 6.

Rnd 13: repeat Rnd 5.

Rnd 14: Repeat Rnd 8.

Rnd 15: Repeat Rnd 5. Fasten off.

Handles:

Measures about 16 inches long, 8 inches folded.

Place bag on flat surface. Adjust so that there are 12 spaces on each side.

First handle:

Row 1: Holding 2 strands of yarn together, one of each color, working right to left, attach with a sl st to the 4th space , ch 1, sc in same sp, ch 1 turn, *sc in sc, ch 1 turn, rep from * 18 more times. You will have a long strip of sc stitches. Skip next 4 spaces, sl st in next sp, ch 1, sl st in same space. Fasten off.

Second Handle:

Turn bag over and repeat as for first handle.

Flower decoration:

Rnd 1: Leaving a 3-4 inch tail, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from the hook, join with a sl st to first sc. (6)

Rnd 2: (ch 1, dc in same sp, ch 1, sl st in same sp. Sl st in next st. Petal made) 6 times. 6 petals made. Leave a 3-4 inch tail. Fasten off. Make 4 of these flowers.

To attach, either sew the the flowers to bottom of handle or tie them on using a crochet hook to get the tails through the stitches.

Weave in all yarn tails to neaten up the interior.