This idea came from two different volunteers, both giving it a try in completely separate parts of the country at the same time. They created nice and thick, soft and sturdy pet blankets using old t-shirts!
Connie J., a volunteer in Florida, starts with 6-8 old t-shirts (the size of the shirt will change the quantity needed) and made the square blankets pictured. She cuts the t-shirts into strips of about 1 inch to 1 ½ inches. She then joins the strips by cutting a notch in each end and looping them together.
These looped-together strips become her “yarn” which she uses to crochet blankets using a large “Q” size crochet hook. They make very sturdy blankets, but they are quite heavy. You probably don’t want to mail these, but they would be great to do if there’s a shelter close enough to personally drop them off.
Dorothy L., a volunteer in New York, also gave this a try (hers is the round blanket pictured). She likes that they are so thick and that they hold up to heavy use and wash very well. As Dorothy tells us, “cutting, stretching and winding up the material was fun,” since she uses the same general technique at Connie.
Dorothy did find the crochet part a bit difficult though. Maneuvering such a large crochet hook, even while trying to keep the stitches loose to help a bit, was a challenge. Dorothy also advises that we look for t-shirts without a side seam. If there is a seam, a “bump” will appear in the finished blanket.
This idea has the added benefit of being a great way to upcycle old t-shirts, which most of us have piling up in our closets. It also creates a really thick, bed-like pad for the pets. I’ll leave it up to you to find out if it’s worth all the extra work!