Thursday, 28 January 2010

Tutorial: Crocheting with Plastic Bags

Hello! Given my new love of crocheting, I thought I'd post a bit of a tutorial showing you how to use that most controversial of carrying apparatus, the plastic bag, to make something far more useful in its old-age! Plastic bags are a bit of a *ahem* discussion point in my mum takes reusable bags everywhere she goes, and never ever brings home any plastic ones; my dad forgets (refuses? hence the discussions...!) to take reusable bags anywhere he goes, and inevitably brings plastic ones back if he goes shopping, so my mum adopted this method for getting rid of them in an environmentally-friendly way. I've pinched this in turn to show you!

1. First take your plastic bag and lay it out as flat as possible (hello, Mr Morrison!).

2. Fold it in alternate directions to make a flat concertina - leave a strip of about a centimetre unfolded at the end.

3. Snip off the bottom edge.

4. Cut the folded section into 1cm-wide strips - don't cut too far into the unfolded strip. Cut all the way along, and snip the handles off.

5. Because of the way the bag folds, the uncut edge should split into two - separate them out.

6. Now this is a bit fiddly, but it means you get one long strip instead of lots of little ones that you then have to work together. Cut into the top of the unfolded section opposite every other of the main cuts.

7. Same again with the bottom unfolded section but cut every other one alternately with how you've cut the top strip (does that make sense?).

8. Now cut the folded edge all the way along each strip. You can do this before or after steps 6 and 7, but this way stops the bag slipping when you're cutting the alternate slits.

9. Hopefully you should have something that looks like this - now unravel it gently!

10. Et voila! One long strip ready to turn into anything you desire!

Using all of this part means you only end up having to send this much either to landfill or to be recycled, rather than the entire bag!

A couple of notes:
- use quite thin, soft bags, like supermarket carrier bags, rather than thicker ones (the ones with the good handles!), because they're easier to work with and snag less when you're working with them
- biodegradable bags aren't so good for this, because they start to disintegrate (as designed!) after about 6 months

This is also useful if you live in a student house where plastic bags seem to collect in vast quantities however hard you try (we had a cupboard full at my house - my mum used to love when I brought them all home for her to use!). Now you've got your crocheting yarn, go wild! You could make a little bucket to store your plastic bag strips in?

Maybe a plastic bag holder (also useful as a wine bottle holder!) for all those ones that STILL manage to find their way into the house?

Or a full sized shopper? My mum made this for me when I was still in school (I won't tell you when that was!), and it looks just as good as new now! The colours in this were different coloured Argos bags, I think!

Cristen at What To Do With Plastic Bags? has tons of great ideas (and patterns!) to create something lovely out of something not so lovely - hats, kites, bags...even a dress if you desire!


beedeebabee♥ said...

This is such a clever idea! ... You have a very lovely blog! Hugs, ;D

LuliBags said...

I agree, really clever! I hope the crocheting is going well. Lx

Sarah said...

Thank you both! I'm currently attempting to crochet some flowers...I think it's a bit beyond me at the moment!

LoloDesigns said...

Cool idea! Have seen plastic bag knitting before but not crochet. Thanks for your support on my weightloss post :o) xx

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