Friday, August 13, 2010

Bags and Such



Come on in and have a cup of coffee. It has become a rainy Sunday in Georgia but that's OK for we need the rain. We had a great day of worship at church this morning and a few of our vacationing families were back and it was good to see them. We have lost 2 of our families and we hated to see them go but when better jobs beckon, you take it. Having been in that situation several times I appreciate how hard it is to leave a place you like but off you go. We wish the Wilsons and the Hawleys all the best.

As you know I was raised in South Alabama, out in the country by thrifty parents. They both had been children during the Big Depression and raised in rural Mississippi and we learned to live frugally and use everything until it was worn out. Mama saved plastic bags which we used to line trash cans, luggage, pick vegetables, or anything else you needed a plastic bag for. She kept them stuffed in a plastic bag, hanging by a clothes pin, hooked over a bar on the door of the pantry. It was always stuffed with bags.

Because the apple doesn't fall from the tree, I did the same thing. I very seldom ever through away a plastic bag and have always had an abundant supply. As many of you know, I like to crochet, knit, loom knit, and just generally play with thread and yarns to make stuff. I also like for it to be quick and easy and if I can recycle, it's even better. A couple of years ago when reading a new library book about making bags from everything, I found the instructions for crocheting strips made from plastic bags. I was fascinated by the idea and began a hobby which I enjoy and save hundreds of plastic bags from the landfills.

I found several good websites about this idea and found it is called "plarn" or plastic yarn. Rather than recreate the wheel, I am attaching several websites where you can see how I make these bags. Of course, each one is different for I have to change the directions on each one to make it mine. I like to add buttons, shells, yarn and string to mine to decorate them.

This is my favorite website about plarn, www.myrecycledbags.com/, for she does a fantastic job with designing and explaining the process. Planet M Files has great pictures and instructions for making the plarn and you can find them at http://planetmfiles.com/2008/09/06/how-to-make-plarn/. These 2 sites will show you how and what some creative people are doing with this hobby.

These are some of the bags I have made.















As you can see, I am a bit fascinated by this hobby for these are just a few of the bags I have crocheted. I made my great nieces some to use to carry stuff to the swimming pool. I have lined one and use it as my knitting and crochet bag. It s fun and keeps my hands busy for you know idle hands are the devils workshop and I'm working on sainthood.

These are the instructions for a basic tote and I usually begin with these and add and take away and design as I crochet. I add yarn, ribbons, twin, buttons, bead and whatever else strikes my fancy. I'm a free designer and just go with my imagination.

Basic Plarn Tote Pattern

Materials: One large ball of plarn (plastic bag yarn) Appox 40-45 bags or more.
Crochet Hook: Metal J or K

chain 25

Rnd 1
Sc in 2nd ch from hook in each chain.
Continue to the corner end st, work 2 Sc in end st. Continue around and down the back side of chain by working a Sc in every stitch of chain, work 2 Sc in end st.

Rnd 2
Sc in each st down to first end. Work 2 Sc in the two end sts, and then SC in ea st down to other end. Work 2 Sc in ea of the two end sts. Do not connect at end of rounds, just continue working Sc in each st to create a seamless bag bottom.

Rnd 3 – Same as row 2 but 2 Sc in the 3 end sts.
Rnd 4 – Same as row 3 but 2 Sc in the 4 end sts.

Rnd 5 - Change to Hdc
Hdc in each st around entire bag continuing until you have it as deep as you like. I like mine to be about 14 inches deep.

Top Edging:
Row 1 – Sc around in each stitch around the bag. Join to the first Sc.
Row 2-4
Ch 2- Hdc in each Sc around the bag and join with Sl St in top of Ch 2.
Row 5
Ch1 , Sc in each stitch around the bag and join with sl st to the Ch1 and end off by leaving a length of yarn to weave in (to secure the end), cut the yarn. Pull the cut end of the yarn through the final loop that is left on the hook.

Straps (Make two)
I like to make my straps and attach them to the sides with yarn or plarn.

Chain 5 stitches.
Turn and SC in each of the 5 stitches

Continue until desired lengths are reached. I usually make mine about 18 inches long. You can make it shorter or longer and finish off.

To attach the straps I thread a needle used to make seams in crochet. Place one end of the strap about 2 inches from the side of the front or back of the bag and about 1 ½ inches down the bag on the inside. Sew the strap to the bag using an X pattern. Do the same for the other side and the back piece of the bag. If you use a contrasting yarn or heavy twine, it adds a decorative X to the bag. You can also attach them to the front of the bag and sew a button on each end of the strap for embellishment.

Abbreviations:
Ch - Chain
Hdc - Half Double Crochet
Plarn - Plastic Bag Yarn
Rnd - Round
Sc - Single Crochet
Sl St - Slip Stitch
St – Stitch
If you have any questions about these instructions, please email me at fprobson@yahoo.com
This pattern is copyrighted by Frances Robson and may only be used for private individual use. No commercial sales or use is permitted. Links to this pattern are acceptable. ©2010

This is my first tutorial so forgive me if it is not correct. I tend to free crochet but I usually begin with chain 25 for a medium size tote and will chain 35 for a large one.

If you are interested in buying one already made, just check out my Etsy store at this link http://www.etsy.com/shop/francesrobson

Well, I have taken up enough of your time tonight with my ramblings so ya'll be careful going home and come back to see me.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

1 comment:

Gayle said...

Thanks for the mention! Your plarn bags are really pretty!