Crocheting plastic shopping bags is not a new concept. My mother-in-law found a magazine article her mother had saved which was printed back in the ’80’s showing how to make large oval floor “rugs” out of them. It has taken a revival of interest in crocheting and knitting coupled with the popularity of living “green” to bring this craft into popularity. While there are always people who are interested in recycling for philosophical reasons, the ability to get something for little or nothing has an added attraction for those feeling the pinch of dwindling resources. The following posts show some of what is possible with this versatile (and free!) material.
GETTING STARTED WITH PLASTIC BAGS The first thing that you have to do to begin working with plastic shopping bags is to cut the bags into loops which can then be linked together into one long strand for crocheting. Begin by flattening the bag out with the side pleats tucked back inside. Fold the bag in half lengthwise and then fold it over lengthwise again. Next, cut off the handles and the small strip of seam at the bottom. Now you can cut straight through the folded bags in strips about 3/4 of an inch wide. When the strips are unfolded, the plastic should be in loops. Interlock the loops together into a long, continuous strand, making sure that the sides of each loop are even between the knots. Roll the strand up into a ball. Don’t worry about the knots. These will simply “disappear” into the work as you crochet. Begin crocheting with the plastic just as you would with yarn.
After my initial project with plastic shopping bags, I tried a simple purse; essentially a rectangle with the sides sewn up and a shoulder strap attached at the top. I went on to use this purse for a season and found it to be very durable and easy to keep clean. Since I was concerned that the plastic might have a tendency to stretch some if there was a considerable amount of weight on it I added a crab stitch (reverse single crochet) to the edge of the strap to keep this from happening. This did make the strap uncomfortable if I wore a sleeveless top, but otherwise, I did not notice it at all. My mother-in-law, a talented crafter in her own right, designed a purse out of Wal-mart bags which was more structured than mine. It really turned out quite well and she received a number of compliments on it. Her strap was tubular instead of flat which was more comfortable.