I made a surprising discovery on the internet the other day while looking for a pattern for a knitted reusable shopping bag pattern. This seems to be a rather trendy item in my area right now and I like to have something to keep my hands busy while I watch television in the evening.
I found a lovely lacy patterned bag and bought some linen yarn to knit it from. What I discovered, though, was that the lacy pattern required constant counting of stitches which I can’t seem to accomplish while watching T.V. It actually got to be quite frustrating, so I went back to the internet for an easier pattern. This time, I found what I thought was an amusing idea for a reusable shopping bag. It is made from… wait for it…. Reusable shopping bags! Right! The kind you carry your groceries home from the store in. How funny. I was intrigued because in the trunk of my car there are bags and bags of shopping bags that I have every good intention of recycling, but always manage to forget to take into the store’s recycling center. So I had plenty of materials and decided to try my hand.
The first thing you have to do is collect shopping bags – which for me just seems to come naturally! You will need somewhere between fifty and seventy-five bags for this project, I think. Then you have to turn the bags into yarn. This is easy and even kind of fun for a somewhat mindless activity while you are watching your favorite shows.
The pattern I liked best is found here and includes a tutorial for making the “yarn”. You simply stack the bags, fold them, and cut them into strips. Then you loop them together and roll them into a ball to work with.
I worked on my bag while I was sick and staying home from work this past week. My first effort lacked a bit of finesse since I haven’t knitted anything for awhile, and so I decided to keep this one for myself and make another for my sister. I used my bag today and it worked great. It’s kind of stretchy, but very strong. I knitted mine with two sizes smaller needles than asked for (13 and 15) and I’m glad I did because I think it would have been too big otherwise. It will hold a lot as it is.
So if you’re looking for a quick project that is earth friendly at the same time, check out the concept of making shopping bags out of… shopping bags!
Update On Jul 05, 2010: I think this would make a great project for a Girl Scout or Campfire Girls groups to help raise awareness of ecology and ways that one person can make a difference.
Update On Jul 22, 2010: I'm not sure what happened to my link in the body of my article, but I checked it today and it didn't work. Here it is just in case you are feeling ambitious and want to make your own reusable bag. Knitted Shopping Bag -- from recycled bags