I enjoyed reading Marjorie Bligh’s article in GR 185 about using plastic bags to make a garden hat. When some bags accumulated in my cupboard, I decided to test the theory. After successfully crocheting an 8-row granny square followed by 13 similar squares, I sewed them together and crocheted two handles to form a handbag.
How I made the handbags slowly evolved. Google brought up a number of cutting techniques and I adapted one of these for my use. It didn't take me long to change from crocheting and sewing together four small squares for the front and back panels to making larger 16 row squares. When family members wanted solid handles, I was relieved to find some at my local Spotlight store.
It’s great fun playing with coloured plastic bags. My family and friends have been very helpful in passing through coloured bags they receive, with two beige bags matching perfectly with others put aside waiting for companions. Combining pink, purple, blue and green bags is always a popular choice as they are available in local stores.
It helps to take a little care when acquiring and cutting the plastic bags. Avoid any bags with the word ‘degradable’ printed on them as it is likely the handbags will do just that over time. While the large bags from department stores might look appealing with their pretty colours, these bags are too thick for crocheting. The smaller, softer bags from greengrocers and supermarkets are perfect for the job. Depending on the thickness of the plastic, you might need to cut wider strips to produce a more robust handbag.
This has become a satisfying pastime. After two years I am still making these handbags, spending only an hour or two on them most evenings. It is easy to apply some stitches to a square while watching TV or on the phone to family or friends. Cutting the plastic strips might take some time but is worth the effort, particularly when I give my latest creation to someone close to me.
Feel free to check out my first blog post about these handbags along with a link to the instructions at http://simplifyingyourlife.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/ultimate-plastic-bag.html