Recycled Jeans Bag

This is my first attempt at recycling an old pair of jeans into a bag. I remember a couple of friends from school used to make bags or skirts by cutting off the legs of old jeans. But when I was a teenager I never had the luxury of having an old pair of jeans to cut up, so have been wanting to try this now I can!

For skirts they would sew a large square of material to the bottom after the legs were removed, and kept using the top of the jeans, leaving the buttons as they are. I can’t remember if they would line their bags, but I gave it a go here. I haven’t lined anything before and I could have done it better, that’s for sure! I didn’t match the width of the lining with the width of the jean waist so had to gather some lining to make it fit. The hardest part was sewing the lining to the jeans and then threading the cord through the lip I made in the lining. If I was going to do this again, I’d make the lining fit before sewing it, and I’d make the lip for the cord wider.

Perhaps this bag would be better if I made a handle out of the legs and sewed it up the sides …

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Restoring an Old Dusty Cane Basket.

I’ve had this cane basket for ages, I really liked it so have hung unto it. It would make a great bread basket when serving bread rolls for guests, if it was clean!

This was in such bad shape I was thinking I would have to chuck it, but I didn’t because I have inherited that ‘I can’t throw stuff away’ thing from my mum! So I picked it up this morning and had a go at weaving back in the loose cane threads and decided to look up how to clean cane on the internet.

I found a site that explained how to clean cane baskets, which also had other information about wicker. I found out from there that I shouldn’t submerge my cane in water. Good thing I read that first, as I was considering it! You clean the dust off the cane with a brush, like a toothbrush, which is what I used. This site also suggested using linseed oil to polish it up. Now, I know that stuff is expensive and wondered if I could just use olive oil. I have heaps of that as I buy it  in lots of 4L when it’s $5 per L. So I did a google search and found something about using olive oil to polish wood furniture. So I used the recipe, figuring what’s the worst that could happen? I could ruin the cane and throw out something I was going to throw out anyway.

Instead of vinegar, I choose the lemon juice option as I thought that would smell better. I think it does smell nice now, a little like new cane from the shops, which makes me wonder if they use something similar. I put 3 parts olive oil to one part lemon juice in a recycled garlic jar and shook it up. Using the toothbrush, I rubbed a little of the mixture to clean and polish the cane. I then left the basket in the sun to dry. Since then I’ve used it as a bread basket when David made up a beautiful batch of sweet bread rolls.

I made a label for the jar in case I needed to use it again soon, and stuck it on with some wood glue. It was my first excuse to use the new pinking shears I invested in yesterday. They were so expensive, but I was assured it was an excellent brand so I’m going to really look after them so they last me forever!

Junkmade Drop Spindle for Plarn

The plarn made from a freezer bag was tricky to crochet yesterday because it was not spun. What I needed was a drop spindle! I had a vague memory of a spinner that involved an apple somehow which I was shown when I was a child at school. I also remember being taken on an excursion to a retired school teacher’s house who had a big proper loom which she would use a shuttle with to weave cloth. That earliest of memories inspired me long ago with a dream of making my own things.

But how to make this apple spinner? I couldn’t find out how to make it on the net, but I did find out how to make drop spindles from all sorts of things like CDs and cardboard, and some I’m sure a lot more elaborate than they needed to be. I didn’t see the point in buying all those materials new to make something so simple. I was off to Lincraft today and I thought to see if they had any ready made, as they might be better balanced. If they didn’t or it was too expensive, I’d just get some hooks and some dowel to make my own simple one. Unfortunately, they had niether spindles nor the materials to make one, although they did have everything else on my wish list.

I was keen to  crochet some more freezer bag plarn, but it really did need to be spun. Now I had researched the principles of drop spinning, I scouted through my useful box until I found some materials that might work. This is my first attempt at making a drop spindle which I’ve used to make plarn from one freezer bag.

I used a long stick with a hole in the end. This one is an old TV antenna, and I have it because I liked how it’s length can be decreased or increased like a telescope. I thought to use it in my teaching, but I never ended up really using it there, I have little idea why I’ve hung onto it for so long. I guess today must be the reason! I used one paper fastener pushed through the hole then wound around like a hook. I then wieghted it down with a big ball of old yellow tac.

This drop spindle was easy for me to work, although I don’t remember using a drop spindle to spin yarn before, after a moment it seemed almost instinctual. You are simply twisting the yarn, I always spun the one way going clockwise so the yarn wouldn’t unravel. When one piece of plastic was spun, I’d unhook it, wind up the excess plarn, hook it back up. I then put the base of the spindle between my toes while I added another piece of plastic to the previous plastic then spun that. It only took a moment to spin a freezer bag into plarn. This is a good youtube video on a homemade drop spindle.

So, what can I make with this spun plarn? i just had a quick go at starting a headband using a stitch I did for a belt a while ago, but I think I got it wrong. I didn’t reread it, maybe I should have!

Wonky and Blue

<<< While I was surfing the net for inspiration I stumbled upon this seemingly simple small heart pattern. I had success with the pattern from Crochetspot, so thought I should give this one a go, too! It’s a little wonky I know, but I think my next one will be less so.  I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but who knows, it might end up as a bag handle end or something, lol.

>>> I used the same wool as I did yesterday when I whipped up a quick project at the end of the day. I got the idea to make a scraptrap from Granny Judith’s website. But I figured I could use it as a pin cushion when it was done, instead of a child’s toy. I didn’t use any pattern, I just made it up as I went along, so like my blue heart, its a little wonky! But for a pin cushion, I have a feeling that’s going be quite ok (take That, perfectionist tendancy!) And at the end of the day, I had a heap of cotton and scraps to go in it already. It was an excellent way to finish up the day, with a quick tidy up!

<<< While I’m waiting to go to the doctor, I’m keeping myself busy so I whipped up this one in a few minutes. I really liked this photo of a ten petal flower doily. I just looked at the picture and tried to copy it. My flower only has seven petals because I didn’t count the dc in the 1st round. I just … gave it a whirl!!

Green Plarn Spiral Scrubbie

This spiral scrubbie is green in more ways than one! This pattern by Judith Prindle can be found at Crochet Patterns Only but because I can’t read crochet patterns well, I watched a utube video by Donna from Naztazia. Donna was excruciatingly painful for me to listen to, but at least I worked out the pattern thanks to her. The materials needed are 4 plastic shopping bags (I used green coloured ones), a pair of scissors, a very large sewing needle and a mid-size crochet hook.

I don’t know if this dish scrubber was worth the effort to be honest, because now I have sore wrists and a blister from working with the thick plastic all afternoon. Dish scrubbers usually only cost a dollar or two from the supermarket. One good thing though is, by making my own dish scrubber from recycled material, I’m doing my bit to disrupt the imbalance in our consumer society. Believe it or not, we actually don’t Have to buy absolutely everything from the capitalists! Another good thing is the simple satisfaction of making something myself that is actually of practical use.

The first step is to make some plarn. I do it the way Rachel Choi taught me from Crochetspot. I only cut up one bag at a time so I don’t have too much left over, and it also gave my hands a break from working with the stiff plarn.


1. I then made a rhombus shape by adding a stitch at one side and dropping one at the other, this is with single crochet.New rows are added in the back loop to give the ridges.

2. Then you sew up the edges of the rhombus to make a tube. Sewing it in a rhombus shape will give it the ridges for scrubbing and the spiral effect at the end.

3. Then thread the plarn through the large sewing needle. Sew in and out along the top of the tube and pull tight. As its made out of plastic, the plarn had a lot of stretch in it so I had to pull little by little to bring it in. Do the same to the other lip of the tube using the other end of the plarn.

4. Pull one end of plarn through the centre so you can tie both pieces together to finish it off.

Special thanks to these ladies for free patterns and demonstrations
Rachel Choi @ Crochetspot
Judith Prindle @ Crochet Patterns Only
Donna Wolfe @ Naztazia

What can I make with Plarn?

Plarn is yarn made from plastic shopping bags. I first saw the pattern on how to make it at Crochetspot, but there are heaps of other sites on plarn on the internet. You can see some examples of the types of things people make with plarn to sell on Etsy, a UK site for handcrafters to sell their wares.

The idea to try rag rug making came to me yesterday because some small rugs I have in the kitchen are getting pretty old. But when I inspected my megre collection of material scraps, I didn’t feel inclined to rip it all up into 1 inch strips to make a rag rug, in case it didn’t work out and I wasted it all. But one thing I do have a lot of is pastic bags, I even gave a bunch to my sister-in-law last month, as well as throwing away another bunch before Christmas, as I just had too much rubbish in my house. For some rag rugs, you simply crochet 1 inch strips of cloth into a flat round. So I gave making this plarn thing a go, planning to try a round. I figured the worst that could happen was it wouldn’t work and I would just throw the plastic away.

The first thing I tried was just making a simple round using my biggest crochet hook and the same coloured bags. The colour I have most of is this horrid army green colour, it makes me feel like I’m in the military! This first round I tried used the plastic from 10 shopping bags. I added one row of a paler green colour, just to try. I really do not know what will become of this object, as it was just a trial.

As I was surfing the net last night for ideas on what to make with plarn, I saw a foto of what I think was a doily made from a freezer bag. I haven’t got a lot of practice making doilies, I find them a bit impractical, although I do have a few special ones my great-grandmother made. I was about to throw away a freezer bag after dinner when I thought I might try making a small flower. This is made with the very smallest of my crochet hooks, a 1.25mm, and using the pastic from just one freezer bag. The diametre is 5.5cm. Again, I have no idea what practical use this object could have, it was just a trial.

From what I’ve been able to see from surfing the net, most objects made of plarn are shopping bags and handbags. These take 50 to 100 plastic shopping bags to make. As I only have about 50 here, if I’m going to use them, I need to think about what practical objects for my home I can make with that amount of plarn. I’ve already sorted it into colours, although I don’t think I have enough of the nicer colours to make one thing. Maybe I can make something like drink coasters, flower hairpins or a shower puff. Hmmm, wonder if I’ll ever need an Easter Egg Basket!

Watch this space!

edit: What else to do with a plarn small flower doily but to hang it beside other useless danglies in the window?

Crochet Mobile Cover

These things could look really daggy, but this one is a lot nicer than my very old, falling apart horrid black thing I used to keep my fone in!

The colour of wool to use is important, this one is beautifully soft and pretty with shiny fibres through it. I didn’t follow a pattern, just the sight of my old mobile cover was enough to inspire me. This was really simple to do as I made it up as I went along and finished in less than an hour and a half. If I made another one, I’m sure I would be a lot quicker!

1. Crochet a chain as wide as the mobile fone.
2. Add rows of double crochet until you have a length that is twice that of the fone, sometimes add extra stitches as you go to make the  tapared shape.
3. Fold the piece lengthways in half and slip stitch down the side.
4. Contine a row of slip stitch along the bottom for decoration and shape.
5. Slip stitch back up the other side.
6. Chain as long as the opening is round plus some for extra tie.
7. Cut the wool, leaving a little for the final stitch.
8. Hand weave the chain in and out of the double crochets in the top row.
9. When the chain comes full circle, use the little bit of wool to slip stitch into the beginning of the chain and tie tightly.

Its Time To Go …. Old Mobile Cover!!

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