Sunday 30 October 2011

Make a plarn shopper bag

A great way to give a second and enduring life to all those used (disposable) plastic bags that tend to pile up in the cupboard.

I used appx. 30 plastic bags for this bag, crochet needle 6mm. The size of needle that works will depend on how wide you cut the strips. I have figured out a way of cutting the plastic bags into one long uninterrupted strip.

collect enough plastic bags to make a bag, I used around 30, just regular shopping bags. If you want a nice fluent design you need to pay attention to the colors. Lay them out on a table or on the floor. Look at how you want your gradient / stripes to work, one bag makes between 2 and 3 stripes. Most of the bags are white from the inside, so that will wash the colors out. Put your bags in chronological order, which bag first etcetc. I.e. I decided to use my black bags first, so that the bottom of my bag wouldn't show dirt immediately.

check that all the bags are clean. If they are not wipe them off with a cloth, or maybe even wash them (by hand) and dry them. also check if all bags are in good condition. Some bags may be a bit decomposing, that won't work so nicely anymore, as the strip will then break all the time.

making the plarn. Now cut the strip, this is the most difficult part! First lay the plastic bag down flat on the table. Check the bottom of the bag, there is a sort of fold in the bag, cut that ply open up around the side is probably necessary, so that you really have the bag flat on the table. Then fold it double, and  again from the middle fold over one more time, it should not go all the way to the side leave around 3 cm free. do this twice if necessary.

Now cut the "roll". I used a scissor, the knife in the picture is just there to add weight. cut slits through the roll, but leave the side-space untouched (the 3 cm) I cut my slits with appx 2 cm in-between. If the plastic is thinner or softer you can make it wider, if you are working a thicker very solid bag, make it less.

Now roll-out the bag and cut loose and trash the handle-bit as well as the bottom-bit. Now we need to make the slits into one long strip. On one side of the bag, continue the slit all the way through, then the bag will look like this:

And now here follows the trick. Take hold of the side of the bag where the slits have not been cut through. Study it carefully, place an imaginary diagonal line between the end of one slit and the beginning of the next. You now need to cut from slit to slit, every time along this imaginary diagonal line. Be careful to not cut through some of the other strip by accident. Finish the strip by cutting a little diagonal cut out the border. Now you have turned one plastic bag into one long uninterrupted strip!

crocheting the bag. Crochet the bag like you would do with any other crochet work.

Mine is simply a chain of 25 stitches,
2nd round; 3 hf cr stch into first loop, then half cr.stch into each loop, 3 hf cr.stch into last loop, back again by half cr.stch into each loop.
3rd round; 2 hf cr stch into first loop, 1 hf cr stch, 2 hf cr stch, countinue to the other end and make the corner in the same way you did the first, and crochet all along the side.
4rd round; 2 hf cr stch into first loop, 3 hf. cr stch, 2 hf cr stch, continue to the other end and make the courner in the same way and finish the other side.
from here just continue in rounds.

Leave a space open of 9 stitches, crochet back and forwards 3 rows, cut the strip and start on the second half. upon finishing the second bit, re-establish the lost bit of the handle by looping 9 stitches in both holes. Continue in rounds again.

make a knob by crocheting a little roset, use a piece of elastic band to fasten to the knob.

Featured on Instructables on 24th of January 2012

Sunday 23 October 2011

New cool super-size pets from Cosima von Bonin

Cosima von Bonin had an exhibition in the Witte de With gallery in Rotterdam, not too long ago. I find her super-sized pets so cool. The exhibition is called Dolce Far Niente; the art of doing nothing, the series is called Lazy Susan. The animals and setting may be calling up notions of fatigue and inertia, sloth it was called in medieval times, a big sin. However honestly what intrigues me as a crafter is the carefully curated mix of fabric, the patchwork, texture, patterns and thread being used to form sketch-drawings, that gives it a feeling of craft-pop. It;s a much more color-ful mix than when I first saw her work at the Documenta in 2007. It has a great sense of humor and the blown-up proportions create a universe of wonderful fairytale, and in this one the animals are cute, like toys and even though they are so big, you just want to cuddle them. even the big octopus just calls for a hug.

At the end of my previous post of Cosima von Bonin, I have included a pattern on how to make a pet yourself; link
Cosima von Bonin @ Witte de With

Cosima von Bonin @ Witte de With
Cosima von Bonin @ Witte de With
Cosima von Bonin @ Witte de With

Wednesday 19 October 2011

reknit nr 5, cardigan nr 2

Here'a one of my newer re-knitting projects, well it's sort of last year, but I just didn't post about it yet. But maybe first a short recap about what re-knitting is. You take yarn that has already been used for something and then un-ravel it. You can i.e. buy a sweater at the salvation army or you can take some of your own old projects that are not "fresh"  anymore and then use the yarn for a new project. Sometimes I just get old sweaters from people because they think they are ugly and then I knit something new from it.

So I had this quite nice twin-set made from a beautiful linen yarn. I probably made it 20-25 years ago, wore it a lot. But I haven't been wearing it for the last 15-20 years. It has just been lying around in a drawer, couldn't throw it away, cause the yarn was too nice.

well so I unravelled it, even though it hurt a bit, it was a very difficult, intricate ajour pattern, and I turned it into a sort of plaid wrap-around extra long cardigan, knitted in a brioche-stitch with a turn to make it a bit tighter.

photography by Inge Noordijk

New cardigan, close-up of "natural" water-fall collar

new cardigan, showing how the linen-yarn and horizontal knitting makes it fall real heavy

new cardigan, laid out flat, you really see how the plaid-pattern is worked out.

old twin-set, sorry for bad picture quality

blouse of the old twin-set

close-up of the complicated ajour-pattern of the old blouse

Sunday 16 October 2011

New Amigurumi: Sandy's miniature

Because Sandy was leaving us, I decided to crochet a doll for her. When Sandy's son was born I crocheted the first robot-amigurumi (thx to Elisabeth and Craft magazine) so it seemed just right to make one for Sandy too.

She's wearing bright yellow pants, pink t-shirt with skull-print a hoodie with miniature space-invaders and of course tiger-striped adidas shoes. Just like Sandy does. Sabine made this picture, I really like the posture.

The hoodie was the most difficult part. As I wanted it to be really color-ful I made only one stripe each for each color, which means I had to change color each time.
also this time, I tried to use gradient-yarn for the eyes, in the end I think that worked quite well.

the skull on the t-shirt is a simple felt-cut one, after gluing it on with textile-glue (yes, that's a dirty finger that got stuck :-() I stiched it down. It just makes it look more finished and it sticks better.

Pants have a thin jeans-wear stitch along the side and fly. and real Adidas 3-stripes on the shoes. That was really tiny work. To make the zebra stripes you have to crochet-stitch one stitch in white, then one in black. In the end it works quite ok, but would have been even better, if I would also have made the stripes on the bottom-part of the shoes. But gosh, that would have been extremely complicated.

Here she's in the gift-pack just before we went to the party.

Saturday 15 October 2011

bigger-than-life-size doudou

If you can't have a real pet, why not make a life-size doudou and put in your living-room? Making and having a full size doudou sort of makes it ok for adults, doesn't it. It would also add an air of mystery and fairy-tale to your living-room.

Little deer photographed in Causeway Bay

These ones here are perhaps a little more advanced. They are made to be art-objects, but when I saw them, I wanted to take them right home. Look so real. It's the artist Cosima von Bonin, she incorporates a lot of animals like dogs and mushroom (also bigger-than-life-size) in her work. I guess she wants to tickle our affection for pets and maybe ask if other humans could really be replaced by animals?
Cosima von Bonin @ Documenta

Cosima von Bonin @ Documenta

Cosima von Bonin @ Documenta

Cosima von Bonin @ Documenta

And how about these, actual interior objects, made to put in your living-room.
Different technique; mosaique. such a pity you don't find dogs like this in the DIY, they seem to only be doing dwarfs.
Milan Designweek 2008

Milan Designweek 2008

And here's the pattern to make one yourself, just blow up the size!
Libelle Magazine 1951

Have fun!

Tuesday 4 October 2011

How to knit like an icelandic man

Take a look at this hilarious video where an Icelandic man is promoting knitting and crocheting for men. His understated manner makes me think about the office, as if it was a mockumentary, but I think it's dead serious. Brilliant of Iceland to promote itself this way. and great that gender-roles get challenged this way, the guy really knows what he's doing, he can actually stitch!

How to knit like an Icelandic man from Iceland on Vimeo.