August 02, 2008

Wicked Easy Produce Bag

Like the idea of making produce bags to reduce your plastic bag consumption, but are new to crochet? Don't enjoy or know how to crochet in the round? Well this bag couldn't be easier. Hence the name "Wicked Easy Produce Bag". It is just a rectangle folded in half and stitched together.

Here's mine -->

To make: I used size 10 thread and a size E hook. This makes the stitches loose, and therefore stretchy.

Crochet a chain about 16-17 inches long.
Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook. *Ch 1, sk next ch, dc in next ch* across. Ch 4 and turn.
Row 2 and beyond: Dc in first dc, *ch1, dc in next dc* across. Ch 4 and turn.

Repeat until rectangle measures about 10 inches high. On last row do not ch 4, but fold rectangle and sc the sides together, down the side and across the bottom, putting 2 sc in the spaces between stitches, 1 sc in the stitches and 5 sc in the corner. Fasten off, weave in the tail and you are almost done! Now cut a 20 inch piece of cotton or acrylic yarn and weave it through the dc at the top. Knot the ends for a drawstring. If you want a very strong drawstring you can make a chain or an i-cord of thread or yarn.

I'm working on another of these bags, this one is a slight variation. I'll post pics of it later.

First produce bag

I've been using reusable bags at the grocery store for some time now. I even have ones from both Walmart and Target now. But one thing that bothered me was that since I buy a lot of fresh produce, at least in the summer and fall, was that I was using several plastic bags each time I went grocery shopping. One for the apples. Another for some pears. Another for the onions. One more for peppers and yet still one more for green beans. I might use 4 or 5 plastic bags on a typical weekly grocery trip. That didn't sit well with me, so though I'd never used thread (My fellow crocheters may want to smite me for saying so, but I think doilies are pretty but pointless and I doubt I'd ever use one) I decided to try my hand at making a small drawstring bag that would be reusable and washable.

I used size 3 thread, which is good to start with if you haven't used thread before. It's not much smaller than baby weight yarn. I used a size F hook and Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet. I started off making a basic circle. Most crocheters know how to do this, especially if they've made hats! You make a small chain and join it to make a circle, then make dc inside the circle.

Ch 4, join to make ring.
Rd 1 - 12 dc in ring.
Rd 2: 2 dc in each dc around (24 dc).
Rd 3: 2 dc, 1 dc - Repeat 12 x. Total 36 dc.
Rd 4: 2 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc - Repeat 12 x. Total 48 dc.

You get the idea right? For each additional round, you add another dc, which increases it by 12 each time.

I did that until I had 5 solid rounds, and then made 2 more skipping some of the dc and putting ch in their places to make some holes. Starting with Rd 8, I started making the mesh. To make mesh is pretty easy. You just ch5 and then sc. On the first round of mesh, I sc'ed on every 5th space, aproximately. This made 21 loops of ch 5. Here is the trick: On the last (the 21st) "loop", instead of ch 5 and sc, ch 3 and then make a dc in the same space you started the first "loop". This puts you in the middle of the "loop". Continue making ch5 loops, sc in each loop around. Do the dc trick on each round. I made 25 rounds of mesh for this bag which makes it quite long--even the largest ears of corn or longest cucumbers fit in this bag! It stretches quite a lot.