Plarn Shopping Bag

This nifty shopping bag is crocheted from old plastic bags.  Its takes a little while to cut up old bags and make the yarn, but the bag itself works up quickly and easily.

You will need:

1.  90-100 old grocery bags  (See if your friends have some!)

2.  Scissors

3.  A size J crochet hook

A shopping bag crocheted from other old bags
A grocery bag with handles and bottom cut off

To  make the yarn:

1. Lay a bag out on a flat surface and smooth it out.  Cut off the handles and the bottom.  (Set these aside- you can recycle them.) If you are careful, you can layer two or three bags on top of each other to speed up the process.

Cutting a grocery bag into strips 2.  Cut the bag into strips about 1 inch wide.  The strips don't have to be exact. 
Lopping the strips togther 3.  To attach the strips together, loop one through the other.  Take the end of the one you just looped and tuck it through its other end.  Pull gently until the "knot" tightens.
The tightened loops
Continue looping strips together until you have a large ball of yarn.  We would cut and loop about ten bags at a time, crochet unitl we were almost out of yarn, and then cut and loop a few more bags.
The bottom of the crocheted bag

To crochet the bag:

You will make the bottom first.

Chain 33. 

Row 1.  Double crochet into the third chain from the hook and then into each chain across.  Chain 3.  Turn.

Rows 2-6.  Double crochet into each stitch across.  Chain 3.  Turn


Starting to make the sides of the bag

You will make the sides next.

Row 7.  Double crochet into each stitch across.  Instead of turning continue to work double crochets down the side of the bag.  Work 2 double crochets for each stitch on the side.  Then work a double crochet  into each stitch along the bottom.  Continue up the other side, working two double crochets into each stitch on the side.  Join with a slip stitch to the first double crochet.

(You should have 84 stitches going around.)


Rows 8-25.  Chain three.  Double crochet into each stitch around.  Join.

(The sides will look flat for several rows, but don't worry.  They will quickly begin to curl upward.)

Making the handles

Row 26 & Handles.  Chain three.  Work 10 double crochets. ** Chain 3.  Turn.  (You will now make the handle.) * Double crochet 5.  Chain 3.  Turn.  Repeat from * 15 times. 

Count out ten stitches from the base of the handle.  Insert your hook into the eleventh stitch and into the first stitch on the end of the handle.  Work a single crochet to attach the end of the handle to the bag.  Work a single crochet in the next four stitches on the bag & handle, firmly attaching it into place.**

Chain 1.  Double crochet into the next  22 stitches.  Repeat from ** to **, make the handle on the other side of the bag. 

Chain 1.  Double crochet to finish the rest of the round and join with a slip stitch.

Detach yarn and finish off.  If you like a slouchy look, you can consider the bag finished.  If you like a trimmed look, continue to the next step.

Working the trim

To add the trim:

Attatch your yarn on any one of the bottom corners of the bag.  Chain on.  Slide your hook under the double crochet in the first row of the side.  Draw your yarn up and work a single crochet.  Continue this all the way around the bottom.

Adding the trim

Now work the trim on the sides.  You are on a corner. ^ Start to work the trim up the side.  Make two single crochets into each double crochet, working your way up from the bottom to the top corner.  These double crochets are slightly off centered, so check your trim frequently to make sure it is forming a straight line. 
Adding the side trim

When you get to the top, slip stitch in each stitch across the side of the bag.  When you reach the corner on the other side, chain one and work a row of single crochet down that side.  Finish off.^

Attach your yarn onto a corner on the other side of the bag. Chain one. Repeat from ^ to ^  to make the trim on this side.  Finish off.

Congratulations!  Your bag is finished!

Shoppers use millions of plastic bags each year.  Some are recycled but many are simply thrown away.  The waste and environmental impact are staggering.  Some estimates hold that 12 million barrels of oil are used to make these bags, which then take dozens, even hundreds, of years to disentegrate into landfills.  Obviously, reusable bags are a wonderful and easy way to prevent this massive waste.  They are practical, too.  You can fit more groceries into a single bag and they are much sturdier.  No more split bags and spilled groceries!  Just make sure you clean yours regularly to prevent bacteria growth.


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