Do It Yourself: Make a Better Bag

When senior Hillary Lowenberg was assigned an art project for her Media Lit-eracy and the Environment class, she turned to the trash for her inspiration. Drawing on an idea from a recycled crafts Web site, Lowenberg spent six to eight hours preparing her creation: a crocheted shoulder bag, made out of scraps from land-fill-destined plastic bags. “You can use different bags to make different patterns and colors,” suggests Lowenberg, “and experiment with differ-ent thicknesses depending on how much you want it to hold.” Instead of making the choice between paper or plas-tic the next time you’re in the check-out line, you can choose to reuse by bringing your own recycled bag with you. “Anyone can do this,” Lowenberg emphasized. See below to learn how.Draw the yarn through the loop. This will create an-other loop around the hook – a stitch. Make about four stitches.To do a chain stitch, put the hook through the slip knot. Wrap the yarn over the hook from back to front between the hook end and the knot.A couple of inches away from the end of your yarn, make a slip knot – a loose knot with a loop just large enough for your crochet hook. This is the start-ing point for a basic chain stitch.Next, return to the very first stitch on your hook. Continue chain stitching from here, this time looping the yarn through the original stitches. Once you’ve gone through these, begin to double-up stitches so that you have two stitches per loop.First, to create the “yarn,” cut plastic bags into strips about two inches wide. Tie these segments together at the ends as needed, to create the equivalent of a long strand of yarn.This will create a circular shape – the round base of the bag. Continue alter-nating single and double stitches until you reach the desired size for the base. At that point, return to one stitch per loop, to build up the sides of the bag. Continue un-til you’ve reached the desired size. To hide the knots on your yarn, pull them through to the inside of the bag.For straps, braid together unused strips of yarn. The more strips you use, the thicker – and stronger – the straps will be.Attach them to a stitch on the rim of the bag with a reliable knot.