The leaves are falling fast, there’s a chill in the air, and eggnog- flavored things are making an appearance on store shelves. Fall is almost over, y’all! At least according to the outdoors and Wal-Mart. But I’m gonna hold on to it as long as I can! On my to-do list are: making my own pumpkin puree, decorating the trailer, and finding a good way to eat patty pan squash. Lots to do! I have managed to check one thing off the list, though, and it was knitting up this awesome reusable produce bag from old t-shirts while entertaining myself by watching The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends on Youtube. Yep. That last item was on the list. You got here just in time!
Do you remember that show that used to be on PBS? If you want the first-time experience or a trip down memory lane, click here for the full episode! (You’re welcome 🙂 ). Man, these never get old, but I can tell I have juuuuuust a little because I no longer see Mr. Macgregor as the enemy.
Don’t get me wrong. I will always love talking animals with English accents and Victorian clothes. However, my adult self cannot help but also admire John Macgregor’s garden. My failed attempt at growing peppers, tomatoes, and herbs on my kitchen table has no doubt made me more sympathetic to his plight of dealing with “wee pests”, even though mine were only insects. While I don’t think I could ever put the likes of precious little Peter Rabbit in a pie, I now understand that Mr. Macgregor was just protecting his primary food source. So really, nobody is the bad guy. Everybody is just trying to eat. See, told you I’m getting old…haha 😉
Unlike Mr. Macgregor, I don’t have such a green thumb, and also unlike Peter Rabbit my conscious won’t allow me to burgle vegetables from the nearest family’s garden. Alas, I must get all of my weirdly shaped squash varieties from the grocery store this fall. With all these veggies coming home with me, it would be easy to accumulate a lot of bags…so I knitted a couple reusable ones from old t-shirts. I am not the type who shuns all plastic or recycles like crazy, but I know that each time I visit the store I get a ton of vegetables and at least 6 of those flimsy produce bags which aren’t great for the environment and are a pain to pull open. Now I can put all my fresh goods into one produce bag and reduce the demand for the plastic version…or at least reduce the number that get stashed under my kitchen sink.
Some homemade produce bags I’ve seen require a pattern and some knitting or crocheting know-how. I simply use my 9.4-inch Knifty Knitter loom, which involves a very easy and fast technique called the e-wrap stitch. There is no counting rows or stitches involved. You simply wrap the pegs, pull the bottom loop over the top loop, and keep repeating until you get the length of bag you want. Easy, right?
If you’re on the fence about purchasing a circular loom set, let me just tell you that my looms are one of the best and most used gifts I’ve ever gotten. Picture just about anything you’ve ever seen knitted, and that’s what you can make on these looms. I didn’t know that when I first got mine. Let’s just say everybody got hats that year for Christmas. 😉 Looms are the kind of crafting tool that allow beginners to turn out really nice projects with only a little knowledge while also allowing lots of room for growth for the seasoned knitter. From the bottom of my heart, I think you will love them if you decide to buy a set.
So, does this make you excited enough to join me beneath the buckeye tree? If so, grab your craft box and meet me there! Then we can both run off to Mr. Macgregor’s gar…er..the grocery store to fill our produce bags with goodies. 😉
- 2 balls of t-shirt yarn (made from 2 different-colored, large cotton t-shirts– I call it tarn. There’s a good link explaining how to make it here. Also make sure you save the pieces you cut off. We are going to use some of them!)
- 2 large buttons
- medium sized crochet hook
- 9 inch Knifty knitter round loom (get a set of looms here!)
- loom pick
- pair of scissors
How to make it:
- Begin by anchoring your “tarn” around the horizontal anchor peg sticking out from your loom. Then, in a clockwise fashion, wrap the tarn around each vertical peg LOOSELY, but not too loosely. Tarn is a different animal, so you might have to trial and error this to begin with.
- When you return to your original “wrap site”, start wrapping at the top level around the same pegs a second time.
- Once you’ve wrapped the last peg , use your loom tool to pull the bottom loop up…
… and over the top loop and over the top of the peg. Repeat this process for all the rest of the pegs so that you only have one loop around each peg once again. Then wrap’em up, and repeat till you run out of tarn.
- To connect your next strand of different-colored tarn, simply tie it onto the end of the tarn you’ve already knitted.
- Then knit in the very same way you did before till you reach the length you want your veggie bag to be. (Mine is about 37 rows long.)
- It’s really starting to take shape now, isn’t it? Cut loose from your tarn roll, leaving about an 8 inch tail connected to your bag-to-be. Use your crochet hook to pull the tail through the loop as you remove each one from the loom.
- You are making a drawstring to finish your bag.
- When you’re finished, push all the loops together as tight as they’ll go. You will still probably have a small but gaping hole here. We can’t have that. Might lose a radish. Use the tail to tie up the hole, weaving the tail in and out of the bag around it. In the picture, I weaved odd points out and even points in. Pull it tight. Tie off your work on the inside of the bag.
- To make the bag’s handles, find the hems that you cut off the bottom of your t-shirts when you made your tarn. Cut smallish holes down the length of one of the hems and weave the other hem through so that you have a dashed-line-looking handle.
- Sew one button at each end of your handle, about 2 inches up. Push the buttons through “natural holes” on opposite sides of your bag.
- Now fill it up, and enjoy not coming home with tons of plastic bags!
*I would think you could throw these in the washing machine and just air dry them afterwards. If you are nervous about this, hand wash your creation. I haven’t had to wash mine yet, so I’m just making an educated guess here. 🙂 Let me know how yours holds up if you try it!