Monday, May 9, 2011

Crochet Bags - Yarn Alternatives

by Kelly

The first bag I crocheted was made with two strands of yarn. It turned out okay, but I was disappointed by how stretchy it was. Of course, I could have made a lining for it, but that involves sewing. And since I don't have a sewing machine,  I would have to do the seams by hand. Ugh.

So I thought I would try out some alternatives to yarn. My next one was made with strips cut from an old set of sheets. I have since found out that there is a much easier way to make those fabric strips :

Strip-It Tool

This is from Herrshner's and it's called a Strip-it Tool. It's about ten dollars, and a lot easier than cutting all that fabric by hand.

That bag turned out fairly well, but the edges of the fabric strips frayed, giving the finished bag a fuzzy look. One way, I guess, to prevent this is to cut the strips thicker. Mine were only about an inch and a half wide.

Then I decided to try T-shirt yarn. Polka Dot Pineapple has by far the best tutorial on how to make your own T-shirt yarn. Using her method, you end up with one continuous length of yarn, which is way better than having a bunch of loose ends to weave in, or a ton of knots in your finished product. No matter how you choose to make it, though, that part is kind of a pain. And you need four or more t-shirts to make a good sized bag, so unless all your shirts are the same color, your bag is going to have stripes.

T-shirt yarn actually makes an awesome tote bag. If you've ever seen cotton piping, which is used in upholstery, that's almost exactly what this yarn is like, except that it's lighter. It's also easy to knit or crochet with, provided you've got the right size needles or hook. I used size 10 knitting needles and a J hook.

The finished bag is sturdy, not stretchy, and  doesn't have the fuzzy look of the fabric strip bag. It's also machine washable, which is nice, although it takes a long time to dry. That's really the only problem I see - this baby soaks up water like a sponge.

The fabric bag is on the left, the T-shirt yarn bag on the right.

Next I think I'll try a beach bag, probably made with twine. Sounds weird, right? But I've seen hemp yarn, nylon cord, and jute twine used to make beach bags. I've also seen a bag made of Raffia ribbon, but I'm just not sure about that. I keep wondering what happens to Raffia when it gets wet. Does the color run? Would the bag itself dissolve? Not exactly what I'm looking for in a beach bag.

I keep wondering what all those woven straw beach bags are made out of. Anyone have a clue?

1 comment:

  1. When we are in the Caribbean they have Straw Markets - and I think that's what those beach bags and sunhats are made of. Straw is somewhat impervious to water, so it probably works. Now how you get a continuous strand of straw to work with, I don't know.


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