Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Knitting with Plastic Bags - the Final Product

As you might have read in my previous posts about plastic bags, I took on a mission to knit a mat for the homeless out of plastic bags.  Clearly I didn't think of how many hours it would take me to create a 3 foot by 6 foot piece of knitted plastic fabric, but it definitely took me longer than I thought.  I must have knitted for a good 12 or 13 hours and only got one foot done.  Not to mention how difficult it was to knit something so long - the stitches were truly forced onto my needles not leaving an inch to spare.

In hind sight I really should have woven this material or crocheted (if I knew how) because of how time consuming it is.  None the less the product is finished... well not so much finished as re-purposed. In the end I managed to get three feet across and two and a half feet down - before I had to leave to go off to school.  Unfortunately I couldn't continue knitting at school since there really isn't much of a problem with homelessness there as there is here in California.

So, instead of chucking all of my hard work in the bin, I decided to turn it into a bag.  When I see homeless people around here it seems they are always looking for bags to carry their supplies and belongings around - so to make it easier for them this works to keep their stuff dry and is also extremely durable and flexible.

I decided to take the rectangle and fold it up and weave in some of the plastic yarn I made to tie it shut at the bottom and on the side.  Then I needed something to carry it with so I created a long strap about 6 stitches wide so it is durable.

To test it out I went to the grocery store with it so that I didn't have to take even more plastic bags home.  Everyone who saw it couldn't take their eyes off of it - they even asked if they could buy one off of me.  I was a bit shocked to see how many people liked it since it's just made out of plastic bags.  The store clerks really appreciated that they could even pick out which bags were from their store.

I still fully intend to give this to a homeless person to use as they have a lot to deal with this winter season here in California.  Especially while they suffer through El Nino.  However, I am thinking that when  I return if people are still not using reusable grocery bags I might as well start making these bags for people. That way they get something cute, fun, and ethical for their shopping trips.

If you are interested in the details of the knitting process watch my tutorial video here:


  1. That is so nice Rachel. Plus the fact their possessions won't get wet! How nice and kind of you! You are a very thoughtful and giving young woman! Plastic is hard to work with, particularly if you have to twist it to get your needles in to the holes! I'm sue you had a great time being home for Christmas! Happy New Year!

  2. Thank you so much Nora! I found that plastic was much easier to knit than to crochet - my approach is much different than the other tutorials I have seen. I have had a great time being home, thank you very much happy new year to you as well!

  3. hello I was thinking about making a bag like this. but how much do u cast on and are u just doing the knitted stitch? and how many do u cast on for the handle? also I seen pieces of plastic on the sides what is that?


    1. Hello Krystal,

      Thank you so much for your interest. I was casting on until the sticks wouldn't let any further stitches on honestly. I have a feeling there were over 100 stitches. I was just doing the knitted stitch as I don't know much about kitting. For the handle I cast on about 6 stitches. On the sides I was just weaving the plastic thread with my fingers through the holes to "sew" it together. Although I knitted mine I suggest to others to crochet theirs as it is easier (I just didn't know how to at the time). If you want more information please watch the youtube video I attached to this blog post as it is more detailed. Good luck on your bag-bag!