Friday, November 6, 2009

Organizing? Oops

I promised in my last post that I would organize my craft supplies, then post pictures. Sadly, I haven't gotten far. I filled an old bookcase with various craft supplies: various colors of plastic bags, squares and strips cut from worn-out clothing, yarn unraveled from old sweaters, etc.--all neatly organized into see-through storage boxes; and I hung a few larger pieces of material from skirt hangers in my closet. But that took care of only a third or fourth of my supplies, and I currently don't have a good place to arrange the rest (by "good" I mean accessible).

So I've put my organizing project on hold for now. At the end of November, I'll be switching to a different bedroom, one with two large closets; one will be my designated "craft closet." I can't wait!

Meanwhile, I decided to finish a year-old unfinished project. I cut some more plarn and have nearly finished off this large plarn tote. Obviously, it's still missing its handles, and its lining, but here's what I have so far:

However, I'm not happy with it yet. Look at the sides of the bag--see how wavy they are? (It looks worse in real life.) Being squished into a box for a year had warped this bag a bit. Plus, I guess I crochet a bit more tightly now than I did a year ago, so as I started to work on it again, the sides began to pull in--until I realized what was happening and loosened up a bit, at which point, of course, they started to bulge out.

It's normal for a plarn bag to not be perfectly smooth and even when it's first completed. Usually I am able to manually reshape a bag with my hands; then to get it just right, I pack it smoothly with something heavy like rolled-up pairs of jeans, and hang it from a doorknob for a few days. As it hangs, the stitches sort of "settle in" to one another and it smooths out (I do this before lining the bag).

But this one is a bit more uneven than usual, so I'll have to use more drastic measures. I'd like to soften it up a bit with a hot hair dryer before my usual "blocking" process, but I must confess that I don't own a hair dryer. :) I'll have to borrow one.

Ultimately, this bag would smooth out with regular use. My plarn bags always soften up and become smoother and more supple with use. This one has been going strong for close to two years now, and it looks great, except that the bottom has a couple of slightly frayed spots (which will happen when you routinely ask your two-year old to carry your purse from car to house, and he does so by dragging it along the sidewalk). But...I'll be selling this bag, not using it, so I need to get it properly shaped some other way.


Brenda said...

I love this bag. I am just beginning making plarn bags. I would LOVE to make this bag, will you share your pattern?

Rose said...

Oh, I'm afraid I don't really have a pattern; I just make things up as I go along. :) But I'd be happy to share this link with you--this is the site that first got me excited about crocheting with plastic bags. The pattern they provide here was my starting point.

SEWphisticate said...

I tried that link and it didn't work :-( ... i sure would love to see what got you started as your work is so far above the average plarn bags as to not even be in the same catagory!

Rose said...

Wow, I don't know what happened to that site! Just the other day I googled "crochet with plastic bags" and it was the second link that came up; today it doesn't come up at all. Maybe it's been taken down, which would be a shame--the bags pictured there were lovely. :(

I'll poke around and see if I can find another site as useful. I sure wish I had saved that PDF to my computer while it was still available.

Brenda said...

Can you give a description of the larger stitch that you use? Is it double crochet or half double crochet?

Rose said...

Brenda, that's actually a variation of the spike stitch. If you google "spike stitch" you'll probably find someone who can explain it better than I can. :)

Good news--that PDF that I referred to before is still available--apparently you just need the http:// to make it work. So here's the correct link: