Archive for the ‘general crochet info’ Category

Next meeting for milkbag crocheters — Nov. 11

The next meeting for people who want to learn how to crochet milkbags — or just come and be with other like-minded crocheters 🙂 — will be on Nov. 11, from 1 to 3pm, at the Woodroffe/Strandherd Metro store (the store will be closed until 12:30, to observe Remembrance Day). We meet in the small cafe, tucked in behind the Take Out Food counter; follow the signs.

While it’s always nice to have your own (sharp) pair of scissors and crochet hook (size 8 or 9mm — this link shows comparisons of UK/Canadian, US, and metric sizing),  we will have these on hand, to get you started. And, of course, we have plenty of milkbags, already sorted by colour. If you do have milkbags, bring them for the Metro’s plastic bag recycle bin — no need for any milkbags to ever go into the regular garbage!

We have samples of sitting mats (roughly 2 x 2 ft), sleeping mats (3 x 5-6 ft for adults, 3 x 4 ft for children), and shoulder bags, so you can choose what you’d like to undertake.

Meetings are the 2nd Monday of every month. The meeting after this will be Dec. 9.

Come out and see the surprising things that a milkbag can be turned into!


… it’s been ages since …

It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything (mid-April!) and so much has been going on since then … I’ll try to do some catch-up …

  • The school milkbag club finished the year with a grand total of 19 completed mats — and 7 or 8 that are over half finished! Several students made more than one — and one had 4 mats to her credit! In all, we had a core group of almost 20 students. Congratulations to everyone who came out, for only a few months to attending all year long. The club will continue for the intermediates (gr7/8) and a high school version will also start up this fall.
17 mats in one year!

17 of the 19 mats made this year!

  • Two of the 19 club mats had already been taken down to Haiti in late April by Mr Des Garvey, one of the directors of Nepean Outreach to the World (NOW). The remaining 17 were just recently packed up, along with a sleeping mat and two shoulder bags, to become part of a shipment of clothing and such that Mr Garvey is organising for some time in Sept.
  • Again with schools: I did monthly pick-ups of milkbags collected by one of the local elementary schools. From October 2012 till June 2013, a grand total of 9,984 milkbags! The teacher who introduced collecting for the milkbag project is returning this fall. We’re hopeful that a milkbag club can be started up there — perhaps even get some of the experienced high schoolers to come in and mentor them!
  • We’re also looking into the possibility of having monthly drop-ins at a local grocery store, to promote the crocheting of milkbags: there are still far more bags than people to crochet them. More when details become available (this would be in Barrhaven).

And that’s about it — the highlights of the past several months!

Crocheting with plastic is everywhere!

Last entry, I wrote that I’d been poking around at sites about recycling plastic. Here’s one of the links I found. I think there are dozens of such sources — if you find some really good ones, pass them along!

Then, I found this link about women in a town in Gambie, who crochet plastic into small purses and other items — they do it to try and tackle the plastic bag garbage everywhere on the landscape. I’ve since sent this to someone in Uganda, and to people involved with volunteer activities in Haiti and Nigeria. i think everyone, everywhere, can find something useful to make, if they only had crochet hooks and scissors!

And if you do a google search on these words — youtube crochet plastic bags — you end up with something like 295,000 links to both videos and other web pages! Just follow a few and see what people are doing and where. It’s pretty darn amazing.

So,we’re not crazy to be wielding crochet hooks and cutting up plastic. There’s a whole community out there doing the same as us!

The school milkbag club

I haven’t written about the school milkbag club in quite some time.

A solid core group of 12-15 students comes twice a week, during second recess (many more began last October, but the overall attrition has been low). The students fetch the bin with all their kit bags, the box with supplies, and settle down to crochet within 5 minutes … well, most of them 🙂 Their work this year has been to crochet sitting mats (roughly 2 ft square), for which they prepare their own strips; their hooks are either purchased or borrowed from the school supply. Their skill level has increased noticeably and their continued enthusiasm for this project is a source of quiet pride for me. So far, we have seen 11 mats completed, with more than one from several students! A photo is taken of each student, holding their finished mat — it’s a very proud moment for both student and me.

We have now begun working on a special `club project’: a purple-only sitting mat which still be made entirely by the students, each one participating in the whole process, from cutting to crocheting. They will make the base chain, learn how to crochet back along the chain for the first row, and then carry on till it’s completed. The finished mat will serve as a tangible symbol of the club and its members, and will remain in the school for the following year’s group. In case it needs to be said: purple is the school’s main colour!

As for the milkbags in general, they come from a variety of sources: those left at our own office, and those which come from two elementary schools, where they are collected and now sorted by volunteers. Given the current labour issues, there are no teacher-led groups at those schools who could undertake any crochet projects, but I’m hopeful that some day some of our students can come along with me to teach younger students how to do more than just collect. I’d like to point out that ALL bags are collected — those which are too smelly or dirty or ripped go to the plastic bag recycle bins at the local Metro stores, while the `nice’ ones are kept for crochet work. There is no reason for any milkbags to go into the landfills.

… I’ve just spent an hour exploring YouTube videos on crochet and plastic bags … oh my! That’ll have to be another blog entry! Stay tuned …

Speed crocheting — this is insane!

I subscribe to the e-newsletter for `Crochet Me’, a magazine. Not that I have time to do crochet with `real yarn’ 🙂 I just find it interesting stuff to sort of keep tabs on. If you’re interested, here’s the website.

Signing up for the newsletter can be done by going to the bottom of the page; look for the line that starts `Interweave  Advertise …’ and the newsletters option is at the end of that line. Interweave (the parent publisher) has a lot of newsletters, so take a look around. It’s very easy to subscribe and unsubscribe, I’ve found.

So, back to the `Crochet Me’ newsletter …

A few weeks ago, there was a link to a DVD with lessons for all kinds of tips and tricks, from Lilly Chin, a well-known crocheter. But it’s what she’s doing while she’s talking that had my jaw dropping. Check this out:

Isn’t that something?!

General news and updates

Nothing really earth-shaking to write … Just bits and pieces …

  • at school, the students are coming along well on their 2×2 mats. Some are already on their second! While the first was a get-acquainted sort of venture, I’ve suggested their second one might be a chance to play with colour bands/stripes — it really seems to go faster when you’re anticipating the next colour change.
  • the monthly pick-up of bags from one of the local elementary schools also continues, with amazing returns. Since last October, 4,881 bags have been collection, of which 4179 were good (that’s about 85% of all bags collected!). Each pick-up is sorted by colour, into sets of 25. We could really use some more crocheters!
  • all bags that don’t get used (too dirty, smelly, etc.) go to the Metro’s plastic bag recycle bin, as well as the bits that are cut off the bags to make them into strips. Nothing goes into the landfill.
  • I’ve also been getting together with some other ladies who are part of the milkbag project. It’s been very nice to spend a couple of hours every two weeks with people who also love to crochet. I’ve heard that some groups find a cafe and have a regular time anyone can drop in and join. I’d recommend it to anyone — it’s motivation (esp. if you’re doing an adult sleeping mat!) and a chance to exchange tips (and bags!) and ideas — and having some tea or coffee with something to nibble makes it ever nicer!


Sitting mat slide show

This is a test, to see if I can get the slideshow feature to work — I’m using photos of sitting mats I’ve made over the past several weeks. I’m hoping that a slideshow will give a better idea of what playing with colour can yield.

One thing to note: each strip has a `white’ end (from the top of the bag) and a coloured end. I attach like to like: if I end with the white part, I start the next strip at its white end as well. This leads to some interesting variegated effects, as you can see in some of the bags. You just never know what you’ll end up with!

Hover over the bottom centre of the image to get navigation buttons: back / pause / forward. The captions are in white and not always easy to read quickly.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Using colour is great fun. And it’s funny how you want to keep going, to finish one band of colour so you can get to the next — and before you know it, the mats done! These sitting mats are generally 38-40 st wide and 38-40 rows high/long… they’re almost all a couple of inches wider/taller than the 2-ft sq. target. But at any size — even the longer sleeping mats — playing with colour bands and stripes makes things go so quickly … !

Who knew plastic milkbags could give such creative scope to this ever-so-worthwhile project!

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