Archive for the ‘meetings’ Category

Milkbag weaving workshops

Milkbag weaving workshops being held in the Orleans (east) side of Ottawa:

  • second Thursday of the month (once a month)
  • 6255 Cumorah Dr – Church of Latter Day Saints
  • 6:30pm to 8:30pm
  • contact:



A good day at the 2016 Eco-Fair

What a good day! And a very busy one, too! From 9am till 1pm, a steady stream of visitors came by the more-than-generous space provided for the milkbag project. I’d like to thank the many people who stopped by to lend a hand, to chat, to see how the weaving’s done or how to start collecting and storing milkbags, and so on. It’s always a pleasure to hear about where else milkbags are being collected and then used. For some, it’s an opportunity to see mats and bags up close for the first time and to marvel at what can be done with this simple outer wrapper for 3 bags of milk.

People dropped off lots of mats and lots of milkbags — and some even came looking for bags (always a nice change 🙂 ). A lot of interest in the weaving — how to do it — and in the frames (kudos to the LDH fine woodworking students for those). The Eco-Fair’s a great place to meet people who are actively involved in charitable work, and who actually go to places where people are in need. One group I’d like to single out is Fondation Solution Haiti Foundation, which works more in the rural areas of Haiti. In January, they shipped a good number of sleeping mats from the Ottawa area to that country. And I’d like to pass on that, at the end of the Fair, Musset and Gail Pierre-Jerome offered to take all the mats from the display (close to a dozen in all) back with them, to become part of their next shipment to Haiti! So, everyone who dropped off a mat today — they’ve already begun their journey on to someone who needs it! That it meant I had a lot less to pack up for the car was a lovely bonus for me as well 🙂

A frequent question was: where can I bring my milkbags? Unfortunately, there’s no single depot. It’s by word of mouth (there’s a group who meets in such-and-such a place, or, I know someone who … ) or by checking local schools (especially elementary) to see if they collect bags. Many do, but don’t always have the capacity to add bags from the public — their students are already bringing in sometimes 500, 800, or more (!) a month. Always call ahead to check if they’re collecting, and if they’ll take bags from someone outside their immediate school community. If not, the fact is that milkbags can also be taken to most Metro grocery stores for their plastic bag recycling bins — it’s not ideal, but it does at least keep them out of the general garbage stream. Here’s a handy link to a City of Ottawa webpage, listing Metros and other stores which take back plastic bags: There’s no date on this list, so again, it’s probably best to call first to check.

After a demo/display such as today’s, I like to post links to all the documents which go into the various handouts and posterboard displays.  My collection has grown over time, and many are simply trotted out again and again 🙂 But it’s easier for you to have them all in one place, one post, so here you go — this should cover most of the material out on display this morning.

  • bag-prep-for-weaving-updated-2016: 3-pg document that describes cutting bags, creating stringers from fat loops, loading stringers onto the weaving frame, and then where to google for YouTube instructional videos
  • milkbag-prep-flatten-and-store: 2-pg document that shows a space-saving way to store milkbags. A longer version, at 7 pgs,. then goes on to show how to cut the bags into strips, for crocheting.
  • Milkbag Crochet Instructions Flyer: 4-pg flyer with instructions on everything 🙂 … Focussed on crochet, this one has general tips, instructions for making sleeping mats, sitting mats, and shoulder bags.
  • a small card with three useful addresses:

    Main website:



I always enjoy being at this event because of the people you meet. Sure, I’m showing how to do this or that, giving tips here and there, but it’s meeting people whose own activities and interest sometimes intersect in unexpected ways with mine. And once an idea is sparked … there’s no telling what might come of it!

UPDATE NOTE (27 April ’16): Also check out the `Weaving with Milkbags‘ page for more info on past workshops and displays, and links to documents available at those events.

Barrhaven milkbag crochet group

For the past several years, a group of us have been meeting in Barrhaven (Ottawa) to crochet milkbags into sitting and sleeping mats, as well as shoulder bags. Last fall we were offered meeting space at the Court at Barrhaven seniors residence. We meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, from 1 to 3pm. Come and join us — to learn how to crochet with milkbags or to bring your work and be with like-mind people for a couple of hours.

Please note: this is a crochet group only and not a location for dropping off milkbags. Milkbags (and all other plastic bags, for that matter) can be dropped off for plastic recycling at the local Metro store (large blue bin in the front entry, by the grocery carts). Or you could inquire at local schools to see if they accept donations.

There will be a one-time drop-off for milkbags on 23 April, 2016, at the Bell’s Corners United Church, which is hosting this year’s Eco-Kindness Fair (iCare2016 poster print).

19 April 2016: UPDATE: Note that the 23 April event will accept milkbags but NOT finished crochet’d milkbag mats — there is no room this year to store them. Please stay tuned for news on a future drop-off time and location for the Ottawa area.

Becoming active again

There have been some updates made to the page `Weaving with Milkbags‘, to match the display/demo which will be part of the OCDSB’s Leadership Conference at the Shaw Centre, 7 April, 2016. In particular, there are links to two documents that have been updated from last year.

A milkbag crochet workshop on 18 Feb.

There will be a milkbag crochet workshop at Woodroffe United Church on Wed., 18 Feb., from 9 till noon. The announcement appears in this week’s `Our Town’ column of the Ottawa Citizen:

February 18
MILKBAGS 2 BEDMATS & Totes Workshop. Free.
Crocheters needed, bring “pointed” scissors and 9mm
crochet hook. 9:30-noon. Woodroffe United Church,
2007 Woodroffe Avenue. 613-761-5921.


Weaving workshop in Barrhaven — 28 Feb. 2015

Mark your calendars – Saturday, 28 February, from 10am to 1pm, at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School (LDHSS), right in the heart of Barrhaven!

If you’ve been hearing or seeing news about using a frame to weave milkbags into mats, then register now:

(or call 613-823-3630)

Faster than crocheting – uses more bags – easier on the wrists. It’s a whole new way to make mats!

Workshop leader will be Danielle Duval-Conway. Frames based on Danielle’s design are produced by the LDHSS woodworking shop and will be available at the weaving workshop.

Come and see what weaving with milkbags is all about. If there is sufficient interest, future workshops could be organised. (For a poster, click here: workshop-28-Feb-poster; feel free to print and post!)

A-frame (D. Duval-Conway's design)

A-frame (D. Duval-Conway’s design)

Half-height frame, half done

Half-height frame, half done

Eco- Fair 2014 — 18 October

This year’s Eco-Fair will be at the Bell’s Corner’s United Church, 18 October from 10 till 3:30. For more information:

Turning plastic milkbags into sitting/sleeping mats and shoulder bags

Come see what happens after the bags have been collected, at school or work! Demonstrations throughout the day:

  • photos and posters on the whole Milkbag Crochet Project
  • tips on how to store bags efficiently
  • how to cut bags into strips
  • how to crochet strips into mats and bags
  • get a starter strip and kit
  • join a local group — or start your own!
  • bring your finished mats and bags
  • please do NOT bring milkbags — instead, take them to your local Metro store, where you’ll find bins for plastic bag recycling (ALL plastic bags, not just milkbags)

Print the poster from the weebly site; pass the word along; come out and find out about all kinds of activities and actions one can take to be a little more eco-conscious in daily life.

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