Archive for the ‘tips’ Category

Colours in weaving milkbags

I haven’t talked about this before … but the whole concept of making striped mats, which we’ve been applying to our crochet’d sleeping and sitting mats for years, can also be done when weaving with milkbags.

Because the warp (the vertical stringers) aren’t visible once the weft (the stringers going from left to right and back again) is worked, there’s no need to do any special colour work when mounting stringers — it’ll just be buried! So use up colours you don’t care for or have too many of (hello, Neilson navy blue!) for the warp.

Now you’re starting to weave. Since the woven milkbags are quite puffy, stripes need to be fairly large in order to show — so don’t go trying to make multi-coloured plaids! If you’re using just two colours, the stripes can be the same width or varied — I’d be inclined to say that a 10cm wide stripe is about the minimum. How many mats would that take? Oh … that depends entirely on how you weave: how slack your rows are (think of the weft stringer going up and down like a sea serpent — don’t pull it tight!), and how tightly you `comb’ the weft, pulling the just-woven rows towards the already-woven rows, to make them sit snugly against one another. Not too tight — you end up with a mat that’s at least 5cm thick and very rigid! Not to slack either — you end up with a two-dimensional flat sheet of plastic, which has no cushioning value for a sleeper!

Anyways, back to colours. I don’t have have any photos to show right now but will add them as soon as I can. Or you can post your photos to add to the story.

Sewing your own Face mask

In these difficult times, people are thinking more and more of wearing a face mask. To that end, it makes more sense to make your own NON-medical mask and leave the real medical masks to our very beleaguered health care workers.

Like so many, I turned to the web to see what was out there. And after viewing a great many videos, I landed on these two — which have been garnering a great deal of positive feedback, judging by the comments.

Face mask with elastics:

Face mask with ties:

 

I made 4 of these masks — the ones with the ties. And by the end, I had also made a few adjustments in my techniques, which I’ve written up, as I’m not really a video-producing person … yet … !

DIY_sewn-face-mask-refinements

Again, as Erica in the videos cautions, these are NON-medical masks. And her pattern is NOT for commercial use.

Stay safe … wash hands … keep 2m distance … don’t go out much … eventually, things will get better. History is replete with calamities … but humanity is still here 🙂

UPDATE: I’d like to post a link to an Ottawa-based website which has re-tooled its production of sports hijabs to making face masks (these _are_ a commercial product):

https://www.thawrih.com/collections/covid-19-response

Donating milkbags

For those who want to collect and donate milkbags, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The bags will be touched and used by sorters, crocheters and weavers, and eventually slept on — do NOT `donate’ dirty, stinky bags, or bags with dried-up milk on them. Donations are NOT garbage — they are raw materials that will go through many hands before the finished mat or shoulder bag will be used by someone in need.
  • And since I’ve mentioned `stinky’ … keep in mind that plastic will absorb odours: from contact with other stinky bags as well as from airborne odours (from smoking or cooking). The storage tips below all focus on minimizing the space taken up by bags, so one offending bag can affect the entire collection — which then has to go into plastic bag recycling. Granted, that still avoids dumping plastic bags into the landfill — but what a waste of raw material, all because of one or two bags `infecting’ all the others.
  • Turn the bag inside out and hold it under the tap so the water runs all around and down the outside. Let it dry upside down until totally dry — a damp bag, folded, quickly acquires an odour.
  • Rejected bags can still be kept out of the landfill — there are grocery stores that have plastic recycling bins, especially where your municipality doesn’t include plastic bags in its recycling program.
  • Storing bags by stuffing them into a milkbag or other plastic bag is easy to do … but oh-so-wasteful in terms of storage space 🙂 Take the time to flatten the bag, fold in half, and then slide into another milkbag. You can get 30-40 milkbags into one bag — and it’s easy to stand up, like a file folder, taking up a lot less space.
  • Another storage option is put the bags, unfolded, into a box that allows you to lay them flat.
  • My favourite storage method: milkbags with folded-in-half bags (see above), stacked vertically in a photocopy paper box — the box is just the right width to keep adding bagged bags … you can get up to 800 or more, just by pushing the bags against one another, removing the air. We used to put just 24 bags into a milkbag — but many more can go in. A tip: stand the box on one of its short ends, add the filled bags, pushing down as each one’s added. Tip the box back upright.
  • One of my least favourite storage methods? Milkbags folded up into teeny-tiny triangles — not only does it take massive amounts of time to do each bag, but at our end (the sorters, crocheters, weavers) , even more gobs of time undoing every single one of them. Please don’t do this 🙂  I’ve heard the explanation that it’s to avoid having young children find the plastic bag but my response is: then keep the bags out of reach of children, just like anything else that has the potential for danger.
  • When donating your collection of bags, keep in mind that not everyone is as strong as you are! Spread the weight across a few boxes or bags, in consideration of those of us who aren’t what we used to be 🙂

Do you have storage tips to add? Send them in!

Left-handed crochet

Every so often, this comes up when someone new joins the crochet
group. Fortunately, we now have a left-handed crocheter who can help
— but when she started, it was just really tough figuring out how to
show her. But she persisted and now she’s our go-to person!

Of course, the internet is a great resource, so here are some links I’ve found which may be helpful:

http://www.interweave.com/articles/crochet/left-handed-crochet/

And here’s a link that with lesson 1 of a series, all for left-hand work:

https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=hROHDBLv3XE

If you have a particular favourite on-line resource, send it along and we’ll add it to this post!

Happy crochet’ing!

 

 

When a milkbag project doesn’t work out …

Sometimes we make a bag or mat, either crochet’d or woven, and … well … it just didn’t work out. The rows were too tight or too loose, the edges were wandering all over the place … or we just lost interest and didn’t finish it or don’t want to try and salvage it.

Whatever the reason, we don’t want to take it to a drop-off point and pass it along — we shouldn’t pretend that “it’s good enough” or that “it doesn’t matter” or “nobody will notice”.

So — put the sad little mistake into a milkbag or grocery bag or garbage bag (all of which are also plastic) and just chuck it into the plastic bag recycle bin at your local Metro or Value Village or other store that has such a bin. Just as we’re keeping milkbags out of the landfills by making mats and bags, so too should our mistakes also stay out of landfills.

And then, when you’re in a better frame of mind, maybe start up again, figuring out how to avoid the boo-boo, and end up with a lovely finished milkbag item, one that you’d like to keep for yourself, it’s that good! The person who eventually receives it will notice — and use the mat or bag for a long time.

Colours in weaving milkbags

I haven’t talked about this before — but the whole concept of making striped mats, which we’ve been applying to our crochet’d sleeping and sitting mats for years, can also be done when weaving with milkbags. And of course, the stripes are in the horizontal direction, not the vertical.

Because the warp (the vertical stringers) aren’t visible once the weft (the stringers going from left to right and back again) is worked, there’s no need to do any special colour work — it’ll just be buried! So use up colours you don’t care for or have too many of (hello, Neilson navy blue!) for the warp.

Now you’re starting to weave. Since the woven milkbags are quite puffy, stripes need to be fairly large in order to show — so don’t go trying to make multi-coloured plaids! If you’re using just two colours, the stripes can be the same width or varied — I’d be inclined to say that a 10cm wide stripe is about the minimum. How many mats would that take? Oh — that depends entirely on how you weave: how slack your rows are (think of the weft stringer going up and down like a sea serpent — don’t pull it tight!), and how tightly you `comb’ the weft, pulling the just-woven rows towards the already-woven rows, to make them sit snugly against one another. Not too tight — you end up with a mat that’s at least 5cm thick and very rigid! Not to slack either — you end up with a two-dimensional flat sheet of plastic, which has no cushioning value for a sleeper!

Anyways, back to colours. I don’t have have any photos to show right now but will add them as soon as I can. Or you can post your photos to add to the story.

If you’ve got another way to use colour when weaving with milkbags, add your comments (and a photo!), to give people more ideas to play with.

No pillows with milkbag stuffing, please

This is a follow-up to a comment about pillows, posted on 1 August, 2016, where I wrote that “… the milkbag snippet stuffing will eventually get out of the cloth pillows (a seam breaks, the cloth rots, … ) and cause a great mess”.

Since that time, I’ve gotten in touch with local (Ottawa) charities, as well as the Humane Society — I’m afraid no-one wants to take these pillows, with their snippet stuffing. The Humane Society, I can understand — if a pillow were to burst, the plastic would be ingested, perhaps proving fatal.

I have about half a dozen on hand, so I’ll open them, remove the milkbag snippets, and then add them to unfilled pillow cases that were made by one of our local volunteers from her stash of material. She made a couple hundred at least, when we were all very enthusiastic about the idea. And while it’s disheartening to know all that time and energy (and supplies) have gone to naught, I’m still hopeful that the cases themselves can be passed on to Value Village or some other place, for someone to stuff with more traditional materials.

There are loads of sites that come up in response to googling the words

pillow stuffing types

Here’s just one:

http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/buying-guide/understanding-filler-materials-polyfil-pellets-microbeads-beanbag-filler

Note, however, that microbeads have come under scrutiny recently. I like the flaxseed and millet options, further down on the page. I wonder if rice might also work …

In any event, I guess this is sort of like an `official’ announcement (not that I have any standing at all as an official person!) that pillows made with milkbag snippet stuffings are not being accepted, so please don’t make any more.

 

 

 

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