Notes on Reduce Reuse Recycle

Monday, May 07, 2007
A bunch of people have contacted me with questions about Reduce Reuse Recycle (my plastic grocery bag bag in the May 2007 MagKnits). I thought I might reply all at once!

First up, cutting up the bags is really easy. Here are steps:
1: Smooth out the bag and lay it flat on a hard surface (i.e., a table or the floor).
2: Using sharp scissors, cut off the bottom of the bag (the seam) and the handles. You now have a giant tube of plastic.
3: Cut into the bag from the bottom at the angle, and start cutting along the bottom at a width of about .75-1inch. You'll move in a gentle spiral until you get to the top. I can get about 18 yards out of a grocery bag; more out of a Target bag (they're bigger) but less out of a drug store bag.

Here's what the mass of plastic looks like all cut up:
At first I wound these into balls using my ball winder - but then I decided that took too long and was goofy, so I gave up on it. It doesn't take long to cut up a bag - but you do want to be careful not to get ragged bits hanging off the sides. Also, try to be consistent in your width.

I chose to join the ends of the plastic by holding two "strands" together at a time for a good foot of knitting. This is because I'm heavily conditioned never to knot my yarn. In this case, however, that would work fine.

Note that, in the photo on Magknits, that there is one bag each in the center three stripes, and two bags each in the wider white stripes. If you look closely you'll see that the outer part of the stripe has blue writing on it (Lowes) and the inner part has red (Target). If you care, I used Kroger (grocery; tan), Lowes Hardware (white/blue), Target (white/red), and Harris Teeter (grocery; brown) bags for my knitting. The stripes were planned but I didn't sweat over them. I.e., they don't start and end at a row marker.

I'll try to get some more shots up soon. In the meantime, keep the questions coming! Please let me know if you're knitting this up - I'd love to hear what you think.

I use my bag, by the way, for my summertime knitting. It's much cooler than my felted winter knitting bag!


  • Jennifer

    I'm nearly finished! And coincidentally, I'm also using the Kroger/Harris Teeter/Tar-zhay combination. (I also live in N.C., which probably explains that...) There's an IP picture on my blog, and the FO will certainly appear there as well.

    Thanks for the pattern!

  • tekopp

    I just have to say that I love that pattern. When I make one (or five) I will send you photos

  • Anne

    I've only just remembered to look at MagKnits for this month - I love your bag, and may well make it... after everything else on my "to knit" list of course...

  • Hi KT :)!

    How sturdy is the bag? Can you put books and things in it?

    It's a wonderful pattern/concept :)

  • KT

    Hi Hitashi...
    The bag is pretty sturdy - at one point I had a bunch of bananas as well as some other more pointy groceries in mine - but I don't know about books. Maybe lightweight paperbacks, but definitely not textbooks. At least, not the kind I had for biology classes!
    - KT

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    All content in this blog, including patterns and photos, is the intellectual property of Katherine Vaughan. All rights under US Copyright Law are reserved. Teachers, please direct your students to download/print out their own copies of patterns used in class. You are, of course, welcome to use items knit from any pattern for charity or sale, with the statement "design by Katherine Vaughan" appreciated.