Sunday, March 1, 2009

Crochet Your Own Reusable Mesh Produce Bag!

A few people asked for a step by step tutorial for the reusable produce bag I made from a mesh onion bag and some simple crochet. Here it is!

(If you're not interested in the tutorial, but you do like free things, please scroll to the end of the post to read about a giveaway!)

I find that onion bags work very well, being large enough to repurpose into a reusable bag. With a pair of scissors, snip the bag open as close to the metal clasp as you can.


Choose your yarn! Look for something sturdy, but not too thick. Because you don't need a lot of yarn, this is a good project for using up the odds and ends you have lying around. Crochet cotton works really well, but for this bag I was inspired by the colours in my fruit bowl and went for this blue yarn I have.


Take a look at the mesh bag. See the holes in the mesh? That's what you'll be crocheting into. Don't worry too much about keeping everything perfectly even and in line, because in the finished project, you won't really notice the odd skipped hole, or if you need to move up or down a row to find a hole that hasn't been cut.


Make a slipknot in your yarn.


Pull the knot through a hole in the mesh with your crochet hook.


Chain stitch (see video tutorial below) into the holes, all around the mesh bag.








Continue around a few more times, using a single crochet stitch (see video tutorial below). I went around three times in total.



To create the first handle, *chain one, turn, single crochet into the next three stitches (or as many stitches as you want to make your handle wide) and repeat from * around, until you reach the desired length of your handle.






Cut your yarn, leaving a long enough piece for attaching the handle and fasten off.


To create your second handle, make a slipknot and pull through a single crochet stitch wherever you would like your second handle to go. I just eyeballed where it should go relative to the other handle, but you can get your measuring tape out if you like.
*Single crochet into the next three stitches (or as many stitches as you made your first handle), chain one, turn and repeat from * around until you reach the desired length of your handle. Again, I just held one handle up to the other, to see that they were the same length, but feel free to measure more precisely!
Cut your yarn, leaving a long enough piece for attaching the handle and fasten off.



With a yarn needle, tapestry needle, or any needle with an eye large enough for your yarn to go through, sew the other ends of your handles onto the crochet edging of the bag. Weave in all your loose ends, fasten them off, and Bob's yer uncle, you now have your very own reusable, mesh produce bag!



Just a final thought on the handles. I like mine long enough that I can tie them together, to close the bag and secure the produce. Feel free to adjust your handles to suit your preference, keeping in mind that with heavy produce and depending how much give your yarn has, the handles will stretch when the bag is full.

Here's what it looks like completed and in action!

Ok, so I've seen many bloggers who do giveaways and have always thought it was such a wonderful idea, however I haven't done one myself, because, well, mostly I worry that nobody would want what I have to give away, and I simply couldn't handle the rejection!
But today I'm going to take that risk and offer this bag and the first one I made, to some lucky, random person who actually wants them, or just doesn't have the heart to see me rejected. ;) So if you'd like these two bags, leave a comment and I'll announce the recipient on Friday!

For beginners or those who need a refresher on some of the basic crochet stitches, check out these two videos below. And of course feel free to ask me any questions you have, or to clarify something, if my instructions aren't clear. Enjoy!


13 comments:

Suzy Q said...

I think these are fantastic! I admit to regularly throwing these away, and other plastic packaging that aren't accepted in my recycling bin. Nice to see some interesting and useful craft ideas.

SQ

CM said...

Too Cool!

A use for something that often ends up in the trash.

Please enter me for your giveaway :o)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea! I always throw these away too. It never crossed my mind that they could be useful. Thanks for sharing!

Maria

Melissa B. said...

Wow, that looks like fun. I've just started crocheting this year but this looks like a project even I might be able to do. Please enter me in the giveaway as well.

ecomama.ca said...

I would be very grateful to win the bag you are offering! I love crafty stuff like that and I've been looking for produce bags for when I grocery shop.

ecomama.ca said...

I would be very grateful to win the bag you are offering. I love crafty stuff like that and I've been looking for produce bags for when I grocery shop.

Holly said...

I'd love to have one (or two!) of your bags. I think I'll see if I have a few onion bags stashed away so I can make one.

Anonymous said...

I really like your blog, but don't need the bags. Please keep posting and don't feel rejected!
Eva

Sarah said...

Love the bags - and I've even got a couple of onion bags around just waiting for use. Great idea.
So yes, please enter me... but if I don't win, I might just try making some myself!
(Coming out of lurkdom... thanks for the blog!)

graceonline said...

Absolutely fabulous idea, and what a great stocking stuffer for your green friends come the holidays. I can see using it instead of a fancy sack to deliver a birthday gift or a plain sack filled with fresh garden produce for your gardenless, apartment-bound friends.

Anonymous said...

I have to thank you for posting this. I have searched for something to do with these bags besides making scrubbers. I am off to make my own.
Thanks so much

My Real Green Life said...

Linked your post in my blog this week. I'm going to make some and try a giveaway too! Thanks for the great idea!!!

Yvonne Donaldson said...

Oh! I have an onion bag that I can use! I'm actually in the early learning stages and this looks like something fun to work on. Could you use it to hang bath toys too?