Tag: video tutorials

Crochet for The Needy Using Plastic Bags (Complete Guide to Crocheting Plastic Bag Mats for Homeless)

*Photo Source: Emma Nagle

If you’re a knitter or crocheter, then chances are, there’s a big, kind heart in that chest of yours. You’re selfless to the point of actually searching out ways to be of use to others, even strangers.

Yes, I know who you are and although you most likely would never admit it because you aren’t vain, but you know you have a heart as good as gold. In fact, your friends and family members tell you this frequently.

You’re the kind of person who experiences something like a high when you brainstorm new ways you can help people in need.

It’s eerie how well that description fit you, right? But, lets face it, you’re a crocheter/knitter and crocheters/knitters are all heart… And fingers (you gotta have em’ to crochet/knit, amIright?)

Since it’s the time of year that people tend to be in need the most, I thought I would work on putting up a post that might be useful to my fellow yarn-craters — an entire guide to teach you everything you need to create plastic bag mats for homeless people. This seems to be the most popular “gift” for homeless this year. I almost considered knitting blankets this year and donating them to be put together for the homeless, but when I read how well-received these plastic bag mats had been, I decided it must be a great idea after all. So, for those of you who are interested in learning how to crochet these, please read on. And do feel free to skip the next section if you’d like to get right to learning.

I still can’t believe it’s already really is that time of year again. You know, the time of year that causes your brain to flood with ideas and you spend 90% of your days brainstorming what project you’ll crochet/knit for the kids, and your parents, and your nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.

You’ve got a project idea that perfectly fits each family member and loved one, and by-golly you’re determined that this year, you’re gonna complete each one. Sleep be damned! You’ll even stay up hours past your bedtime to make sure every project is done and every loved one warm and cozy in their new scarf, coat, or socks.

That’s that big ol’ heart of yours I was talking about.

Now that I know you inside and out, it’s a good time to get straight to the heart (no pun intended) of the issue here.

The homeless and needy don’t always have a warm bed to sleep in every night and if you’re anything like most of us yarn-crafting fanatics, this bothers you every year — knowing that people are spending their Holiday season just trying to stay warm each day.

I know. I’m the same way. That big ol’ heart sometimes just seems too big. Sometimes it downright hurts to have a heart. You just want to do something. Anything to help make sure other people get to spend their Holiday season warm and cozy at the very least. Each year, I look for a way I can help contribute to improving the harsh winter months for someone else and I believe the plastic bag mats will fit the bill perfectly.

One more important thing I’d like to address before I kindly step aside and let you start learning how to make plastic bag mats…

Like myself, a lot of you precious folks use yarn-crafting as a form of therapy, a way to whittle through the ugly winter months — to you and I, each stitch is just part of our battle with depression. We literally knit or crochet our way through the pain or melancholy that sometimes happens to us when the cold months strike. I’m right there with you my friend. But I’m determined to not let this year suck me in. I hope you will be, too.

This is How I’ll Battle Depression This Winter

I’ve decided that this year, I’m going to try my hand at these simple plastic bag mats. Since it costs virtually nothing to obtain a pantry full of those otherwise pesky bags, pretty much anyone with a crochet hook can contribute.

The purpose of making these mats is to provide homeless people with a clean, dry place to sleep at night. Since it’s made of plastic, there’s no worry of it absorbing water and being useless to sleep on or harboring bacteria and crud like some products made from materials like yarn. It’s also supposed to be lightweight, making them easy to carry around. Most importantly though, they provide some level of warmth to a person who otherwise might be exposed to the harsh weather.

So, if you’re like me and you struggle with depression and feel a painstaking desire to help people in need, join me in the Crochet for A Cause project and start making those “plarn” balls right away. I’ve compiled a list of different videos and tutorials to help you along the way. If you have any trouble, let me know and I will do my best to help out.

P.S. Please take the time to say thanks to the good folks who took the time to create these awesome tutorials.

*P.S. When you’re having trouble pulling out of an episode of depression and can’t seem to motivate yourself enough to start the project, just shoot me a message and we will can work at it together. I’m also happy to chat with others who may be struggling with finding yourself through these winter months, so please do not hesitate to get in touch. Sometimes I feel as if I’m withdrawing from the outside world and don’t really have people who I can just chat with during these times as well, so it’s always a pleasure to connect with you lovely folks.

How to Cut the Bags for Making “Plarn”

Cutting Plastic Bags

How to cut plastic bags for crocheting

The Following Video Shows Another Method of Cutting the Plarn + How to Make the Mats

Plastic bag mats for homeless tutorial

No Description

Here’s Another Video That Shows You how to Crochet Waterproof Bedrolls (The Same As “Mats”)

Recycled shopping bags crocheted into waterproof bedrolls


Finished Mats + Crocheting In Action! The Below Video Shows A Variety of Finished Mats + a Woman Crocheting One from “Milk Bags”

Creating sleeping mats out of milk bags

Sudburians are creating sleeping mats out of milk bags for those less fortunate in third world countries.

For The Knitters Out There, This Video Shows The Process of Knitting With Plastic Bags! You can follow the same basic directions for crocheting the sleeping mats by just swapping your hook for needles.

Plastic Bag Knitting

Knitting a plastic bag holder from ordinary plastic shopping bags.

I also look forward to seeing your lovely projects! Please share photos of your completed projects.

9 Easy & Free Cardis to Make This Fall

Hello everyone! Were you all aware that it was fall already?

And just how many of my fellow crocheters have already started working on crocheting sweaters and cardigans for the upcoming cold months? I know a few of my fellow crochet bloggers have already started themselves, and some have already put out some of their very own designs.

Needless to say, as someone who’s never crocheted an entire sweater just yet, I’ve been scouring the web for good, easy to follow tutorials for cute cardigan and sweater patterns. I’m actually in the middle of crocheting one for my niece already and have a big roll of gray yarn and a pair of chunky knitting needles set aside for knitting my own comfy cardigan at some point before it turns warm again.

That brings me to some other thoughts I conjured up while doing my extensive hunt for the perfect cardigan to crochet my niece, who’s only 4, but I’ll tell you, finding a cardigan pattern for anyone who isn’t still crawling, or barely walking and sitting up (and probably spitting up, too, for that matter) is quite the journey. It wasn’t easy. For some reason, it appears that not many folks have put out patterns for kids above toddler age, and that irked me enough that I decided I’d have to wing it and use the tutorials for a baby’s cardigan and just kind of, well, figure out how to make it bigger.

I’ve already done a lot of crocheting and ripping out my work, but I think I’ve found the secret to being able to use all these gorgeous baby cardigan patterns and up-size them for any size!

Now I would not want to speak too soon and end up having to eat my last words, but I am excited and confident that I’ve found the way to go about up-sizing a cardigan pattern. I have so far, taken what I could learn from the tutorials I’ll be sharing in this post and basically, I would just begin working along the pattern in the baby size, then I’d rip it out and start over with slight adjustments until I found the correct size I needed to make the cardigan fit my niece. So far, I’m still in the yoke of her sweater, but it occurred to me that the technique I applied to her’s would probably work well for any size! This is really exciting, and I’m definitely going to be sharing the techniques I’ve used to figure this out so that you guys will be able to take any baby sized cardigan pattern and easily work it out to fit your very own size requirements. Just bear with me as I will have to finish the cardigan and make sure the results turn out perfect before I go telling you guys to try it out and risk wasting your time (in the off-chance that I’m wrong and it won’t really work like I think) and end up with a lot of pissed off women with crochet hooks in their hands coming after me! Yikes. That’s not exactly a peaceful image!

Since I’ve happened across several really great tutorials and patterns that fellow bloggers and crocheters have been kind enough to offer for free, I thought I’d compose a little list of my top favorites to share with you all. After all, I know I’m not the only one depending on other peoples’ skills to teach me the basics of crocheting winter clothing, right? Please, tell me I’m not the only one!

So, without further ado — whatever that even is. “Ado.” Sounds a lot like something that might be best done in the private of one’s personal restroom to me, but whatever. I can’t find a better way of saying it, so on with the program and without further ado….

My Favorite Easy (and Free!) Crochet Cardigan Patterns
(for Various Ages)

1. Very Easy chunky crochet baby /girl’s cardigan tutorial – fair isle sweater / jumper by Wooly Wonders Crochet

2. Very Easy crochet girl’s dress / top / shirt / tunic tutorial also by Wooly Wonders Crochet (my favorite crochet channel, actually. This one is a short-sleeved dress, but can easily be adjusted to make a long-sleeved cardi or sweater dress. Too cute (and simple) not to make this list. This woman does a beautiful job and her instructions are so easy to follow. Her adorable accent is just icing on the cake!

* These two videos are actually the tutorials I used to learn how to crochet a yoke. I talked about how I have kept on to get the key to up-sizing a cardigan like this to fit any larger size. Well folks, the two videos above are the 2 I watched dozens upon dozens of times to get the hang of it and keep working until I found the key! Like I said, I’m not finished with the cardigan I”m working on, so I won’t go spilling the details until I’m sure it’s going to work (so I don’t end up causing you folks to waste your time along with me).

3.How to Crochet A Baby Sweater
By Anna Phelps, who also does a fantastic job with her tutorials, making them very easy for beginners to follow.

4. Here’s a great basic sweater by The Crochet Crowd (awesome tutorials as well by the way). It’s a sweater, not cardi, but one that deserved to make the list anyways. Mikey shares instructions for child sizes 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8, but this one could be adapted easily to fit virtually any size (even for a slouchy sweater for teens or adults):

5. Sweater Pullover Tutorial by Woolpedia This is probably the easiest sweater of all. It is a sweater, but keep in mind it can be made into a cardigan.

6. Easy Crochet Baby Cardigan — another gorgeous design and tutorial by Wooly Wonders:

7. DrapeyHere’s one for my lovely knitters out there, and it’s an adult-sized cardi! (because hey! We love cardis too, right?)
This one’s knitted — The Drapey Cardigan (why that name, I have no clue.) by Lion Brand

8. Chantal
Here’s a free crochet cardigan pattern in adult sizes called Chantal by Drops Designs:

And here’s the free knitting pattern for the cardigan I said I had needles and yarn set aside to make later:
Liond Brand Free Cardi Pattern
I think I’ll make my sleeves a bit shorter — I don’t think I’d like the whole “bat-wing” look.

P.S. I will share my 4-year old cardigan once it’s complete.

So what about you guys? Will you be crocheting any of these, or if you’re already working on some projects of your own, I’d love for you to share!

& If you liked these free patterns and tutorials and would like to see more like this, you might enjoy checking out the tutorials, patterns & inspiration I pin on Pinterest.

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