Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week 5: Produce Bags

Last fall, while looking for something to do with my left over yarn pile, I stumbled upon this pattern for eco-friendly produce totes on a blog called Oh The Cuteness!.  I've since started following her regularly, because she is just too darling. 

After trying out my first bag, and finding some kinks I wanted to work out, I made 2 or 3 more before finding a pattern that really worked for me.  

  1. The holes in the netting were so big that smaller fruits (plums and apricots) fell right through. 
  2. The bags were SO expandable that they could fit WAY more fruit than I would ever buy for a family of two.
  3. The lack-o-drawstring:  I really wanted something that would hold the produce in.
  4. The handles.  Once I had added a drawstring, the handles were just in the way.
  1. Shorter connecting chains.
  2. Smaller circle to start off with. (Bonus:  this added to Solution 1 means faster bag making).
  3. ...Add... drawstring... (bet you didn't see that coming).
  4. Use draw string as handle. 
Now that I had a pattern that worked for me, I made a whole set for myself, using up all the balls of yarn I had left over.  But it didn't stop there, because now I was addicted to this fast, easy, Eco-chic, project.  I made 17 more to send out as Christmas gifts to market going friends.
"Holy crap the bags are amazing!  We used them yesterday at farmer's and they are so useful/beautiful.  BTW, they hold WAY more than 6 apples."- Mateo
And now, more recently, I've started making some extras to hand out at the market.  Turkish people haven't gotten the concept of recycling yet.  They are plastic bag loving people.  Before I started making these totes, I was reusing plastic bags for as long as I could.  I would show up at the market with my canvas tote filled with plastic bags, and fish one out to fill up with apples, or tomatoes, or oranges.  Without fail, the market seller would offer me a fresh bag, look confused, re-offer, and sometimes even dump the bag I filled into a new bag and throw out the old one.  "This crazy lady doesn't realize they're free!" I'd try and explain in my broken Turkish, that "Plastic sevmiyorum. Dunya seviyorum!" or "I don't love plastic, I love the Earth," and they'd shake their heads to signify that they didn't understand either my Turkish, or my crazy ways.  

Danielle uses them for apples and donuts. yum.
Now that I have my produce totes I'm funnier than ever.  They still always offer me a plastic bag, and then if this is their first time meeting my bags, they examine them closely, before shouting to their friends in delight:"Bakarmısan! Yeni modal poşet!" "Look! New model!" Then "Bu yaptınız mı?" "Did you make this?"

I've made enough non-tote-using, green-is-just-a-colour-not-a-way-of-life people chuckle at my bags, that I've started asking "Bu istiyormısınız?" "Do you want it?"  They always smile politely and say no, but truth be told, I'd be so happy to spread a little Eco-love around here.

So the other week when we were buying oranges, lemons, and tangerines from a citrus seller, and his wife got all squeaky and said "Bu istiyorum!"  "I want this!"  I jumped on the opportunity.  I asked her what colour she wanted, and promised to return with a bag for her.  

I made hers extra big, with 20 stitches in my magic circle instead of 16, and 16 rows instead of 14.  Turkish people tend to buy way more of everything than we do, probably because they are feeding a much larger extended family, possibly because they own a restaurant. I figured my totes that carry 8 or so apples wouldn't be big enough to be practical for her.   I tested it out after finishing it, and sure enough, I could fit 20 oranges and grapefruits into that big Mama.  I'll give it to her tomorrow, and add some pictures of her with her new bag tomorrow night. 

Difficulty: EASY!

Usability: %100! Wash on cold, hang dry, use a million times!

Any type of yarn you want to get rid of. About 1/3 of a ball in total.  Hook: 5.00 mm. 

Stitches used:
HDC:  Half Double Chain 
Ch: Chain
Sl St: Slip Stitch

Here's the pattern!

PS: I've been linking to Scribd as a way to publish these patterns.  Let me know if they aren't working for you.  

Happy crafting!


  1. Those are very awesome, I don't have anything like that at my farmers market, I just have my whole foods recycled bags.

    1. If you want some, I'd be happy to send a set your way!

  2. Hey now, how come I didn't get any Christmas bags? I'm "market going".
    I miss you!

    1. I'll make you some! Expect them in a month or so.

  3. Those produce bags are incredible! You definitely know how to make something beautiful out of a simple yarn. They look chic and stylish. And I think there is more use to it than a produce bag. You can definitely use this bag as a stylish day pouch when you go out on a walk. And buyers would dig the packaging. Very fashionable and functional!