Friday, January 18, 2013

The Pool Party Backpack

No recycling week would be complete without addressing the big net/mesh bags that onions and potatoes come in (also oranges, and sometimes apples).  It's very hard to tell which bags can be recycled, and which ones can't.  The bags that look like fishing net are not recyclable, but some of the woven plastic bags can be recycled (depending on the facilities in your area).

Does that sound confusing to you too? I don't know which kind of bags are which.  Besides, there are no guarantees that my local recycle pick-up will take the bags that I've got, even if they're the 'right' kind.  For me, the best way that I can think of to deal with net bag produce bag issue is to turn it into something else so that we recycle it ourselves at home! Win for the environment, win for us!

Mims adores the pool at my sister's house.  She became a little waterbug last summer when she learned how to swim.  She will do anything (chores, eat cooked veggies, practice reading) to get to go swimming.  It's been a little too cold lately to go swimming, but I wanted to be ready for the next time the weather heats up!  I had an onion bag just waiting to be turned into something amazing, so I've made Mims a Pool Party Backpack!

Pool Party Backpack
Mesh produce bag (onions, sweet potatoes, any 10 pound produce bag will work)
Approximately 40 yards of plarn (plastic yarn - you'll need about 5 grocery bags to make it - Check out THIS post on how to make it!)
Size N crochet hook

Snip the top off the bag above the label  (or approximately 12" above the bottom seam of the bag). Attach the plarn at the side seam of the bag.

Bag Top:
R1:ch 1, sc 46 stitches evenly around the cut edge of the bag (or however many stitches you need to get all the way around the bag - just make sure it's a multiple of 2), sl st to first sc to close round (46 st)
R2-4: ch 1, sc in each st around, sl st to first sc to close round (46 st)
R5: ch 3 (counts as first dc and ch 1), skip next st, (dc in next st, ch 1, skip next st) 22 times, sl st to first sc to close round (46 st)
R6: ch 1, 2 sc in each ch 1 space around, sl st to first sc to close round (46 st)
Fasten off. You can weave in the end at this point, if you want, but I really like leaving the cut plastic ends to poke out.  To me, it looks more obviously recycled, handmade, and awesome with the pokey bits, but it's a matter of personal preference.

Bag Straps:
(make 2)
 Chain until the piece measures 48" long.  Fasten off.

Starting at a side seam, weave the first strap through the holes in Row 5.  Adjust the strap ends so that they are even. Weave the second strap through the holes in Row 5, starting at the opposite side seam.  Adjust the 2nd strap ends so that they're even too!

Tie the strap ends that are sticking out to the right side to the bottom right corner of the bag (just poke the strap through the mesh and tie in a square knot).  Repeat on the left side with the remaining strap ends (poking through the bag at the bottom left corner).

The backpack is complete!  Tug the straps to tighten the bag at the top.  Tug the top of the bag to open it again!

Mims is doesn't want to give it back.  I think I'll let her play with it, since she made a very convincing argument that the mesh backpack was perfect for carrying around her stuffed animals (Princess Pugsley and Charlie today) because they could see out while she carried them around.  How can you argue with that?!  You can't!  I never knew that recycling could be so cute!!


If you'd like to see more recycling with crochet, visit the January 2013 section of my Free Crochet Patterns page.


  1. Awesome!!! You are going to town with the recycling over here! I love it! This is such a great idea. The mesh backpack is perfect for the damp clothes after swimming! A-May-Zing things coming out of your head and onto your hooks! <3

    1. Thanks, Teeni!
      It was a busy week and I hate to admit that I ran myself down and caught my kid's cold. I think I should have made this Recycle Month instead! LOL!!!
      xo Jaime

  2. Mesh bags are always my favorite. I keep everything in them. Might have to pull one out and have my way with it and a hook :)

  3. Omg she is as creative as you are. Of course they need to see out. Wonderfully made

    1. Thanks, Tami! LOL!
      Sometimes she's even more creative than I am (but don't tell her that!)
      xo Jaime

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