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KNIT: 80 Ways to Save the Earth Tote Bag

April 20, 2011

Updated: 4-20-11Recycled Silk Sari Yarn and Plastic Bag Yarn80 Ways to Save the Earth Tote: the update was made to the yarn. Prior to this, the yarn carried with the plastic bag yarn was a “B” quality silk. The quality deteriorated so much over the past month that I’ve discontinued it from Darn Good Yarn’s stock. However, you can use the Kaleidoscope Banana Fiber Yarn. For this pattern, I have a discounted kit for the yarn which you can acquire here: Click here to purchase.

Please let met know if you have any questions! xoxo Nicole

Here is a great super stretchy tote bag that helps you save the earth too! It’s super easy and knits up quickly. It took me 2 nights to complete.

I use this bag to carry packages of all shapes and sizes to the post office. I also double its use and stick my mat in it for yoga class. The stretchy quality of it allows for a stand size mat to fit completely in it with room to stick your blocks,water and jacket in!

Here’s the recipe to make what I call 80 Ways to Save the Earth Tote (or 80 WTSTE Tote)

Whatchya need to succeed:

80 Plastic Bags made into yarn (see my video above for easy instructions to make this yarn!)
You’ll also need 1 kit that has 4 balls of the Kaleidoscope Banana Fiber Yarn. When you purchase this yarn as a kit, you get a great savings than if you purchased the yarn individually. Click here to purchase.

1 pair of US13 knitting needles
Black Nylon cord (or you can use the yarn),
94 Aluminum Can Tabs *
80 plastic bags

*So, you can see I made the strap out of can tabs. I get tons of emails from people saying OMG I will never have that many can tabs. Well, what you can do is simple and a pretty alternative to this strap: Purchase two skeins of our Recycled Silk Strip Yarn. Then, braid it and attach it! It would be stunning, soft and very easy to fabricate. Check it out and choose the strap yourself! Click here for more info.

Another note with regard to this pattern. There is a ton of flexibility to making this pattern. If you would like a small bag use less bags and decrease the amount of stitches your start out with. If you would like the over look less stretchy then go ahead and work it in moss stitch.Recycled Silk Yarn and Plastic Bag Yarn Tote Bag

Gauge isn’t that important on this project. For me each side measured 1ft 4 in across by 1 ft high. And, I’m serious…this puppy stretches.

Please wait for the video to load here!

So here’s how to make it!
CO 50 stitches.
Knit 2 then purl 2 straight across and then be sure to end each row on two knit stitches.
Work this for 1 foot and then BO and of course weave in ends.
Make another panel.
To sew the two pieces together I just used the Kaleidoscope Banana Fiber Yarn to do this!
I then turned it inside out (which would be right side out ;) )This gave it a nice square shape.

Recycled Silk Sari Yarn and Plastic Bag Yarn Tote BagFor the can tab strap: Please refer to the video I made on how to make it. If you decide to use nylon cord or the silk figure out how long you’d like the strap. Say you’d like a strap which is 12 inches, multiply that by 3.5 and that will give you 42 which is how long of a length you should cut. The strap shown here is 2ft 7 inches which means a cord length of about 110 (It’s better to have more cord than not enough). Then to secure it you can use whichever thread (nylon or silk) to the sides. Just be sure to secure it really well!

Please wait for the video to load here!

For the Silk Strip Yarn: Braid up the strap and be sure to put knots in both ends of the braid. Then, sew it on the seams on the bag. Make sure you super-secure the strap on and the braid is super tight. I recommend two skeins of the silk strip yarn because you can double or triple up each “strand”. So instead of braiding with three strands of yarn you could use 6 or 9 depending on how thick you want the strap and how heavy the items you’re carrying around are going to be.


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  1. Julia Ramsden says:

    I think that making a strap out of t-shirt yarn would be great also.

  2. Marie says:

    Nicole, as I mentioned, I made this bag for my niece, and she loved it. I forgot to tell you that I added a personal touch for her by lining the inside with fabric that has the Beatles logo all over it. My knitting group was following the progress of the bag as they supplied me with their stray plastic bags, and one of my knitting friends recommended the fabric lining. That’s why I love hanging out with all of them. It took a village to get her bag completed!

  3. Gabby says:

    Hey. I Was Wondering Exactly How Do You Knit The Plastic Yarn With The Silk Yarn? I’m Kind Of A Beginner Lol

  4. kiwi says:

    hi nicole you would make a killing selling these amazing bags but not too expensive i tried it ad it worked perfect it is also great as a knitting bag since it ahs been knit by the way where do you get all the bags?

  5. Del says:

    OMG. I want to make this now! What a great idea!

  6. Stacey says:

    Great idea but the music on your video is very distracting. Any way to post a video w/o the music?

  7. chrissy graham says:

    I am going to make this bag but smaller, I wanted to know do you think it would work on a knitting loom? thanks Chrissy

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