using an eyeglass case to carry plastic forks and spoons crochet pattern by darleen hopkins

Eco-Craft: Reducing Your Plastic Use with Crochet

Nerd Heaven, Crochet and the 3 R’s

A couple years ago, the image below showed up in my Facebook feed with a challenge to use less plastic in during the month of July.  Plastic drives me INSANE.  I don’t want to use it but it has become almost impossible to avoid, particularly at the grocery store.  Produce is pre-wrapped or pre-bagged in plastic, sour cream comes in plastic, lunch meat, bread, cereal, snacks are all packaged in plastic.  Juice and vinegar and milk are bottled in plastic.  It is EVERYWHERE. So what do you do when you want to do what is right for the planet and cut out plastic?  That is where the 3 R’s come in.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  Say it with me… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.   Did you notice recycle is last?  It is last for a reason.  Recycling, while better than tossing plastic in the landfill which leaches toxins into our ground water and may eventually find its way in our oceans, should be your last option.  Recycling is expensive and uses energy.  The best thing you can do is reduce your use of plastic.  And when you have plastic, reuse what you have.  And when you can no longer reuse the item, recycle it.

36527995_1053133358172386_3753487072342573056_n-1

So what does this have to do with crochet?  A lot.  Because when you add crochet to anything you add fun.  Adding crochet to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is nerd heaven for me.  I’m passionate about the Earth and I’m passionate about crochet.  While there are lots of ways to reduce your use of plastic, below are a couple suggestions on how you can use crochet to help reduce your plastic use.

First #1! BYOB.  Bring your own bag is #1 on the list above and by far the easiest way to cut back on single use plastic. Really any bag will do but if you like, you can crochet a bag or two or more.  When my oldest was in kindergarten (he is now a senior in college) I made a bag out of plarn (plastic yarn made from used plastic bags).  I love it and it is super strong.  I always load it up with cans and jars when I grocery shop.  I didn’t use a pattern but there are a bazillion patterns out.  A quick Ravelry search yielded over 1,000 market bag patterns.

2. BYOW. Bring your own water bottle.  I’m not going to suggest you crochet a water bottle as that would be weird, but you could crochet a water bottle carrier.  This would make it a lot easier to bring your own water with you.  Here is a quick Ravelry search for water bottle carriers.  Next time you go to restaurant and they ask if you would like a drink/straw, you can say, “No thank you.  I’m doing my part to reduce the amount of single use plastic waste and brought my own water in this awesome water bottle carrier that I crocheted myself!” or something like that.

3. BYOC. Bring your own cup. Post-covid this one is a little harder as some companies are not refilling reusable cups or offering refills. Like everything, I think this will eventually pass but if you need a coffee fix every day, just brew it at home and bring it to work with you. Or get your own personal coffee machine for your office. I make coffee using a French press and use this homemade cozy to keep it warm while brewing. Or you could crochet a cozy. Skip the lines, save time and money, and make your coffee yourself.

4. BYOL. Bring your own lunch.  Pre-covid I would bring my lunch to work and intend to again once I’m back in person next month.  I pack it in an old personal sized cooler that one of my boys used to use in grade school.  The strap is broken and the zipper is messed up on one place.  But it still keeps food cool.  So I carry it in-you guessed it-a crocheted bag I made.  I use reusable containers for my lunch and do not use single use plastic baggies.  I bring real forks and spoons and a cloth napkin.

5. BYOU.  Bring your own utensils.  This one is my favorite because this one took me awhile to figure out.  When we eat out, we often go to casual dining places (pre-covid and we will begin again, eventually).  Not quite fast food but you still order at a counter.  These places often have plates or baskets that get reused but tend to offer plastic forks/spoons/knives and cups and straws (see above for BYOW) that end up in the trash. The light bulb turned on one day when we were eating out and I now use an eyeglass case to carry my own utensils with me. I keep it in my purse and never need to use a disposable fork/spoon/knife while away from home. Read about it here, Eco-Craft, Plastic Utensil Carrying Case

using an eyeglass case to carry plastic forks and spoons crochet pattern by darleen hopkins

6. BYOPB. Bring your own produce bag. Yup, there is a pattern for that! Crochet Produce Bags. I never understand the purpose of produce bags. You are going to either peel or wash the produce before you eat it. And you are going to put it in a bag after you check out. One day I watched a guy put bananas in a plastic produce bag and then tie it shut. WHY? They are already bunched together and sealed in a natural wrap that you don’t eat. I’ve seen some people single items in plastic produce bags. One butternut squash in a bag-again, why? you are going to peel it before you cook it. Oh well, not my job to judge. Unfortunately, so much produce is pre-bagged in plastic. But if you feel you need another bag for them, try crocheting a light-weight bag to transport the loose fruit and veggies.

7. Eat at home. I think covid has taught us all that this is not only possible but a great way to slow down and enjoy dinner time. Dinner doesn’t have to be eaten in the car. However, if you can support restaurants and businesses struggling to come back, do. Just do it Eco responsibly and make the trips to fast food the exception, not the norm. Crochet some hot pads and placemats and enjoy a home cooked meal.

Pizza! Pizza!

8. Food storage. No need to buy plastic or even glass storage containers. Clean and reuse what you already have. And why not dress them up while you are at it?

9. Share the tips. Done.

Do you have any other ways you use crochet to reduce plastic usage? I’d love to hear them.

Happy Crocheting and Happy Reduce Plastic Usage!
Darleen

crocheted container for plastic cutlery
crochet pattern for an RV motorhome hot pad or potholder designed by Darleen Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! RV Motorhome Hot Pad

New Pattern Alert! RV Motorhome Hot Pad.

Did the Easter Bunny bring you a new RV? NO?? Well, you can make the next best thing, an RV Motorhome Hot Pad!! This adorable hot pad is the perfect hot pad for your RV kitchen. Still dreaming and not yet an RV owner? Crochet one and keep it in your “sticks and bricks” home. The pattern is easily adapted to match your RV or RV to be. Change the colors, the stripe pattern and tag line to whatever you desire. It’s your RV, your DREAM. Go for it and have fun.

Link to pattern: RV Motorhome Hot Pad

crochet pattern for an RV motorhome hot pad or potholder designed by Darleen Hopkins
crochet pattern for an RV motorhome hot pad or potholder designed by Darleen Hopkins

Meet Crochet Designer Rachy Newin

Crochet Designer Rachy Newin.

Chances are if you’ve recently seen a beautiful, lacy crocheted shawl, it is one of Rachy’s. Racy is also participating in the 2019 Indie Designer Gift-A-Along and has graciously agreed to be interviewed. So…let’s get to know Rachy Newin!

Please tell a little bit about yourself and your designs.

I love crochet and I love hand-dyed yarn and my patterns are designed to pair the two together perfectly. I focus on higher end yarns and love playing around with colors and texture and lace. Lately, I’ve also been super into beads – they’re fun and deceptively easy, and I love the way it sparkles!

Sugar Plum Shawl by Rachy Newin

How long have you been crocheting?

I’ve been on Ravelry since December 2013, so I’ve probably been crocheting since about November 2013! I’ve been crafting in various ways for my whole life, but only taught myself to crochet as an adult.

How long have you been designing and what led you to design? 

My first ever pattern was a super quick freebie I posted five years ago. I freehanded it and people asked for the pattern, so I wrote it out and popped it up on Ravelry. A few months later, I started getting more involved with creating my own patterns. I walked into a LYS for the first time and fell in love, but couldn’t find any patterns that would work with their yarns the way I wanted them to – so I set out to design the patterns I wanted to make.

How did you first learn to crochet?  

Libraries and YouTube! First step was hitting up the library for every book I could find on crochet and yarn. But it’s hard to follow the steps from books alone, so I spent a lot of time sitting in front of YouTube videos and watching how my hands should move.

Starlight Shawl by Rachy Newin

Do you have any other crafts or hobbies? or is there one you would like to learn?

Does collecting yarn count as a separate hobby? I’d love to learn all the crafts – especially spinning and yarn dyeing – but I don’t have the time or space in my house to learn it all.

How many WIPs do you currently have and do you think you will ever finish all of them?

I refuse to count all my WIPs all at once, I’m not sure I want to face that reality, but I usually have five to seven WIPs with me at any given time. I would love to theoretically finish them all one day, but with the way I keep getting distracted by new projects, I doubt that’ll ever happened.

Keep Breathing Cowl by Rachy Newin

What was the last thing you crocheted for yourself?

Most of my design samples are for me! There’s a very short list of people I’m willing to craft for as I only crochet for people who appreciate the time and effort. I’d rather keep the gorgeous lace shawl for me than give it to someone who won’t love it.

What is your favorite stitch?

Half-double crochet! It’s solid enough to be cozy and warm, but has enough flexibility to give the project good drape. I use hdc a *lot*.

What pattern/design are you most proud of? Why?

It’s so impossible to pick just one! Maybe the Bumps in the Road Shawl, I’m really pleased with how the technical aspects of the pattern work out. It’s a super wearable shape and the body features a modified stitch that’s fully reversible and delightfully textured. The pattern is also designed so that you don’t have to cut the yarn – there’s no ends to weave in, except for the start and end of each skein. Plus, the math is set up so you can work any number of rows in the body and add the edging at any point. I absolutely love the finished look of the shawl, but I’m especially proud of the behind-the-scenes technical bits that make it really fun to work up.

Bonfire Shawl by Rachy Newin

 What is your favorite crochet tool or notion?

Bobby pins! They’re the perfect stitch marker. Cheap, easy to slide on and off, and you can pick them up anywhere in case of emergency.

 When you aren’t knitting/crocheting, what are you doing?

I’m pretty low key. If I’m not crocheting, I’m probably hanging out with the dog, playing games on my phone, or deep in a book. My ideal afternoon is a dog on my lap, a soothing mindless project to work on, and a hardcover book so I can read while I crochet.

Where can we find you?

Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/rachy-newin
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/rachynewindesigns
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachynewindesigns/

Thanks Rachy! Your designs are beautiful!!!





New Pattern Alert! Zinnia Votive

Now Available, Zinnia Votive.  A lace sleeve for a standard canning jar.

Zinnia-Votive-in-Knit-Picks-Luminance-crochet-pattern-#CbyDH

Dress up a standard canning jar and turn it into a beautiful gift.  The Zinnia Votive is a pattern for a standard canning jar sleeve. Place a tea light inside the jar and see the beauty of crochet lace like never before. A gorgeous way to light up your late summer nights. The pattern includes fully written instructions as well as an illustrative chart.

The pattern is written to fit a standard, round 8 oz Ball canning jar. However, it is easily adaptable to fit many different jar sizes.  Upcycle your glass jars into illuminated lace.

Pattern information can be found here: Zinnia Votive

So many uses!

Gifts for all occasions including, teacher gifts, get well and thinking of you gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, and housewarming gifts.

Use as wedding favors.  Crochet in the colors of your wedding and place one at each table. Use battery powered tea lights (get long lasting ones!) for breathtaking lighting on your special day.

Slip one on each jar of jam you give as a gift.  Include a votive with how-to instructions so the recipient may enjoy your gift long after the sweet treat is enjoyed.

Gift with fresh cut flowers inside.  Include a votive with how-to instructions so the recipient may enjoy your gift long after the flowers have faded.

Make a variety of them in different sizes (the pattern is easily adaptable!). Arrange on a picnic table and enjoy a romantic dinner for two.

The sleeves work up quick and use very little yarn/thread. They make great craft fair and fundraiser projects.  A thrifty and eco-friendly craft.

Spiffy

UNsquared-Granny-Super-Scarf-granny-square-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins #CbyDH

New Pattern Alert: The UNsquared Granny Super Scarf

Sometimes grannies can be so…square.

UNsquared-Granny-Super-Scarf-granny-square-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins #CbyDH

It is time to UN-square the granny!  The UNsquared Granny Super Scarf is a new twist on the classic motif.  Designed for heavy worsted/aran weight yarn, this easy pattern works up fast.  The result is a beautiful scarf which makes a great gift.   Pattern includes a partial chart to help illustrate the stitch placement. And the pattern is easily adaptable for different yarn weights and/or sizes.

Gift idea! New high school graduate heading off to college in the fall?  Crochet one in his or her college colors.

Don’t forget, all Crochet by Darleen Hopkins patterns available on Ravelry are Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE! No coupon needed.  Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your total.  How cool is that??

AlienLoveysWebsiteBanner

The 2017 Gift-A-Long is here!

The 2017 Gift-A-Long is here!

GAL 2017This is the fifth year for the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long and I’m super excited for it to begin. What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

Basically, 311 indie designers of knit and crochet patterns, have banded together to support each other and help everyone get their holiday to-do list done while having a lot of fun and possibly winning patterns and yarn and kits and lots of other fiber finds.

In a nutshell there are:
311 designers from 31 countries with lots and lots of donated free patterns to win as well as physical prizes.

There are over 18,000 patterns to knit or crochet that will make you eligible to win one (or more) of the fabulous prizes.  Of the over 18,000 patterns, 5,300+ of them will be on SALE for 25% off!  Yup! Big Savings so stock up on your favorites.  The sale runs from Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm US EST to Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 11:59 pm US EST.

There will be Pinterest boards and Ravelry Bundles available to peruse for all the sale patterns.  Each designer has at least 5 and up to 20 patterns on sale. Once you get your sale pattern, check out the other patterns the designer offers.  All patterns are eligible for the KAL/CAL threads and all paid for patterns (self, or third party published) are eligible for prizes.  Did I mention the prizes??? Tons and tons of prizes but you gotta’ be in it to win!

Check the Ravelry group for more information.
You can find all my GAL eligible patterns here: Crochet by Darleen Hopkins on Ravelry

Confused?  Check out the FAQs!

Save

Aleteo Scarf a crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! The Aleteo Scarf, crochet

 

I’m super excited to share the latest #CbyDH  pattern! The Aleteo Scarf. This crochet pattern is very easy and is a great introduction to lace crochet.  The pattern includes written instructions as well as a chart and works up really quick.  I made the sample in a couple hours.  It even includes blocking instructions and photos.

Did you know? Aleteo is Spanish for “flutter”.

While I was taking photos of the sample scarf, a baby cardinal was taking her first flight. The nest was located in the bushes next to my front porch. All spring the parents guarded the nest. When I set up my camera and white board for the photos I had no idea what was about to happen. The baby was ready to take her first flight. She flew back and forth over my head searching for a safe place to land. I could feel the flutter of her wings as she passed above me. What fun it was to witness the beauty of nature up close.

You can work this scarf in yarn weights from 1 to 3 (fingering to dk). And you can easily adjust the length and/or number of stitches.

Pattern information can be found here: The Aleteo Scarf

And, like all my patterns, the Aleteo Scarf is included in the Crochet by Darleen Hopkins Buy 2 Patterns, Get a 3rd for FREE! sale on Ravelry. No coupon needed.  Enjoy!

Shells of Love baby blanket crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

 

Crocheted Aliens in the Western US

Annie’s Adventures

Annie the Alien went on an exciting adventure this past summer. She joined us on our road trip from Georgia to Las Vegas, NV and everywhere in between.  From the bright lights of the Vegas Strip to some of the most breathtaking vistas in the United States, Annie enjoyed them all.  She wanted to share with you some of her favorite sites.   Psst! See below for a special offer in honor of National Crochet Month, 2017!

annie-the-alien-in-las-vegas

Somehow a pink alien fit right in at infamous Las Vegas!

annie-the-alien-enjoying-the-breathtaking-view-of-bryce-canyon

Annie the Alien LOVES Bryce Canyon.  She didn’t want to leave…. Annie will be back.  I’m sure of it.  And she will bring her brother Arnie to see it all.

annie-the-alien-enjoys-the-views-of-the-grand-canyon

Annie the Alien enjoys the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  The North Rim is so peaceful.  We saw very few humans at the overlooks.   BTW, the black bean soup at the little snack bar at the North Rim Visitor’s Center is REALLY GOOD!

annie-the-alien-at-the-grand-canyon-north-rim

Another view of Annie the Alien at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. WOW! It is AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!!!

annie-the-alien-hiked-in-arches-national-park

Annie the Alien started this hike at 6am to avoid the 110 degree weather. Boy, was it worth it! The arch is HUGE!!!!!  Do you see the person in the middle of the arch and one on the left side?

Want to make your own Annie (or Arnie)? You CAN! In honor of National Crochet Month, 2017, the Arnie and Annie Baby Lovey Crochet Pattern is FREE with any Crochet by Darleen Hopkins purchase on Ravelry. Yup! With the purchase of any of my self-published patterns on Ravelry and coupon code “AnnieNatCroMo2017“, you can get the pattern for free. Happy Crocheting! Valid during the month of March 2017 only (expires 3/31/2017 11:59 PM EST)  Use this link to get started. The pattern and the coupon are already added to your cart.  You just need to figure out what other pattern you would like by clicking on “View all available items” at the top of the page. ENJOY!

AlienLoveysWebsiteBanner

Save

Save

New Pattern Alert! Tiffany Scarf, crochet

New Pattern Alert! Tiffany Scarf, crochet

I’m super excited to share the latest #CbyDH  pattern! The Tiffany Scarf.  Create a beautiful lace scarf with this easy crochet pattern.  If you use the suggested yarn, you can make the scarf as it is written with just one ball!  Written for fingering weight yarn but instructions are provided to adjust the length for any gauge and any weight from lace to DK.  The scarf is stitched the lengthwise.  A chart is included with the full written instructions.  The entire scarf can be completed in just a few hours.

So, why is it called the Tiffany Scarf?  I don’t know!  I just thought it fit. 🙂

Pattern information can be found here: The Tiffany Scarf

And, like all my patterns, the Tiffany Scarf is included in the Crochet by Darleen Hopkins Buy 2 Patterns, Get a 3rd for FREE! sale on Ravelry. No coupon needed.

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Save

It is almost time for the 2016 Gift-A-Long!

2016-stats

The 2016 Gift-A-Long is about to begin!

This is the fourth year for the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long and I’m super excited for it to begin. What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

Basically, 335 indie designers of knit and crochet patterns, have banded together to support each other and help everyone get their holiday to-do list done while having a lot of fun and possibly winning patterns and yarn and kits and lots of other fiber finds.

In a nutshell there are:
335 designers from 33 countries.
Lots and lots of donated physical prizes, and more coming in…(2015 had over 150)
Over 2,200 digital prizes (patterns!)

There are over 17,500 patterns to knit or crochet that will make you eligible to win one (or more) of the fabulous prizes.  Of the over 17,500 patterns, 5,106 of them will be on SALE for 25% off!  Yup! Big Savings so stock up on your favorites.  The sale runs from Tuesday, November 22nd at 8:00 pm US EST to Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm US EST.

There will be Pinterest boards and Ravelry Bundles available to peruse for all the sale patterns.  Each designer has at least 5 and up to 20 patterns on sale. Once you get your sale pattern, check out the other patterns the designer offers.  All patterns are eligible for the KAL/CAL threads and all paid for patterns (self, or third party published) are eligible for prizes.  Did I mention the prizes??? Tons and tons of prizes but you gotta’ be in it to win!

Check the Ravelry group for more information.
You can find all my GAL eligible patterns here: Crochet by Darleen Hopkins on Ravelry

Confused?  Check out the FAQs!

Save