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

Eco-Craft: Plastic Utensil Carrying Case

How Crochet can Reduce Single Use Plastic Waste.

reduce singl use plastic forks spoons with crochet pattern by darleen hopkins

Bringing Your Own Utensils has Never Looks So GOOD!

Do you remember when you were a kid and you always wanted to be first in line?  We all did because we all thought being first was the most important and no one wanted to be last.  The truth is in grade school it didn’t matter who was first as we were all important.   However, when it comes to the three R’s; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, while they are all important, REDUCE is probably the most important.  While all three are necessary in helping our planet, recycle should be your last resort as recycling requires energy.  If we reduce our consumption of items, there’s less to recycle.  And if we reuse what we have, there’s less to recycle.   Less to recycle means less energy used.  While recycling is good, it would be best of we all had less to recycle. Make sense?

So, what’s that got to do with a crochet blog?  Well, I’m passionate about two things, crochet and the Earth.  And when I can combine the two, I’m a real happy camper.  So I’m super excited to share with you how I have figured out how to reduce my use of disposable, single use plastic.

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

One day I was eating lunch out at one of my favorite casual dining restaurants (Moe’s) and as I was picking up a use once and toss fork, it hit me how wasteful it was.  We all know there’s too much single use plastic trash in this world and I knew I needed to come up with a way to bring my own utensils for this type of dining.  When I got home I pulled out my eyeglass case pattern sample and voila! it was the perfect size.  I placed a variety of forks, spoons and knives in a ziploc bag and placed them in the eyeglass case. The eyeglass case, now a utensil case, went right into my purse.  The plastic bag keeps the utensils clean while the soft cushioning of the crocheted fabric keeps the plastic from breaking.  Going forward, I will always have clean utensils with me and do not have to use the restaurant’s wasteful, disposal utensils. And when I use one of the utensils, I just wrap the dirty part in a napkin and bring it home to wash.  My choice is to use plastic ware in my utensil case, however, you could easily use your regular flatware.  You just may need to make your case a little longer to accommodate the longer knives.

You can find out more about the Eyeglass Case crochet pattern here: Pretty in Pink

Happy Crocheting!
Darleen

Pretty-in-Pink

 

 

Eco-Craft, an up-cycled tea cozy.

I love herbal teas and I love to drink tea while at work.  It helps to keep me warm as my office building is really cold.  Add to that I’m usually cold when others are not and that my job is sedentary and you get a very cold me.  I have a space heater, an extra sweater and a throw blanket in my office.   I just recently purchased an electric tea kettle and I love it.   However, I found that I had to keep reheating the water for my second and third cups of tea.  So the crafty in me kicked in and I decided it was time to make a tea cozy.

I got up early Saturday morning and while having a cup of coffee with my husband, we heard a bang and the power went out.  Great.  No power = no water = no shower. Thankfully he was already ready for work so he left.  Without power I had nothing to do.  There was enough daylight coming in so I decided I’d start working on the tea cozy. Rummaging through a box of pre-felted wool sweaters saved for a throw rug I hope to eventually make, I found this really cute striped sweater.  cozy-sweater-1

I pinned the sweater together and cut around the arms and neck.  I forgot to take a photo of this step so I drew on the cut lines, below.   If you are making one, you would want to make sure you have everything pinned together first and make sure your cuts are as even as possible.

cozy-sweater-3.jpg

The cozy was looking like it was going to be too tall so I trimmed off the bottom ribbing.  The sweater was originally a cardigan so I opened it and traced the shape onto eco-fi felt to use as a liner.  This felt is very cool as it is made out of 100% recycled bottles!cozy-sweater-2

At this point the electric company showed up and determined the cause of our problem was a poor squirrel.  The little guy got on the transformer thingy and was electrocuted.  😦 They trimmed back the tree limbs that were too close to the pole and replaced the damaged part and our electric was back on in a jiffy.  Thanks guys!!!  FYI-save the squirrels and keep your tree limbs well trimmed near power poles.  I know I will from now on.

With the power back I was able to steam the sweater and the felt so they were nice and smooth.  I trimmed the edges of the both the sweater and the eco-fi felt so they were even then trimmed the liner so it was just a little bit smaller than the sweater.  The next step was to sew the two end pieces together and across the top.

Next I turned the sweater inside out and sewed the opening closed and across the top.  Then turned it right side out.  This step probably would have been a lot quicker if I used a sewing machine.  My sewing machine and I don’t always get along so I decided to hand sew it.

cozy-sweater-4Next, the liner was inserted into the sweater and sewn together along the bottom seam.  I decided to sew the ribbing over bottom edge of the cozy to add some stability.  Last, some random buttons where sewn where the cardigan button holes were and a little tab was added to the top.  Success! An adorable tea cozy made of recycled and re-purposed materials!  If I had thought ahead, I would have added the trim, tab and buttons before sewing together and before adding the liner.  This may have saved some time.  But I was making it up as I went along and it worked out fine.  The end result would have been the same.  It was a fun project for a lazy Saturday.  I tested it out with my stove top kettle and it works great! I can’t wait to use it at work.

cozy-sweater-5Happy crafting!!

#familyfun tic-tac-toe game board crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Christmas in July – Whoo Hoo!

It is Christmas in July Time!

Christmas in July crochet pattern saleMy youngest son loves going to thrift stores with me.  We have purchased some silly stuff and some useful stuff and some fun stuff at thrift stores.  We both love the adventure of looking around and finding something unique.  So much of what we see in retail stores is the same.  I guess this is why I, like many others, enjoy crocheting.  We are making a one of a kind item, something you won’t see at Target or Kohl’s or the outlet mall.  Much of my house is decorated with thrift store treasures.

My youngest son also loves the nutcracker decorations that come out during the winter holidays.  We have a small collection (some previously purchased at thrift stores!)  When he was real little, he would line the nutcrackers up like opposing armies in battle formation or marching.  So when we walked into the store and saw a 15″ nutcracker for sale he was really excited.  Initially I was hesitant because I try to avoid having too many knick-knacks and such in the house.  I’ve been called an “anti-hoarder” before.  And my other nutcrackers are more traditional yet this nutcracker was golf themed.  But, he made a convincing argument.  He said, “Look.  It’s wearing a knitted sweater”.  Yeah, I couldn’t argue with that.  We had to get him.  Besides, it’s Christmas in July time!

Hot Pads Snowman Gingerbread Man Peppermint Facebook

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Repurposed Crib for Yarn Storage

Re-purposed Crib Yarn Storage

yarn storage out of repurposed crib #CbyDH

Crib re-purposed into beautiful yarn storage.

About a year ago, I picked up a used crib.  I had asked the manager at a local thrift store to please let me know if she received a crib that she couldn’t resell as I was looking for one to use as a photo prop.  She called me a few weeks later letting me know she had a crib and a changing table.  She couldn’t sell them because they were recalled.  Since I didn’t plan to use them for a baby she said if I was interested she would let me have them for $10.  SOLD!

 

Shells of Love crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Changing table saved from the trash.

I was super excited.  Right away I painted the changing table white and used it for photos and for storage when I wasn’t using it as a prop. Because the changing table worked so well both as a prop and for storage, I decided I didn’t need the crib after all.  It spent some time on my covered porch while I tried to determine if I could/would ever use it.  When I finally decided I did not need it I recycled the metal springs and posted the wood pieces for re-purposing.  I couldn’t bring myself to toss them in the trash as they were in good shape.  When nobody responded, I put them under the porch and thought I’d try again in a few weeks.  Then this morning, while taking a shower, I had a EUREKA moment; use the crib slats as yarn storage.  It was so simple and so awesome!  Originally I wanted to hang the slats.  I also thought I needed spacers between it and the wall.  But when I started filling the slats up with yarn to see if it would really work I realized I didn’t need any of that.  Propping it up against the wall is perfect!  Easy-Peasy.  The room has carpeting in it so it shouldn’t slide at all.  AND the crib has another piece just like this!!  I plan to pull out the other one, clean it up and fill it up with more of my yarn stash!  I know I have enough.  One day I will work through all this stash…one day.

 

 

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Crocheted shorts pattern – OMG I found one!

A while back I posted about men in crocheted pants.  That post has become quite a hit-obviously, who wouldn’t want to see men in crocheted pants!  I get a lot of emails asking where to get the patterns.  And I have always had to respond “Sorry, I don’t know.”  Until now.

crocheted shorts by eco-create

Pattern and photo by Kirstie Adamson with EcoCreate. Photo used with permission.

These amazing crocheted shorts can now be made with the awesome pattern by Kirstie Adamson.   I haven’t tried the pattern…yet.  I’m envisioning a pair of capris in blues and greens.  I have the perfect yarn.  I just need to find the time, and the guts, to go for it.   If you decide to make a pair of these shorts, please let me know.  I’d love to see them!!!  The link for the pattern is here: Crochet Shorts Pattern by Kirstie Adamson.  While you are there, check out the website and blog for some great upcycling ideas and tips.

crochet patterns for men

Crochet Potholder Swap!

Potholder swap 1 WEB

First completed potholder for the swap!

I’ve always loved potholder patterns.  There are so many cute, silly and fun patterns available.   I have a lot of crocheted potholders.  They were my first crochet projects.   It was a great way to perfect my tension.  But because they were so simple, they are plain and not at all exciting and are showing some wear.  I’ve had them for about 10 years now.    So when I heard about a potholder swap, I was super excited.

I’ve never participated in any swaps before and have always been curious about them.   I’ve learned that you make the item then mail it along with return postage to whomever the organizer of the swap may be.  She (or he) sorts them all and mails you an item made by another person.  For this swap we are each making three potholders of the same pattern.  The colors can vary but the pattern is to be consistent.  Then, we will receive back three potholders made by three different people!  I think it will be awesome to see the work of others.

I had a heck of a time deciding on which pattern to use.  I was tempted to go whimsical.  Many of my bib patterns could easily be converted to potholders and I was really leaning toward making three pigs (three little pigs, get it?)  But then I saw this Granny Stitch Potholder pattern by Recycle Cindy.  I thought it was adorable and genius in its simplicity.   And I’m really into grannies lately as I’m working on three different pattern designs that incorporate granny squares.  So, the combination of this cute potholder pattern with my quest to work from stash and I quickly became hooked (sorry, no pun intended).

So far I’ve completed one potholder.  Each one is using up a lot of scraps, which is great but results in a ton of ends to weave in.  My goal is to get them in the mail this weekend.  I have a lot of weaving and crocheting to do to in order to finish!

Are you interested in participating?  Check out the Ravelry group here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/2016-potholder-swap

hotpadsHot Pads-Peppermint Pals, Snowman and Gingerbread Man

New Pattern Alert! The Modern Tote

New #CbyDH Pattern Alert! The Modern Tote is now available!

crochet pattern for a bog. The Modern Tote by Darleen HopkinsAn easy and versatile tote bag for you to make. Use yours as a gym bag, a project bag, a take my lunch and other necessities to work bag, a book bag, a beach bag, a large purse, or make yours in thinner yarn for a smaller purse. Whatever purpose it is made for, it will look fantastic. Pattern is written for heavy worsted/aran weight but it can be made in any weight yarn. Your bag will vary in size if you use different yarn.

Find out more about the pattern here: The Modern Tote

Modern Tote Bag crocheted by Jean, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Jean!

And check out these awesome totes made by some awesome pattern testers!  Interested in testing patterns?  Read this post, How to be a Crochet Pattern Tester.

Modern Tote Bag crocheted by Amanda, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Amanda!

Modern Tote bag crocheted by Sharon, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Sharon!

Modern Tote bag crocheted by Erika, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Ericka!

Modern Tote bag crocheted by Gina, Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Crocheted by Gina!

Modern Tote bag crochet pattern in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice. Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

I was so inspired by the testers that I made a second tote for myself! Crocheted in Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice.