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Plastic bag crocheters spread their word

Created date

September 21st, 2009
MA_1009_PLASTIC
MA_1009_PLASTIC

[caption id="attachment_3120" align="alignright" width="228" caption="Linden Ponds Knit n Crocheters create new accessories from old plastic bags, which they use as yarn to crochet. A handbag, like those pictured above, may require as many as 150 plastic bags, depending on its size. (Photo by Setarreh Massihzadegan) "][/caption] Word of Linden Ponds Plastic Bag Knit n Crocheters has made its way far beyond the walls of the community s creative arts studio. With the group s influence, people around the country have also learned to fashion their own accessories from plastic bags.

Plastic trends

Althea Walton, the group s founder and leader, has made it her mission to get used plastic bags out of the trees and into stylish pieces, from handbags to floor mats. Since last summer when the group of ladies was featured in the Tribune, they have shared their know-how with children and adults alike. Walton discovered the craft nearly a decade ago at a local museum, taught herself to replicate it, then wrote and printed her own how-to booklet to teach others. The process begins by cutting plastic bags into strips, which become the yarn to crochet. A handbag might require as many as 150 plastic bags, depending on its size. The more plastic bags that go into each project, the better, Walton says. We ve been hoping that people would learn to do it themselves and be able to use the bags up, she says. That s the whole idea. The trend seems to have caught on. Walton had only sold a few of her $3 booklets when the story appeared in The Erickson Tribune in July 2008. In the year since then, Walton estimates that she sold about 50 of them, and the requests keep coming.

Crafts across generations

The Knit n Crocheters volunteered their time earlier this year to teach the craft to a group of sixth graders at the William Gould Vinal School in Norwell, Mass. They had never crocheted before so it was an experience for us to try to teach them, says Estelle Katz, who lives at Linden Ponds and is one of the group s first members. It was a thrill at the end when they came out with their bags [they had made]. Walton says she will be making a bag for a silent auction this fall at another of the local schools and has already been tapped to supply samples and information for an Earth Day celebration next spring. Friends of the Knit n Crocheters have also been working to get the plastic creations sold in stores. It s spreading outside of Linden Ponds into the community, Walton says.

Crocheting together

Within Linden Ponds, the craft is also catching on to new people, though some of the group s original members have remained loyal to the weekly meetings since they began two years ago. Now, the Monday afternoon meetings also include a group that knits prayer shawls for Renaissance Gardens, the health care neighborhood at Linden Ponds. Led by Katz, the knitting group created more than 80 shawls in the first eight months of meeting. The combined meetings of knitters and crocheters have sparked their interest in each other. Some of the ones that have made plastic bags have made a shawl, Katz says. It seems there will be no shortage of either craft, and the plastic accessories will most likely be sold in the annual Linden Ponds Artisan Fair this November. Before I came here, I must have given away over 100 as gifts, Walton says of her plastic creations. I have no idea how many I ve done over the years I quit even keeping track.

Want to participate?

Anyone unable to visit the class, held Mondays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Derby Clubhouse at Linden Ponds, can request one of Walton s short instructional booklets by sending a card with name, address, telephone number, and $3 (including $1 for postage) to: Althea Walton, 204 Linden Ponds Way, WC 224, Hingham, MA 02043.

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