Local woman creatively recycles plastic bags

Rockford resident Virginia Hammer has found a way to make “disposable” plastic bags fulfill a need and keep them out of the landfill. She brought a sample of a small, attractively crocheted tote bag to The Rock River Times. We asked her for more details about the project.

TRRT: Where did you get the idea for making these reusable bags?

Virginia Hammer: It was from a gal I go to the YMCA warm-water exercise with. She took a class on how to make them. I’ve been making them and sharing them with everyone.

TRRT: How many sizes are there?

VG: You can actually make them any size you’d like. It depends on how long you crochet the bottom. The small bag has 21 stitches in it. You can make it as large as you want. I’m careful not to make it real big because you can’t put, like, 20 pounds in them. But I have made some with 30 stitches. You can make them 35, 40. Then, after you get the base firm, you can single crochet the base and then double crochet in chain one, and then you skip one and do your double crochet down into the next one. You just keep going around and around until you have it as tall as you’d like.

TRRT: Have you thought of starting a business to sell these bags?

VG: Actually, the East Branch [Rockford Public] Library has some there. I belong to the Red Hat Club, and another lady suggested selling them there. She said, “My granddaughter would love to sell them there.”

TRRT: Anything else you’d like to tell us?

VG: One woman who saw me making them one time said, “That would be perfect to take my water bottle and a book with me while I’m waiting to get into the doctor’s office.” They [bags] don’t run because plastic lasts forever. It takes at least 20 or 25 plastic grocery bags to make one (the small one). I also use the bags that newspapers come in, so there are blue ones, orange ones, clear ones. It takes quite a few. You have to cut them in 1-inch strips, and then you join those together, and then you start crocheting.

From the Sept. 21-27, 2011, issue

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