Friday, February 27, 2009

Welcome signs of spring

This is a very happy post quite suitable for a Friday. The apartment complex we moved into in the fall is not a fancy place and has very little in the way of landscaping. So as the fall turned colder, I did some last-minute guerrilla bulb planting knowing that the Michigan winter would be long and I would need a healthy dose of spring when the time came. I put in about twenty daffodils and tulips in the shared courtyard space. I began looking for signs of them a week or two ago because we had had a bit of a warm spell and I was afraid I hadn't really planted them deep enough. I wasn't really expecting to see anything since it is only February, but today, what did I spy…

Yes, that's right. Some very early signs that there will in fact be a spring here. I do hope it isn't too early and they don't shrivel up and freeze away. But I was reassured and delighted to find that there were already some bulbs around and they, too, are peaking out, so all should be okay. We should have some spring color before too much longer. Yippee!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nothing's for free

What to do with all of those plastic bags piling up in the kitchen, under the sink, in the coat closet? A while back I decided I would knit them together into a tote bag. Clever me would be able to tote my groceries in a bag of grocery bags. I had just read through Mason-Dixon Knitting and was inspired by a rug made by looping together cotton potholder handles into one big ball of yarn. That would be fun, but at $5/bag of loops, the rug would cost $100. Not such a good deal. Hence the bag on the cheap: free in fact.

I became extreme — rinsing out the thin little produce bags, saving the bag from the carrots. We had damp, limp plastic bags draped over every available surface in the kitchen. Slipped over the utensil jar, hanging off the pot rack, propped up by the soap dispenser.
I didn't pay close enough attention to the fact that in the book, the author had her children loop together the yarn. Hmm, I realize now that this was for a reason. IT'S DAMN TEDIOUS!

You flatten out each bag and then cut it into horizontal slices. these slices are then connected by slipknots forming a chain. The chain is then wound into a ball.
Four months later, and I am stuck on this step. I spent several hours one evening hunched on the floor connecting the loops. By the end of this session, I could barely straighten my back and was cursing the plastic. (OK, so maybe next time I should sit with better posture. Whatever.)

We are still saving bags. the difference now is that I wad them up and shove them into a bigger bag — complete with water, mud, etc. still clinging to them. This makes my next session of chain-making even less appealing. But dammit, I want that bag. The boy had generously offered to help cut them up and loop them together while we watch movies at night, but who really wants to do that? Me reclining on the couch with a pair of scissors and a beer doesn't seem like a good idea, non?

But I did just check online and found a great-looking knitted plastic bag bag at DIY Network and they say to cut the bags in one long spiral from top to bottom and then just knot together with next. I may have to try this technique since it entails just one cut and knot per bag… hmmm, I'll keep you posted.