Saturday, April 28, 2012 – Plastic Bag Crochet Workshop at The Magellan International School

This Saturday at the Magellan International School, I’ll be teaching a plastic bag crochet workshop from 2-2:30 for kids (ages 8-12 years old) and their parents. Details are below:

Día del Niño Verde will feature an innovative Pop-Up Adventure Playground created with recycled, reusable items. A Pop-Up Adventure Playground encourages children to create their own worlds out of everyday reusable items such as stacks of newspapers, tires, boxes, and ropes.  While it may be hard to envision these materials as toys, children unfailingly turn them into something fun and imaginative and have a great time doing so.

Other activities include bilingual workshops for all ages in environmental education topics, music demos by Semillitas de Español, children’s art and craft activities, our first MIS talent corner featuring student performances, local healthy food vendors, and a local Farmer’s Market with earth friendly products and services as well as fresh produce presented byGreen Gate Farms.

Little Miss Recycle will host an electronic waste (e-Waste) drive to collect unused and disposable electronics and electronic parts that cannot be disposed of through standard methods of waste collection and recycling. The drive preserves finite resources, and prevents health hazards which often occur as a result of improper electronic waste disposal.

Día del Niño Verde is being hosted by The Magellan International School which won the Green Ribbon School Award in 2011 and integrates green initiatives throughout its multi-cultural, multi-lingual curricula. The school strives to be a zero-waste campus and is co-hosting this annual event with Little Miss Recycle to inspire and educate the community.

Bearded Guerrilla Crochet Artists in Barcelona

A friend sent me this and I think it’s pretty cool.

A group of guerilla crochet artists in Barcelona crocheted beards, roped themselves into a little spot, and held a demonstration on the streets about the lack of men doing crafts. Here’s a site (in Spanish) detailing the project.

So it turns out that someone saw the demonstration, decided to have them entered into a street art competition. Here is an album of them at the competition. They got 2nd place and received a giant check for 2,500 euro.

Photos – “Something in the Water Exhibit” in Pittsburgh, PA

When I crocheted a breast for the Something in the Water exhibit, I didn’t think I’d actually get to see it.

But I recently flew up to Pittsburgh to help my grandma move, so off I went to the Jewish Museum to check out the exhibit. It was pretty cool to see the final creation of all the breasts sewn together!

Here are photos of the exhibit




Next to the reef of breasts, there was a map showing where all the participants in the project are from. Most are from the US, but there were also breasts sent from Australia, Brazil, and the Philippines.


Can you find me? I’m the only one from Austin, TX and there’s a photo of me wearing my crocheted breast as a hat.


An explanation of the exhibit is below, but I’m not sure how easy it is to read it…so I’ll replicate it here:

When I learned that mothers are passing toxins to their newborns through breast milk, it hit me like a ton of bricks. How could we have let this most sacred rite be tainted with such disregard for the world’s resources?

Plastic, the most prevalent component of ocean debris, threatens life on earth because it persists so long in the water. Over time, plastic breaks down into tinier and tinier bits that actually absorb other toxic chemicals. Fish that eat plankton feed mistakenly on these particles. Toxins then leach into fish tissues as they work their way up the food chain. Scientists believe that some of the toxins commonly found in breast milk may have originated from this source.

It occurred to me that many women who like to crochet and/or who have environmental concerns might be interested in participating in an international, collaborative eco-art project to address this issue. The response was overwhelming! Three groups formed in Pittsburgh and from there it spread as far as Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. Visit our blog ( to find out more about the project.

Special thanks to all participants!


Something in the Water Exhibit

Tonight is the opening night for the Something In the Water exhibit I collaborated on (referred to in a previous post – here).

A message from Wendy Osher, who organized the crocheted breast project:
Dear Out of Town SIW Crocheters,
Here is the email I sent out to local people. Tonight is the opening. Wish you all could be here. I have your photos posted with a world map indicating where everyone lives as well as all your names and locations on the collaborator list. I will send some photos of the installation soon. After 30 people hrs trying to install the piece on a genie lift, we had to reinvent the installation and float it just off the ground. We were not going to be able to complete it before the deadline when it was hanging from the 30′ ceiling. But it looks really great. Thank you all!

Maybe my most ambitious project to date, Something in the Water, a collaboration with women across the country and abroad who crocheted breast shapes from plastic bags, is on view for the first time Saturday evening. Please join us!

Don’t miss this opportunity to see how fifteen artists’ face water issues in their own ways in. Too Shallow For Diving/The 21st Century is Treading Water. This is my first experience with the wonders of a viral project on the internet.
Please join me!
Tim Collins and Reiko Goto, Jim Denney, Vanessa German, Prudence Gill, Jamie Gruzska, Richard Harned, Roger Laib, Lisa Link
Maritza Mosquera, Wendy Osher, Ann T. Rosenthal and Steffi Domike, Carolyn Speranza and Frank Ferraro, David Stairs
Additional information can be found at:

Here are some photos of the crocheted plastic bag breast I contributed. I think it looks more like a hat than a breast.

Knitted Wonderland at the Blanton Museum: The Exhibit is Up!

Our exhibit is up!

This past Friday, Lela and I gathered at the Blanton Museum with all our fellow crocheters/knitters/weavers to sew up our tree sweaters.

The exhibit should be up for a few weeks.



Heather Sutherland, organizer of the Knotty Knitters meetup group, was in charge of crocheting directional arrows on trees around the UT campus.

And here’s a map showing where ours is in the grand scheme of things. We’re tree #55.



It looks like this. Yay!


As soon as our tree was all wrapped up, an ant came by to inspect it.


Here are closeups of some of the other trees:







More pics of the event can be found here.

Previous posts about this event can be found here:

Calling All Plastic Bag Crocheters: Make Some Plastic Bag Breasts!

Fellow plastic bag crocheter Wendy Osher is working on an interesting eco-art project that involves crocheting used plastic bags into breast shapes.
The project aims to highlight our dependency on plastic bags and their contribution to the toxins in our water (that is then passed on to infants through mothers’ breast milk). This project will be displayed in an art exhibition about water on May 2011 at the American Jewish Museum in Pittsburgh, PA.

In preparation for the exhibit, Wendy is collecting crocheted plastic bag breasts! All contributions must be received by April 1 so that she can join them all together into a floating reef. Everyone who contributes will be acknowledged for their collaboration and it just sounds like a really fun project to get involved with. I plan to send her a breast. Do you crochet or know someone who does? Why not make a breast too?

You can learn more about this project, how to get involved, and specific project guidelines at Wendy’s site: Something In the Water.

*Wendy recommends using H-J sized hooks, so that the shapes are tightly crocheted and take on more sculptural forms. And her main submission guideline is that the colors the nipple strongly contrast with the rest of the breast.

To get an idea of what a crocheted breast looks like, I found a few photos on her site:

Knitted Wonderland Project Update

Lela and I have been hard at work on our tree sweater for the Knitted Wonderland art installation.

I finished the top half of the tree trunk, creating random strips in Tunisian crochet.

Lela is being more systematic about her half and is knitting nice color coordinated pinstripes.

We met up last weekend for an initial fitting and it looks great so far!

It’s been a fun project, but much more labor intensive than I expected. I’m sure everyone uses different terminology to refer to it…but here’s how it’s being described by Austin 360:

‘This is the museum’s contribution for “Explore UT,” the University of Texas’ annual open house. The “Knitted Wonderland” project is a collaboration with Magda Sayeg, the Austin knitter behind recent instances of “knit graffiti” such as the Lamar Boulevard underpass, and similar commissions all over the world.

Borrowing the vernacular of graffiti to talk about a monster team of knitters who adorn public objects is definitely a stretch, but it probably sounds a lot cooler to say you’re “yarn-bombing” 99 trees at the Blanton than to say you’re laboring for 20 to 40 hours to cover a tree for the sake of arts and crafts.’

The full article can be found here.

Knitted Wonderland at The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, TX

The Blanton Museum of Art (at the the University of Texas at Austin) will soon be exhibiting “Knitted Wonderland,” a knitted art project that involves knitting colorful, striped cozys for 93 trees in the Blanton courtyard. This is a community project initiated by Magda Sayeg, founder of Knitta Please. She has done some pretty cool stuff all around the world, which you can check out hereThis one is probably my favorite.

Anyway, over 100 people showed up for the initial meeting, so some of us will be working in pairs. Here is a picture of everyone measuring their trees in the courtyard.


My friend and knitting buddy, Lela, and I will be working together on our tree: #55.





We finally acquired the yarn and will be meeting up tomorrow to start knitting! I’ll post about our progress as it develops.

You can also stay updated on the project through the Knitted Wonderland Facebook page.

Plastic Bag News – West Virginia Group Crochets Plastic Sleeping Mats for Homeless

Here’s an article from the Charleston Gazette about a church group in West Virginia that crochets plastic bags into sleeping mats for homeless people!

Here’s a quote I like from the article: “Once you learn one simple stitch, it’s easily done. Anyone can do it.” And as many people I’ve taught can attest, this is a true statement.


Read full article here.


June 2, 2010

By Veronica Nett

Staff writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Melissa Starcher had an overflow of plastic shopping bags in her kitchen, when she heard about a way to recycle the bags for the homeless.

Starcher, a Charleston attorney, was driving to work in November when she heard a story on the radio about a group with the Lutheran Church Charities in Minneapolis who were crocheting plastic bags into large sleeping mats to donate to local charities.

The idea stuck, and Starcher took it to her mother, who heads the Coopers Creek chapter of the Community Education Outreach Service, a program affiliated with the West Virginia University Extension Service and 4-H.

The group of 26 women jumped on the idea. For more than six months, they have been collecting and crocheting plastic bags into sleeping mats.

Last month, they brought 11 mats to the Union Mission in Charleston to be distributed to those in need. Starcher expects missions across the state to see an influx of the plastic mats in coming months.

The project has been selected as the statewide Community Education Outreach Service project for next year, Starcher said. Several church organizations and women’s groups have also picked up the idea, she said.

“It’s a great stress reliever,” Starcher said. “I can knit intricate things. When it comes to crochet, I basically make a bunch of knots. With this, it’s the same thing over and over. Once you learn one simple stitch, it’s easily done. Anyone can do it.”

While crocheting the mats is fairly easy, making them from scratch is an involved process, she said.

Each mat is made from up to about 400 to 700 bags, and it can take up to 100 hours to make an average 3-foot-by-6-foot mat, she said.

The women collect the plastic shopping bags, then cut them into strips that are looped together to create “plarn.”

“Walmart, Kroger and the Purple Onion, you can see them all in [a mat],” said Andrew Beckner, director of development at the Union Mission.

On Wednesday, Beckner and a pastor with the mission drove around Charleston as part of their daily outreach effort to touch base with the homeless in the city, and to pass out the mats.

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