Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mahjong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

Monday, January 11, 2016

And now to crochet something entirely different - a #handbag w author Patricia Kiyono #MFRWauthor #RsosSister #crochet #crafting

Handbag Monday welcomes author & crafter...

Patricia Kiyono writes sweet historical and contemporary romance. In a former life, she taught elementary school music and junior high history. Now, she teaches part-time at the college level, giving her more time for writing and doing crafts!
When I was young my grandmother taught me to knit and crochet. I’ve made lots of afghans, dishcloths, and other items as gifts. But in the last few months I’ve been busy making tote bags for my family and friends – and in the process I’m using up my stash of plastic bags!

I belong to a couple of different sewing groups and several of the women are what we refer to as Snow Birds – people who spend the winter in the south, thus avoiding our frigid Michigan winters. Most of these ladies participate in sewing groups in their winter communities. One spring after the Snow Birds had returned, the lady next to me chatted about all the new and interesting projects she’d worked on down south, including crocheting with plastic bags instead of yarn. Crocheting with plastic bags? I had a lot of them at home.

I went home and googled “plastic bag crochet” and got an endless assortment of instructions and patterns. I found one that looked easy and got to work. I made a small bag, which I use to carry my supplies when I go to my friend’s card-making workshop. I intended to make another, but ran out of bags – I was surprised to discover how many bags you need! So I saved them for a year or so. The grocery store where we do most of our shopping uses only white bags, so I got my mom and sister-in-law to save them too. And I saved some of the gray ones from a department store nearby.

By last Thanksgiving, I was ready to start again. I couldn’t find the pattern I’d used the first time, but I found another one I liked even better. I made three of them with various colored stripes. And then my mom told me she wanted one with a longer handle, so I made one for her.

If you like to crochet, this is a great way to keep busy without spending money – and you have the added benefit of clearing out some space in the closet, or wherever you keep your empty bags.

 Making the plastic yarn (some websites call it plarn):
1.      Lay out your bags so they’re nice and flat. I’ve been going through a lot of them, so I pile them up five or six high.
2.      Cut across the bags, starting at the bottom. Then continue to cut across the bags, making two-inch wide loops. It’s not necessary to use a cutting mat and rotary cutter. It’s not really crucial that your strips are exactly two inches wide or even a uniform width – but I’m fussy.
3.      Chain the loops together. Here’s a picture that MIGHT show you what I mean, but if it’s not clear enough for you, try this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/gQwTcizA7Oo  Some instructions will tell you to make really long chains and then roll them into balls, but I tend to just string them as I need them. The video also says to cut into one-inch strips, but that seems
4.      Crochet as you normally would with yarn! You’ll need some large hooks (the ones in my pictures were done with a size M hook.
Because of copyright issues I can’t share the instructions here, but you can find them at http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2007/07/03/crocheted-plarn-tote-bag/

I think I could have used a bag like this during my 2008 vacation to Greece. My daughter spent a semester there and I talked a friend into going with me to make sure she was eating right (we moms do what we have to, right?). Her school was located on Paros, a beautiful island in the Aegean Sea. After I got home I wrote my novella Aegean Intrigue while the details were still fresh.

Someone has been stealing priceless Greek artifacts and it's Alex Leonidis' job to uncover the thief. His prime suspect is beautiful archaeological graduate student, Francie Vasileiou. His plan is to join in an archaeological dig and catch her in the act. All he has to do is keep his mind on his job, and not on the way his lovely suspect warms his heart. He's learned the hard way not to trust fragile-looking women who seem to need his help. 
Francie wants to get her PhD and become an archaeologist, like her famous father. The sudden invitation to participate in a dig on the beautiful Greek island of Paros is a wonderful opportunity. She has no time for distractions like Alex, the handsome Project Director. Experience has taught her to stay clear of handsome, charismatic Greek men. 
On the shores of the Aegean Sea, Alex and Francie work together, searching for treasures from Greece's past. While pursuing their goals, they discover some of the truths they had believed to be carved in stone may have been flawed.
            He was staring at her again.
            She knew it, despite his outward lack of interest. His long, lean frame was draped casually on the wooden chair in the outdoor section of the Appolon Grill. Dark shades covered his eyes, but the jet-black eyebrows above them rose and tilted her way every timeshe moved. Unlike locals, who occasionally threw friendly greetings her way, this man stayed in his seat and silently watched her.
            Francie Vasileiou bent her head and focused her attention on the textbook in front of her. Inwardly, she was flattered by his interest. But she reminded herself she was here in Athens to further her education, not to find a man. She sipped her water and struggled to ignore him and concentrate on the words on the page.
            The warm breeze calmed her nerves as she sat at her usual table in the back corner of the restaurant. Most tourists preferred to sit at the outer edges of the seating area with a view of Mount Olympus and the spectacular sunset. But here, next to the kitchen, she wasn’t distracted by the conversation and the view. The light from the kitchen allowed her to continue reading until Kostos closed down for the night.
            Her job here at the restaurant was perfect. She worked enough hours so she could pay her living expenses, and when she wasn’t cooking or waitressing, Kostos allowed her to use one of his tables for studying. Even with the commotion from the kitchen and the restaurant patrons’ conversations, this setting was much better for concentrating than the noisy apartment building where she lived.
            It took some effort, but finally the words on the page became concrete ideas, and she was transported back in time to the world of ancient Greece, to the time of the patricians.

Would you like to have one of these bags? I made a special one for Vicki’s readers today! This one measures 16” wide and 12.5” high (from the bottom to the underside of the handle). Should be big enough for carrying a towel and beach supplies!
To win, leave a comment describing 
what you would use this bag for. 

Find Patricia Kiyono at:  website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, and on Goodreads.


Liese said...

Great post! I love the bags and the excerpt!

Thanks for sharing with Vicki!


Melissa Keir said...

Very talented!! I learned last night about felting wool. Congrats on your book Patti. I wish you all the best!

Patricia Kiyono said...

Thank you, Liese! I haven't been able to stop making them since I started. That may change as a new semester of school starts this week, but I'm having fun with it - and my friends and family are all doing their part to keep me supplied with plastic bags! I need to carve out writing time now.

Patricia Kiyono said...

Thank you, Melissa! I've seen felted wool, but that's something I haven't tried yet. Aegean Intrigue has been out for a while, but it's one of my favorite stories.

teena3940 said...

These look really cool. I visit my grandchildren a lot and this bag would be great for all my snacks and books. Card games that I take to their house. Thank you for the chance to win one!! Tina

Patricia Kiyono said...

Thanks for visiting, Tina! I know what you mean about taking stuff to visit the grandkids. This bag will definitely hold a lot of snacks and books!

Mary Lowery said...

I love the bag. It would be perfect for the beach. The book sounds very good! Thank you!

Mary Lowery said...

I love the bag. It would be perfect for the beach. The book sounds very good! Thank you!

Patricia Kiyono said...

Thanks for visiting, Mary! I agree, it's a great beach bag. I gave one to my sister-in-law who lives in North Carolina, and she told me she's already taken hers for her beach gear.

jbiggar said...

Beautiful handbag! I love how versatile crocheted bags are. Great post, I think your book needs to go on my TBR list :)

Patricia Kiyono said...

I agree, Jacquie. The bags are so fun to use. Thanks for visiting. Hope you like Aegean Intrigue!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Patricia! So glad you are here to visit with me and sharing your special bags. I do have bag envy!!!

Heare2Watts said...

Being that it is so lightweight, I would love it to take with me when I go to flea markets and antiquing. I love your creativity and diversity of talents. You are truly an amazing and gifted lady.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Patricia! I LOVE the bag! What a creative idea. I can't crochet, so I'm doubly impressed. So awesome!!!

Patricia Kiyono said...

Thank so much for having me, Vicki! I love reading about your craft projects, too.

Patricia Kiyono said...

The bag would definitely work well at a flea market, Kathy! Thanks so much for visiting.

Patricia Kiyono said...

I can't claim credit for the idea, Karilyn. There were lots of instructions and patterns online when I started doing this. Thanks for stopping in!

Marilyn Baxter said...

How cool! I just saw an article about a group here in my town who uses plastic bags and crochets sleeping mats for the homeless. The mat gives them a bit of cushioning and keeps the dampness away. I'll bet totes made from plastic bags would be good for them too. Thanks for sharing!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Marilyn! That is an awesome idea. And lightweight for carrying, cleaning a breeze.

Patricia Kiyono said...

Marilyn, the sleeping mats are an awesome idea! I wonder if they would be nice to make for my daughter when she goes camping. Thanks for stopping!

Patricia Kiyono said...

Thank you for all the comments! Random dot org has selected Marilyn Baxter as the winner! If you see this, please contact me at patriciakiyonoauthor@gmail.com so that I can get your mailing address!

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