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Today I have a new tutorial for you! Awhile ago I saw a pin on Pinterest of a mesh market bag with little pom-poms hanging from it. I thought it was just so cool, so I had to figure out how to make one. As usual, I had zero idea what I was doing, so if I can do this, so can you!
You will need:
1 spool (50 yards) of cotton cording (I used this stuff)
1 wire coat hanger (or some other bendy thing you can make a circle out of)
1 plastic coat hanger (the kind with the clips)
Band-aids (trust me)
First let me explain the band-aids. I learned about three rows into this project that yanking on cotton cording repeatedly and with force is roughly equivalent to taking a cheese grater to your skin. Once you start knotting, take a second to figure out where the cords are rubbing, and put some band-aids on. Seriously. I have matching blisters on my forefingers that are so painful they woke me up last night! It's gross. It looks like I have finger herpes. BAND-AIDS people. If you don't use them and you end up with blisters, I will laugh at you. Not really. But I will sniff disapprovingly.
Anyway. My last post mentioned chartreuse dye. This is what it was for! I used iDye, and.... Really I hate to say it, cause I don't like the idea of bashing stuff here, but I cannot in good conscience recommend this stuff. Really, it's crap. I've used it a bunch of times because it comes in some awesome colors, and EVERY time I've used it, I've been disappointed. The colors always seem to come out blaaaah, and then they bleed, bleed, bleed. And yes, I follow the directions. I've tried salt, vinegar, and even chemical anti-bleed agents. None of it worked. The man has a whole stash of pink clothes because of some red dye I used once. Fortunately he likes pink. Cause he's a real man.
Anyway, this time was no exception. I wanted chartreuse (I've been obsessed with that color lately!) but ended up with more of a... I dunno, maybe wasabi? Yeah. It's kind of a wasabi color. Luckily I like the color, so it's all good. I left a section of cord undyed, because I wanted a stripe of natural white in the bag. You can do that too, or dye it a different accent color. I think blue would look cool, or mustard yellow.
First you need to measure out the cord. Now, I was absolutely convinced when I was making this that I didn't have enough cord. Turns out 50 yards is perfect!
Measure out one 85 inch length of cord and cut. Use that piece to measure out 17 more pieces, all the same length. You'll use the remainder for the drawstring top, which is also where you'll start knotting from. So you should have 18 pieces, plus the one extra piece.
Okay, so this is the rig I used. You have to have a way to hang the bag as you make it, because otherwise you'll just cuss a lot and not get anywhere. And maybe spill your coffee everywhere when you get frustrated and slam the mug down on a shelf. This may have happened.
I took a wire coat hanger and snipped off the twisted ends. And when I say "I," you should hear "Travis," cause I have this weird phobia of wirecutters and would almost certainly find a way to lose a toe or something if I were to try to do it myself. After clipping off the ends, Travis used some pliers to bend the tips just enough so they could hook together (take a look at the picture below, the one after the next one). The reason for this is that you need to be able to slide the wire out when you're done.
So then bend the wire into the shape of a circle, about 1 foot in diameter, and hook the ends together. Then find somewhere to hang your plastic clippy coathanger from. I used the light fixture in our breakfast room. Tie a few pieces of yarn to the wire circle and then clip it to the coathanger, like in the picture above. Fiddle with it until it hangs horizontally.
Now take your remainder piece of cord and double it up, then twist it around the coathanger. This will be your foundation cord, as well as the drawstring for the bag. Tie it off in a loose knot.
This is how you make a "lark's head" knot:
That's the knot you'll use to attach all the cords to the foundation cord. Take one of your 85" cords, fold it in half, then take the looped end and put it behind the wire/foundation cord. Then bend it down over the wire, and draw the hanging end through the loop. Then pull it tight.
Do that for all the rest of the cords, spaced an inch or two apart, until you get this:
I used a triangle knot for the rest of the bag. It's a basic macramé knot, but I'm not going to try to explain it cause I'll just confuse you, probably. Look here for some really good, visual instructions. I imagine you could also use a square knot, but I didn't try that.
So, space your knots about an inch apart, as in the picture, and go around in rows. Pull the knots tight. They will work loose if you don't. (*sigh* this is before I realized I was getting nasty blisters. BAND-AIDS, minions!) Here is how it looks after the first row: (I swear I did not intentionally dress to match, lol)
As you get further down, start spacing the knots a little bit farther apart. You want it to be a little roomier in the middle of the bag.
These pictures are far too sane. How inaccurate.
I made about 9 rows total.
When your rows get near the bottom, start halving the distance between knots to decrease the size of the base, until you can't any more. Then, start skipping pairs of cords to make it smaller and smaller. This will make the fringe at the bottom too. Eventually you'll just get to the end, where you can't make any more knots.
I know that's kind of vague, but really I was just winging it. This bag is very forgiving of mistakes and messiness. Here's what the inside of the bottom looks like:
And the outside, with the fringe:
Now unhook the metal ring and slide it out. You'll have a nice drawstring handle, be careful not to accidentally pull it out! Untie your original knot and retie a stronger one near the end, where you want it. Sorry I don't have a pic of this step.
Trim the fringe ends to the length you want, and tie a little knot in the end of each one to prevent fraying. You can dab some fray-checker on the ends, or just use a bit of clear nail polish.
Now you're done with the bag!
I made a little pom-pom clip decoration to attach to the top.
It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but the multicolored pom-pom is actually a diamond shape. Did you know you can use clippers/beard trimmers to shave pom-poms into all sorts of shapes? Now you do. And so does the man. (oops)
I love this bag! It's the perfect size for fruits and veggies, it's tough, and it looks awesome! I hope you give it a try. It really wasn't difficult; it took maybe a couple hours total and only cost about $10 to make, including the dye.
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