Today I saved the world.
Well. I mean ... I saved a little bit of the world.
Fine, I saved a plastic bag, all right? Geez, QUIT INTERROGATING ME.
On my quest for a simpler, greener life, one of the decisions I made was to start using my own bags at the store instead of using the plastic bags that are provided.
I began by making this bag:
Pattern: Everlasting Bagstopper
Yarn: Peaches 'n Cream in Gum Drop, about two and 3/4 skeins
Needles: US sizes 6 and 10
Modifications: I added some extra knit rows to the bottom, because I'm always buying little things, like nail polish or gum, and I don't want them to fall out of the bag. Also, I knit the handles instead of sewing on ribbon handles.
This is a super-quick knit, and it's really easy. I could have finished it in two days, except I didn't feel like watching tv (that's when I knit). It actually took four days, which isn't that long, really.
Even though I'd seen pictures of other people's finished bags on Ravelry stuffed to the gills, I was still a little skeptical when I cast off the final stitch.
"Well," I sighed, "at least I'll be able to carry a few apples."
The hardest thing to do--much, much harder than the actual knitting of the bag--was pull it out in the store and ask the clerk to please use MY bag instead of a plastic one. I don't like making waves, I don't like drawing attention to myself, I don't like vainglorious statements; I just want to do my thing and leave (which is why every store in the world should have a self-checkout counter).
But then I thought--and this is what I always say to myself to psych myself up--"Mei Flower, you are thirty-two years old. You do not have to explain yourself or your motives, and if people look at you funny, that is THEIR problem and NOT YOURS."
I always feel better after I thought-yell at myself.
So I politely said to the cashier at Hobby Lobby, "I'd like to use my bag, please," and she said, "Okay," and that was it. I don't know if the people behind me thought anything rude or made faces, because I didn't look at them.
I admit that I had a brief vision of myself looking down my nose at them and saying, "I OBVIOUSLY care about the environment more than you do," or some kind of self-righteous something that would have been completely hypocritical and ridiculous. Instead, I just swung my bag off the counter and walked out the store without making a peace sign or anything.
When I got home, I had to pull a giant box out of the trunk, and I only wanted to make one trip, so I stuffed all my school stuff and mail into the bag on top of my Hobby Lobby purchases.
It's amazing how much it stretches! Right now it's holding nine skeins of yarn (to make three more bags), my lunch box, two 32 oz. water/tea bottles, a book, my mail, and something else that I forgot about but was impressed by at the time. The point is THAT'S A LOT OF STUFF.
Eventually, I'll get up enough courage to go to Kroger and do my actual grocery shopping--PLASTIC FREE. For today though, it's just been one tee-tiny step for mankind, and one GIANT step for me, Mei Flower.