Come Learn and Share Information about Recycling, Crocheting & Green Crafting

Homemade Laundry Soap

August 26, 2011 11 comments

I have wanted to make my own laundry soap for so long. I finally assembled the materials and supplies necessary to make my first batch of homemade laundry soap. Below I have outlined the process and results I obtained from my first attempt at laundry soap making.

After researching and reading many blog posts about making ones own laundry soap, I settled on the recipe that uses washing soda, borax, and Fels-Naptha bar soap. There are many different recipes with a few different changes for each homemade laundry soap if you research it. I followed this blog’s homemade laundry recipe to make my laundry soap using the following supplies to make a 2 gallon bucket of soap.

Large metal cooking pot at least 4 quarts or bigger
2 gallon plastic bucket for final soap container
1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team borax powder

Grate 1/3 of the bar of Fels-Naptha soap and place in cooking pot. Add 6 cups water and heat gently over low to medium-low heat stirring occasionally until the soap melts. Remove from heat. Then add the washing soda and the borax stirring until all ingredients are dissolved.

Pour 4 cups hot water into the plastic bucket. Now add the cooked soap mixture to the plastic bucket mix and stir well. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water to the plastic bucket mix and stir well again. Let the soap mixture sit at least 24 hours to gel. It doesn’t gel to a firm consistency but more like a runny egg white. I use about a half of a cup of soap to wash in my extra large top loader washer. The soap works great on spots too if you just apply a bit to any stains on your clothes.

Below you will find additional photos that show each step from above. Click on any photo to super-size it.

Here is 1/3 of a Fels Naptha bar of soap grated and ready for the cooking stage.

6 cups of water added for the cooking stage.

Homemade laundry soap with all water added and stirred in bucket.

Final result of laundry soap after setting up for 2 days.

Bottom line on this homemade soap — I love it. It works well and if you add a half cup of white vinegar to your final rinse cycle you won’t have any static cling and my line-dried clothes were soft too. I do think when I make this again I will cut down on the water to make a more concentrated soap. My final soap mix was a bit too runny but still works fine. I think if you add just the 1 gallon of water at the end and eliminate the last 6 cups of water, you would end up with a much better consistency of soap. Also this laundry soap is a low sudsing soap so don’t be alarmed when you don’t see […]

Diagonal Potholder & Dishcloth Set

August 21, 2011 1 comment

This week I am sharing my diagonal potholder and dishcloth set. I previously have attempted to crochet a diagonal potholder without much success. You probably have seen several different versions of this potholder pattern that you crochet on the diagonal. I have tried before to crochet one of these but it just didn’t turn out right. Well I decided after reading another crocheter’s blog about using the double thick potholder pattern with success that I would give the pattern a try.

My first attempt turned out okay but the potholder was way too small for my liking. So then using a H crochet hook, I chained 32 stitches to begin the pattern. The result is the potholder shown which is about 5-3/4″ square. I like this size much better and the corners are pretty straight. If your diagonal potholder isn’t real square, just try pulling on the corners as this helps straighten out the corners. I added a dishcloth using my open mesh magic dishcloth pattern to complete the matching set.

It’s been a busy week and I wanted to share some crocheting with you all. I will be back next week with a new pattern as I have been working on several new projects but just didn’t get any new patterns written and pictures taken yet. So until next time, happy crafting to all![…]

Plaid Plarn Wallet

August 14, 2011 4 comments

Creating plaid using recycled plastic bags has been on my to-do list for quite some time. This last week I finally set out on what I call my plaid plarn project. I wanted to keep it simple and small as I found making a plaid design with recycled plastic bags very challenging. It was a trial and error project which needed to be tackled on a small item until I could prefect my process. Needless to say, I got a bit frustrated but finally came up with this little wallet as my finished product.

Crocheting the surface chaining is a bit challenging to get the stripes straight. I had to work a few stitches a bit off to get my vertical stripe to look somewhat straight. Below is my piece once I was finished. It’s not perfect but that is the beauty of working with recycled crafts, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You are creating something new from trash so there is always beauty is each finished product. Hope you enjoy this plaid plarn project and remember it doesn’t have to be perfect for you to enjoy your wallet.

Plaid Plarn Wallet Pattern

Materials needed:
One ball of white plastic bags cut into plarn about ¾” wide
Small amount of salmon pink newspaper bags cut into plarn about ¾” wide
Here is my link for plarn making tutorials for newspaper and retail plastic bags.
1) 1/2” button

“J” (6 mm) size metal crochet hook
“H” (5 mm) size metal crochet hook for button loop

Description: Plaid plastic wallet
Wallet measures 5” wide and 9-1/2” tall
with 2” long flap

Using J hook with white plarn, Ch 17.[…]

Blocking and Crocheting a T-Shirt Yarn Rug

August 7, 2011 13 comments

This week’s project is a rug I crocheted from a couple of old white t-shirts and the remaining pieces of a blue jersey sheet. I cut my cotton into 3/4 inch wide strips using my t-yarn making tutorial. Recycling t-shirts and old cotton sheets is a great way to repurpose those old items into new usable rugs, oven mitts, trivets, baby bibs, and more.

Once completed, this t-yarn rug had a problem. The center was not flat and the rug needed blocking badly so this week’s project turned into a two-fold post. A blocking tutorial for t-shirt yarn rugs and the free crochet pattern for the rug.

I didn’t take a photo of the rug before blocking but trust me, the center was all rumpled up and the rug wasn’t laying down flat. I used the same process I did when I blocked a round ripple afghan that was bowl-shaped in the center. My blocking method helped flatten both projects and really saved me a lot of frustration so I wanted to share how I did it. So first I will show how to block a t-shirt yarn rug.

Lay the rug down and stretch it out on a large piece of plastic on the carpet. I used a large trash bag and then just reuse it for the next blocking project. I pin it all around as I stretch the rug and shape it. Use lots of pins and push them down into the carpet to hold the rug in place. Then using a wet rag or wash cloth, press down and wet the rug. Move your cloth around and continue to wet it and as you do, shape and stretch your rug. I laid a wash cloth down as shown and with my hands flat, I move my hands around on top of the cloth. My center was the real problem area so I pressed down and wet this area more as I worked out the rumpled center.
Click on any photo to supersize

Next photo shows after I have been shaping and flattening out the center. Move your pins as needed to get the rug flat and a nice shape. Gently pull on the corners and edges to get it as straight and square as possible. Apply more water on a rag as needed.

Once you have the center flat and the rug shaped, its time to let it dry. I let my rug dry overnight with the pins in place. The next day, I removed the pins and flipped it over gently and let the back dry. The next morning the rug was completely dry and the rug held its shape rather nicely.

Closeup of the t-yarn rug once it was blocked and flatten. As you can see its pretty flat and I can live with how it looks now. I hope you find this t-yarn blocking tutorial useful should you find your rug or other projects need a little flattening.

Below […]

Thrift Store Dolls Refurbished

August 1, 2011 2 comments

My latest recycled crafting project involves these two baby dolls. I got these dolls at my local thrift store. Both dolls just needed a little cleaning and a new outfit. I crocheted both dolls a new dress and hat. Buying these used dolls was very reasonable. One was only 99 cents and the other $1.99 but with new outfits, they have a new life and look great. They both will be going to my local woman’s shelter for some little girls to find joy with a new baby doll.

Here is a closeup of the hat. I worked one round in white yarn and then did white trim by working a slip stitch in the final round. You can click on any of the photos to supersize them.

I used this doll dress and hat pattern for both outfits. I crocheted using a H (5 mm) hook with worst weight 4 ply yarn. My dolls are 12 inches tall and I did a little modification on the neckline and straps as outlined below.

My modifications:

I chained 38 stitches at the beginning. (40 for fatter soft dolls). After row 12, I joined and worked in the round with the right side facing out with a ch 2 at the start of each round from this point. I only worked 17 rows/rounds and finished off my dress with trim by working slip stitches for my final round.

My straps were done wider and with a higher front yoke to cover my doll’s chest a bit more. This was done by attaching the yarn 2 stitches from the front side edge with right side facing. Sc across the front to within 2 stitches from the other side edge. Chain 1 turn and work Sc’s back across the front yoke area back to the beginning where you started. Depending on the height you want for the front yoke, you can either do just one row or two rows before beginning the first strap. Ch 1 turn and work Sc in only the next for stitches for the strap. My straps are 5 stitches wide including the turning chain. I worked my straps about 12 rows long. Check your fit to see if the strap is long enough for your doll. Attach to the back of dress with Sc’s to secure strap. My back strap edge was attached at the 4th stitch from the back opening. (See photo below)

Attach your yarn to other side of the front with right side facing and repeat the steps to make the strap for the other side of dress.

I added stripes to the blue dress set by working a different color of yarn on the second from the last Dc round of dress and then doing slip stitches for the trim with the same color of yarn as the stripe.

Recycling these thrift store dolls has been really fun and I can only hope some of the joy that they have brought me can be passed […]


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About Me

Hello, I’m Cindy or aka RecycleCindy. I love to learn and share information about crocheted and other items crafted from recycled materials. This is a green, eco-friendly website that is dedicated to recycling and crafting.
This blog and my life have taken on a new journey when on March 10, 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have added a special area on my blog in which I chronicle my journey into the pink.
Thank you for stopping by to visit and for your interest in My Recycled Bags!


August 2011
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