My Mother’s a Bag Lady

You never know what you’re going to find when you come back to Cape to visit Mother.

Click on any photo to maker it larger.

“She’s collecting shopping bags”

This year, shortly before Mother’s Day, Mark sent me an email saying, “Mother’s become a bag lady. She’s going all over town collecting shopping bags.”

Mark is prone to either subtracting relevant details or adding ones to make the story more interesting, so it helps to do some fact checking. I decided to wait until I got into town before becoming concerned.

Turns out that Mother’s Friend Katie was part of a crochet group that was cutting up plastic shopping bags to make sleeping mats for the homeless.

Cuts bags into 1-1/2″ loops

Mother decided she’d make a ground cover for Grandson Malcolm to use under his sleeping bag when he goes camping. It took her several weeks to score enough bags, cut them into 1-1/2-inch loops and crochet them into something large enough to use. It turned out to be soft, durable and colorful.

In the process of doing the project, she became an expert in the colors that different stores use for their bags. Like folks who can identify the name of a song after hearing two notes, she can look at a color in her mat and tell you exactly which store uses that bag.

Keeping her out of the heat

Mark bought her a box of unused blue and yellow bags (moving ahead of me in the will, drat), but I countered by making sure to grab any bags I see on top of the recycle bins when I walk out of a store. I warned Mother to be careful when she digs through them. One of these days she’s going to encounter a full diaper.

It’s been too hot and dry to mow, even for her, so she started a mat for Mark to use on a piece of lawn furniture in St. Louis. She was picking up speed. She got that one done in three weeks.

Like a sweater with 5-foot sleeves

As soon as she finished that, she started another one. It went so quickly that it got out of control and ended up too big for her intended purpose. That’s this one. She finished it Monday night after working on it a week.

Starting a new one

As soon as her needles cooled, she started a new one on Tuesday morning. Pretty good for a one-armed woman, I must say.

14 Replies to “My Mother’s a Bag Lady”

  1. They look awesome. My mom made one into a satchel for a cousin who collects shells on a beach down south. They are waterproof, colorful, and kinda pretty!

  2. As soon as I saw the headline, I thought “you can make sleeping mats for the homeless out of plastic bags.”

    So, soft, durable and colorful I get. But is the mat actually comfortable?

  3. Awww, I thought my statement was accurate, she IS a bag lady.

    I just trimmed down all the fluff that you have so nicely put back in.

    “Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty.” Galileo Galilei

    I’ll still stand by what i said in a more succinct way…

  4. That is a fabulous idea and your mother is a marvelous. The camping mats will be perfect Christmas presents for two in my family who camp in the Rockies! Thanks for the post.

  5. if you are not careful your mom will be getting plastic bags from all over the world with a thankyou from the treehuggers for saving the planet.

  6. I love this so much. She was such a great friend to DaisyZimmerman, my Mom. Mary Lee would of had My Mom making the plastic bag crafts as well. Please give her my best regards and keep the stories coming.

    1. I was telling someone some Daisy stories the other day. She was a wonderful woman and a delight to be around. I can picture them sitting together playing with their shopping bags and calculating which stores have the prettiest colors.

  7. What an amazing lady your mother is! I do traditonal rug hooking and think it might be fun to try one with plastic strips. My daughter has me trained to carry my own bags for most shopping, but I still end up with a lot of plastic bags to recycle.

  8. I have saved and donated bags for just this cause, but have never seen the finished product. They are really pretty! Your mom is such a hoot! I will have to start saving them for her.

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