beck's blog

Friday, April 18, 2008

Recycled Pop-Top Vest for Earth Day


In honor of Earth Day this year I'm finally posting my Recycled Pop-Top Granny Square vest. I say "finally" because it took two years to finish. Yes. Two years.
(Please click on the photo to enlarge the pictures).

This is the front of the vest. It is made up of 236 pop-top granny squares and 4 pop-top triangles at the back by the neck.
Each granny square takes 4 pop tops, (or pop tabs if you call them that). so, 236 times 4 is 944 pop tops. Plus the 4 triangles take three pop tops. 3 times 4 is 12. 944 plus 12 is 956. It took 2 years for me to collect 956 pop top tabs AND crochet the thing. AND assemble it. AND line it, (oh, the lining is sooooo bad. I can't sew. Really. It's embarrassing).

This is the back. (I always take too many pictures.) Anyway, it's very heavy. And shiny. The camera just doesn't capture the shininess of it at all. It was cool without the lining but I had to add one because the pop tabs would occasionally snag at my shirt. So it's double lined. That is, I have folded the fabric and then sewed it to the vest skelleton after I assembled all the squares. I used a pre-existing denim vest I had as a template and just kept adding squares until it matched the size and shape of the denim vest.

After I was finished joining the squares, I added a fringe at the bottom with lots and lots of beads. You have to string the beads on to the thread first. Then just crochet as you would, pushing up a bead into whatever spot you want and continue to crochet. (This also added to the weight of the vest.)

This is the entire front opened up and facing you.
I used a nylon thread because I knew the pop tops would be heavy and it needed to be strong.
It's Omega nylon thread. Size no. 2 - 275m 300 yards to a skein. Don't ask me how mush I used because I kept running out. In the two years, Hobby Lobby discontinued it and so I had to order it online twice. The color definately has dye lots because the green was a lighter color than the spools from Hobby Lobby. It's not very noticeable though.
The crochet hook used is a steel hook size U.S.5 1.7 mm.

I wasn't even going to show you the lining because it's just that terrible but I suppose I should just have it out there too so you can see I wasn't exaggerating. (My Home Ec teacher is probably cringing somewhere and denying I was ever in her class). LOL!!

I made a flower pin for it too. (I just love this.) It's made with another Pop Top Granny square, (so add 4 more to that total), and in the center I put an old bottle top I had been saving for years and years. It says "Recycle Smiles". There's no name or logo on the cap so I don't know what beverage it came from.

It was found on a camping trip either in Canada or Minnesota. (That's where we would go every summer).
After reaching the campsite we kids would unload ourselves from the Station Wagon and while my folks set up the camper it was our job to scour the campsite and pick up all the stray garbage. (We actually loved to do this. It was fun.) Anyway, I saved this bottle top all these years and I was so happy to finally have a purpose for it and to recycle it too. If anybody knows what beverage the cap would have come from let me know. That would be interesting.

So, now you are saying, "But what does the vest look like on someone?"
Well, I have once again snatched my youngest son over here to model it for you.

Here he is.

And then, (surprise), here I am in it. It's meant for a larger person like me so I grabbed my new John Lennon "Come Together" shirt and made him take a couple of shots of me too. I was so happy to find these green smiley buttons at Hobby Lobby to go with my "Recycle Smiles" pin.

I have one more surprise for you all, (if you are still with me, LOL). I have made a tutorial on how to make a Pop-Top Granny Square so you can all make your own vests, (or purses, or hats, or whatever you can think of. Granny squares are so versitile).
It's very image-heavy so I hope your computers can handle it. I thought the only good way to explain how to make it was to actually take pictures step by step.

Recycled Pop Top Granny Square

If anyone tries to follow the tutorial, please let me know how it goes and if there are mistakes in it. Thanks! And Happy Earth Day everyone!!!!