Thursday, October 18, 2012

my creative space - crocheting plastic for a cause

The back story:

Diana was inspired by others all over the world that had recycled plastic bags. She thought it would be a good idea to have some ladies on low incomes from various parts of Jeddah, do the same and bring in an income from it. She went on a hunt for a local crocheter who would be willing to design something and run a workshop. Project "Akias" (Arabic for bags) was born. Diana works for an organisation called Ateeq (that I mentioned previously), which aims to encourage quality production, the good old-fashioned way. They also encourage productivity as a process rather than by focusing solely on the end result. 

What we did:

We produced crocheted samples and she obtained custom orders. We got together and held a two-day pilot workshop at Rawaj (a part of the Majid Society) that aims to empower women by training them, holding various workshops and allowing them to produce all sorts of items on the premises, from school uniforms to beautiful toiletry bags.

It was a small workshop but it was pretty amazing! By the end of the second day, we had transformed metal clothes hangers and grey plastic bags in to Brain Cancer Awareness keyrings! 

Ready for Jeddah's Backpack

What we learnt:

It was a challenge! It took us the first day to brainstorm and feel comfortable enough with a design to go ahead with it. We learnt a lot from each other. One lady in particular was so full of ideas, creativity, and enthusiasm, I felt inspired by her. We exchanged Arabic and English crochet terminology. We learnt that we needed that time together to share our ideas and it was important to do that early on in the process. Crocheting with plastic or plarn (plastic + yarn) can be tricky. It has to be the right thickness so as not to brake easily and it shouldn't be too sticky. For myself, personally, Day 2 was smoother and we produced more. But I can't say that Day 1 was not productive. It was a very important part of the design process.    

What happens next:

We hope that this is just the beginning. We are working on other designs for potential customers but we need local crocheters to volunteer a little of their time. [Local crocheters, Taz and Khadija were a great help ma sha Allah!] We'd love to hold crochet classes for non-crocheters and then introduce them to crocheting with plarn. We'd love to see these ladies on low incomes, produce and sell plarn-crocheted items and in turn, train more women to do the same. So for now, I will keep playing and producing some more "trochet" (coined by Diana, trash + crochet!) in sha Allah. 


Beautiful plarn crochet was mentioned on Crochet Concupiscence!

More creativity with plarn

My creative space has been buzzing. Check out some more here!

Blogtoberfest - OK, I missed a day yesterday! 

This project was a great start to the  Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah (in which the Hajj or pilgrimage takes place). In the first ten days of this month we are encouraged to focus a lot more on our good deeds and worship. Here's a super link to Hajj-related activities for kids. I'm always on the lookout for great educational resources!


Anne Butera October 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM  

Wow! You have been busy and creative and looks like you've been having some lovely travels, too. Nice to catch up on your blog and see what you've been up to.


Anonymous,  October 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM  

Hi!! I really like when people meet together and exchange ideas and creativity!! It seems you're having a really good time! :)

Sketched Soul October 24, 2012 at 11:19 PM  

As-salaamu'alaykum my dearest sis,
Wow... how awesome!! It's so nice to read this, and see the ideas you've all come up with.
May Allah give you success in it. Ameen.

Look forward to hearing how the workshop progresses, etc.


Unknown December 15, 2012 at 4:26 PM  

I hope you can improve your works at home انشالله
You are so so creative!
By the way I wanted to mention that
انا احب الفلسطین

Newyorkcitylove November 19, 2013 at 11:37 PM  

Hi Diana and Ishrat!
I am writing to you from the Story Exchange- a non profit aimed at empowering female entrepreneurs.
We are so impressed by your work and would love it if you can share your story starting this company.
To participate, please answer questions about starting up on this short survey that we set up for you.

See this example of what your story will look like on our site and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thank you and Best Regards,
Sana Mujtaba

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