"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Coffee Creamer Security

Most people who work nights develop a very special relationship with caffeine. This is particularly true of one of my co-workers who prefers her coffee with a flavored creamer. She brings in her bottle of creamer and stores it in the fridge at work-- and when she comes back the next night, she invariably finds that the people on day shift have used up half her bottle. This is despite the fact the she writes "Please do not use" all over it. This is particularly irksome because people on day shift don't need caffeine in the same way that night workers do, and they have access to the on-site coffee shop which is not open at night. The people who use it never bring in their own creamer, either. My friend is frequently quite enraged about the whole thing.

I decided there had to be a way to make a lockable bag to put the creamer in. It had to have a flat bottom so the bottle could stand up in the fridge. So I knitted two identical squares, stacked them on top of each other, rotated so that the grains of the two pieces ran at 90 degree angles to each other, then sandwiched a piece of felt in between them, and finally whip-stitched around the edges, going through all three layers. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of this in progress, but it made a stable, non-stretchy, flat bottom for the bag. Then I picked up the whip-stitches along each side and knitted four sides for the bag.

The bottom pieces are in garter stitch. The front and back sides are in this eyelet pattern, because I wanted to try something new. The other two sides are in plain stockinette to make it go faster. The back is longer than the other sides so that it folds over the top. Finally, I blocked it...

...sewed up the sides to make a bag...

...and added two brass rings to which a padlock can be attached.

Now there's just one problem, which is that it doesn't actually work. A thief can simply do this:

But I still think my friend will get a kick out of it, and it does reinforce the message that she really doesn't want people taking her creamer. There is a way I can easily cinch up the sides to make it really secure, but that would require three separate locks, which does seem a bit excessive for coffee creamer. I really doubt my friend wants to unlock three locks just to get a cup of coffee. But if the problem continues and she wants me to do it, I will; it would be easy enough.

What it really needs is a zipper all around the opening, with the zipper being locked like a suitcase. However, the idea of me successfully installing a zipper is laughable, so this is what I've got.

The yarn is a cotton-acrylic blend that can just be tossed in the wash if creamer gets spilled on it. And now I have a whole packet of little brass rings to attach tatting to!

UPDATE: Problem solved, thanks to the very first comment I received! "Chain," says Caseymini. "Why, I've got chain in my stash!" says I. Well, duh, when you want to secure something, you chain it up, right? So a few more brass rings and a short length of chain later...

...and I give you the Fort Knox of coffee creamer.

I simply sewed brass rings to each top corner of the bag, and the front corners of the flap, and ran a length of chain through them. At one end, the chain is attached to the brass ring by a split ring jewelry finding. I put another split ring at the other end of the chain but left that end free to be pulled in and out; the padlock goes through this split ring and the brass ring a the back corner of the bag. The key was to keep the chain very short so the mouth of the bag get pulled up smaller than the bottle.

Thank you, Caseymini!


  1. Miranda, how about a draw string opening, that when pulled tight, can be secured with the padlock? Perhaps a chain? Then the padlock could go through two of the lengths? It is maddening when people don't respect other's property, even if it is only creamer!

    1. That's a really good idea! I'll play with it a bit and see if there's a way I could cinch it up with a chain and only need one lock. Thanks!

  2. You are a fabulous co- worker! This is a terrific idea and I think a lot if people would not wish to be seen taking the creamer from that holder if others might see them.
    Fox : )

  3. That is so funny and my husband works nights too and has the same problem not with creamer but with special mustards and cheese that he buys and they know it's not theirs

  4. What a thoughtful friend you are!

  5. Wow! Great solution. I think yours was better than what I envisioned. Fast work! Love the idea you had in the first place. Now, as long as someone doesn't pick the lock......

  6. I am in awe! Possibly the most unusual knitted item ever! What a story and what a devoted and clever friend you are! Plus the chain idea with the rings! This should generate a lively discussion around the breakroom! I'm sure it will be noticed! The padlock is the crowning touch! I just hope the whole bag
    doesn't disappear! I love that you practiced a fancy stitch on two of the sides! Always up for a challenge!

  7. Well, we never could've guessed that what you were making was a security bag for coffee creamer! Good job. I hope it works.

  8. Well that's one secure bag, lovely idea and I hope the day crew won't get into it, it's a bit much that she can't keep her creamer from one night to another, I think I would just take enough for the night and then take it home again in the morning.

  9. well this my sound bad but a rubbermaid container marked breast milk just might stop them in their tracks!

    1. he he Marie, it might. but then again, anyone who was stealing the creamer might not be able to read, they proved it before.

    2. Very clever Miranda. I hope this helps.

  10. Wow! That is quite the creamer vault! Very impressive Ü
    Years ago I lived in the basement of a boys dorm house and one of the boys had a similar problem with his milk disappearing ... He put blue food coloring in it and suddenly no one else wanted to put it on their cereal! So funny, but it worked!

  11. Hopefully that solves the problem!! :)
    It was great just to read everyone else's comments too!! :)