Posted by: mamas2hands | June 2, 2010

Plarn Experiment #1

Plarn Spring Basket

I had never heard of “Plarn” until I read Amy Swenson’s book “Not your Mama’s Crochet.”  In it was a pattern for a hand bag made with plarn.  I thought the idea was genius.

After all, the number of plastic bags that routinely take over my household pantry is ridiculous.  And this is in a household that uses our own market bags for much of our shopping.

Our newspaper is delivered in green plastic bags most of the time.  We reused them for various things, but I kept thinking that they are a great color for making Plarn.

I gathered a bunch together in my crocheting area, as I knew it takes quite a few to make a significant length of plarn.  Unfortunately, before I could do anything with them, my husband and father-in-law cleaned out the recyclables and tossed my collection.

So I started collecting again. This time I made sure that all my family understood these were being saved for a purpose.  I kept gathering them and placed them all safely in a container in my crafting room.  Then life got a bit busy…our second child arrived,  I found Ravelry, time kept marching forward.

A few months ago I joined the Laughing Purple Goldfish Group on Ravelry.  Sharon Maher , who is Laughing Purple Goldfish Designs, is a wonderful and inspiring voice for designing and encouraging the use of “up-cycled” materials in our fiberwork.  Each month she has been having challenges to get folks to look at non-traditional materials for crafting supplies.

The challenge for May was to create something using the “Ubiquitous Plastic Bag.”  The demo project used a technique for fusing plastic bags (which I plan to try out sometime too), but I decided to finally experiment with Plarn.  I went to my container of plastic bags and picked out a handful of bags to use.

Cutting Plastic Bags for Plarn

To cut the loops I first slit the sealed bottom of each bag.  Then I folded the bag in half, cut at the fold and repeated that until I had a bunch of one inch wide loops.

I then joined the loops together, by overlapping and pulling the bottom loop thru the top loop, then back under itself like so:

After awhile I had a decent sized ball of plarn and began crocheting a circle.

Beginning of Basket

The really fun thing about working on this project was that I could create more plarn as I needed by joining more loops onto the end of the working plarn.

Adding on more Plarn loops

I did find working with the thickness I had a bit difficult and wouldn’t consider plarn to be very hand friendly.  A  wooden crochet hook seemed to be the best tool for the job.  My plastic and metal hooks both “stuck” too much to the plarn.

Finished Plarn part of Basket

I had in mind an idea of making an easter basket using the plarn and adding some scraps of yarn from my stash.  I also added a flower.

Finished Basket

I learnt a number of things working on this project.  I didn’t like working over the knots where the loops joined. And, as the loops were short,  there was a knot to deal with frequently.  Next experiment I will try working with strips of plarn and possibly will cut them thinner too.  I’m too enthralled with the idea to give up quite yet.


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