I wouldn’t call myself a “green freak” but I do like thinking of ways to reuse things so that they don’t end up in the dump. Seeing how I’m in college I can’t do as much as if I had my own house. If that was the case I would have one word right on the tip of my tongue: Compost. but like I said, College in a dorm. I don’t think my floor mates would appreciate the smell.
But this isn’t about what I will do, its about what I’ve been doing. And I have been playing with plastic; plastic bags to be more specific.
I have a friend who one year for a gift gave me a crochet bag she made entirely out of something called Plarn. Plarn is the term for yarn that is made from plastic bags. you can make this stuff from any sort of bag you get at a store. Mine are mostly from Walmart and the C3 store on campus. Before I left for college my family and I would use the unholy bags as trash can liners for in the bathroom, offices and bed rooms. In the form I only have one trash can and it gets emptied onces every two weeks or so. The bags have been piling up and making plarn out of the bags cuts down on the clutter.
There are two ways that I make plarn. I either do the loop method which is the easiest and fastest to make.
From the video you can see that the strand is actually doubled giving it a little extra strength. This way of making the stuff is good for weaker plastics such as those Walmart bags. that stuff is ridiculously thin and snap under the slightest tug.
The second method is the continuous strand method. It may take longer to do and has a higher rate of possible fixable mistake, but it gives you more plarn to work with. This method works better for a stronger plastic such as industrial trash bags.
It was with this second method that I’ve been playing the most with. I cut seven (and a smidge) 50-60 gallon trash bags into plarn and with that I made my first rug. Not going to lie, I’me kinda proud of this. The idea didn’t really come from anywhere specific but the stitch that I used was the weave. The Crochet Crowd has a video on how to make the basic stitch. I tinkered with it from there.
In the video he uses two strand of normal yarn and a 6.5 mm crochet hook. I also used two strand of my plarn and for once I had the same size hook as the one in the video. My rug measure 18.5 X 30 inches. It probably took me two days to get it crocheted , granted I did mess up and have to pull a good five inches or so and start over.
Once it was to the size that I wanted I started weaving in strips left over from a botched Halloween costume. To tell the truth the fabric was a table cloth that I bought at the Bemidji Goodwill for $3.00 about. The fabric was cut in a round so I had a continuous strip to work with. after weaving it through I left approximately 6 inches at the ends. I haven’t tied the ends yet but once that’s done I’ll clip the fabric strips. Some of the strips I have tied down but they make the back-and-forth pattern look weird. To fix this I’m thinking that I’ll warp the strip around the plarn outer post and then tie the knot.
I liked working on this project and it made heads turn when I was working on it at work. The rug itself has an almost soft and squishy texture to it. The best part about this project is that this rug will last longer than the bags would have on their own.
However working with the Plarn was a killer on my hands. Plastic cuts aren’t as bad as paper cuts granted but weaving the fabric through ate away at my cuticles. I’ll be having hangnails for a week at least. Another thing that was a little frustrating was that my fabric strips kept fraying. I had snibbles clinging to everything; my shirt, my pants my socks, the futon, my bedding, even my computer (figure that).
When I do try this project again I’m going to try just one strand of Plarn. Using two made the rug very stiff and thick. using just one should let it fit under doors better. Another thing I want to try is using ribbon or actual yarn to weave through the posts. at least that stuff won’t leave snibbles behind… I hope.
In Case You Missed the Links
Weave stitch tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCRWsush4PE
The crochet Crowd YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/mikeyssmail
Looped plarn method video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdTm2V4ssvY
Continuous strand method video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo0xsp5SCFE