General ramblings

Plarn….

April 13, 2013

My latest crochet project is a bag.

But not just any bag.

When I met up with Karen Cannard, my Rubbish idol, of The Rubbish Diet fame, at the Trashed screening, I was very taken with her bag made from ring pull tab things.

It looked a bit like this

I found this picture on Pinterest from Brucleshop.com

I found this picture on Pinterest from Brucleshop.com

This obviously isn’t Karen’s exact bag-I would have felt slightly strange and stalker-esque asking her if I could take a picture of her bag…but it gives you the idea.

When I complemented Karen on it, she explained that it actually makes a really good talking point and is a good way of getting people re-thinking rubbish.

So I decided I would like a bag that would do just that too!

BUT I think it would take me about 18 years to save up enough ring pulls, and even then, it would probably look a bit pants, so I have gone with a crochet option, and am trying to use ‘alternative’ materials to make it from.

So far, the bottom is done-from a combination of some jute string I had lying around, and some scraps of ribbon.

But now I have run out of string and need ‘alternative alternatives’…

So I have made some “plarn”. This is yARN from PLastic bags for those of you who don’t know!

And this is how you do it:

Cut the bottom off your bag to level it out

Cut the bottom off your bag to level it out

Fold your bag not quite in half, so that one folded edge is about 5cm away from the other one

Fold your bag not quite in half, so that one folded edge is about 5cm away from the other one

Use a rule and a rotart cutter/craft knife, or failing that draw lines and use scissors, to cut lines along the folded bag up to and including the first folded edge

Use a rule and a rotart cutter/craft knife, or failing that draw lines and use scissors, to cut lines along the folded bag up to and including the first folded edge

Cut away the top part with the handles

Cut away the top part with the handles

Then you unfold it along the uncut bit, and cut diagonally from one strip to the next, to make one long continuous strip of Plarn

plarn5

If none of that makes any sense, then check out this video from rigidheddleweaving on You Tube here:

So far, I have cut up three bags, and have started to use them to add to my crocheted bag

The pink is a thicker plastic bag, which is a bit harder to crochet with, but I think it looks pretty cool..!

The pink is a thicker plastic bag, which is a bit harder to crochet with, but I think it looks pretty cool..!

What do you think?

Next I am going to try t-shirt yarn, and I also have some old cassette tapes and VHS tapes that I am planning to butcher to use the tape/ribbon bit.

If it works, it will certainly be a talking point…

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  • Reply #makedoandmendhour 12th June | My Make Do and Mend Year June 14, 2014 at 7:01 am

    […] Use 2 strands of plarn and 4.5mm crochet hook, and away you go! In case you were wondering, here is a post I did a while ago about how to make […]

  • Reply Kelly August 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Do you just knot the ends together?

    • Reply Jen August 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      You get one long strip which you can roll into a ball, and then when you have used it all up, you introduce a new piece of plan/tarn/string etc as you would if you were changing colours in ‘normal’ crocheting. Does that make any sense?

  • Reply Back on track… | My Make Do and Mend Year June 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    […] ‘Rubbish’ crochet bag-made from things like T-shirt yarn, plastic bag yarn, and video tape. This is another project that is sat half-done on the coffee table silently […]

  • Reply manchesterflickchick April 20, 2013 at 12:21 am

    This is so cool! All I need now is my Mum to teach me how to crochet. I saw the same bag for sale at the Eden Project but it was just too dear and not waterproof so I decided against it. Plarn on other hand looks like it might be hard wearing and gets rid of my ‘giant bag of bags’ hurray!

    • Reply Jen April 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      You lucky thing having a mum who can teach you!

      • Reply manchesterflickchick April 21, 2013 at 2:07 am

        My Mum was born in the WW2 so she learn’t how to improvise and re-use from her Mum.

        • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

          Definitely part of the Make Do and Mend generation then!

  • Reply T-shirt yarn | My Make Do and Mend Year April 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    […] after making Plarn, for my ‘talking point’ Rubbish bag, I have now had a go at t-shirt yarn (I guess that […]

  • Reply Kitty Piët April 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    What a great idea! Thank you.

    • Reply Jen April 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      My pleasure! Give it a go 🙂

  • Reply pennypinchingpeach April 15, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I actually have a mound of plastic bags I wanted to use to make something. i’d heard of “plarn” and was meaning to do a search for doing that, but you just saved me the trouble. I do know how to crocet, but finding the needles in my craft cabinet and the time to do it is another thing altogether. 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Yay! Give it a try. The thing I like about crochet is I can do it sat on the sofa with the TV on! I am not yet good enough to be able to concentrate on the TV rather than the crocheting, but at least hubby and I are in the same room..!

  • Reply ReLIKE HQ April 15, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    oh, lovely! It reminds me of some knitting I saw recently where the lady was using fine strips of crisp packets which made the end result both colourful and shimmery – really eye catching.(Perhaps it was the lady mentioned above… just seen it) Good luck with all your makes, I’ll be following closely x

    • Reply Jen April 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Hello! Thanks for reading and commenting. Am tempted to try the crisp packet thing now too!

  • Reply daisymarmalade April 14, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Hi Jen, plarn is fun! If you have a thicker bag try cutting the strips a bit narrower or, with a steady hand, try stretching the strips a bit before you crochet. One thing to check is that you are using normal plastic bags and not the ones that turn to snowflakes after a year or so, although it looks like the supermarkets have stopped doing them now: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7422006/Biodegradable-plastic-bags-may-not-be-as-eco-friendly-as-thought.html – you don’t want to have all your hard work bio-degrade in front of your eyes! Another version you can make is with plastic/foil packaging and a sewing machine. Alison Harper is a Bath-based textile artist who does a lot of work with crisp packet yarn: http://www.alisonharper.net/crisp-art/ 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Great, thanks for that link-I will check it out and give it a go!
      Someone else mentioned the biodegradable bag issue too, which hadn’t occurred to me…oops! *rushes off to check*

  • Reply Hazel April 14, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I’ve knitted with plarn too, in fact sorting through my stash the other day I found some balls of it I’d made ages ago.
    You can either use it as it is or with a strand of yarn too. Use fairly big needles or it’s a real pain 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Sounds great Hazel-what have you made from your plan?

      • Reply Hazel April 15, 2013 at 5:26 am

        I knitted some small shopping/book bags for friends. I did threaten to knit a laptop bag from black bin liners for my friends husband, but much to his relief never quite got round to it….

        • Reply Jen April 15, 2013 at 10:41 am

          I think that would make an awesome Christmas present!

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) April 14, 2013 at 5:58 am

    I’m going to have to learn to crochet BIG STYLE ! Been wondering what to do with all the old video tapes but now I know … turn them into Christmas 2013 pressies !

    • Reply Jen April 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Do it Vivienne! It is very addictive. I can’t wait to try out the video tape-might give it a go tonight 🙂

  • Reply makinglifemyway April 13, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    oops pressed the wrong button. I just wanted to say thanks for posting because it’s reminded me to try this although I still need to learn to crochet 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Your grandmother’s bag sounds fab! If you can find someone to teach you, or some lessons locally, then I would definitely recommend crocheting 🙂

  • Reply makinglifemyway April 13, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    My great grandmother had a hat made out of plastics bags all knitted together. That was way before these things were cool or trendy. I’ve always wanted to try it so t

  • Reply Verónica April 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I like my t-shirt yarn and seen many items made from plarn. They looked great.

    • Reply Jen April 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      Looking forwards to trying t-shirt yarn! How thick do you cut your strips?

      • Reply Verónica April 15, 2013 at 1:32 am

        I followed some great step by step instructions and they recommend 1/2 to 1 inch strips. I went thinner sometimes and almost broke the yarn becaise it was too thin. Here’s a link to my post showing the t-shirt yarn with links to both video and photo tutorials: http://agujasblog.com/2012/11/03/t-shirt-yarn/

        • Reply Jen April 15, 2013 at 10:41 am

          Thanks Veroinca, I will check it out and give it a go!

  • Reply Nat April 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Great idea! The tape will look great! I am surprised at how good the plastic bag looks!

    • Reply Jen April 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks Nat. I was pleasantly surprised too!

  • Reply Debbie Hurry April 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve crocheted a bag with VHS tape and it looked amazing!!

    • Reply Jen April 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      Oh wow! I have some sat upstairs ready to be dismembered for the bag 🙂

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo April 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Clever girl! :o)

  • Reply Jane Louis April 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Fabulous! Never thought of using old music or video tapes and Ive got loads in boxes in the shed, now I know what to do with them 🙂 Thank you x

  • Reply mehubbyandthekids April 13, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    What size hook are you using for the plarn?

    • Reply Jen April 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      The biggest one I have, which is 5.5mm. I am on the hunt for some really huge ones!

  • Reply For Bella and Will April 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Amazing!!!! I really have to learn to crochet now!!! 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Yay-do it 🙂 It should be on your 30 things list…

      • Reply For Bella and Will April 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm

        Hehe, it already is!!! 😉 You have just given me added incentive x

  • Reply Liz April 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Absolutely brilliant! Well done 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Thankyou! Surprisingly easy too 🙂

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