Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Ideas In Crochet: Plarn

An interview with Teresa, the owner of Plastique Recreations (http://Crochooley.etsy.com)
an Etsy shop dedicated to using leftover plastic shopping bags to create usable handmade goods.

“Plarn” is yarn made from used plastic bags. Using plarn for crochet is a wonderful way to recycle those plastic bags that seem to multiply if you leave them alone in a dark closet.
CreateCrochet Team member Teresa is an Etsy seller that not only uses plarn to crochet items for her shop, she sells balls of handmade plarn. Her shop “Crochooley” has quite a few different colors of plarn, making it the perfect place to shop if you’re curious about trying plarn for the first time.

We asked Teresa about her interest in plarn. Here is what she had to say:

I have been crafting with plastic bags for approx 15+ years. It all started with a swatch and my love for plastic bags evolved from there.

This is what happened: I needed to make a swatch for a pattern and had just enough yarn for the project. At that time my alternative yarn was old t-shirts, sheets, etc. I just completed a bathroom set made from old sheets I collected so I had no extras to work a swatch. Right when I was going to unravel a sweater, I noticed a plastic bag on the counter, decided to use it instead. Once I figured out how to cut and loop the plastic, I made the swatch. I absolutely loved the texture and appearance of that swatch so much, I couldn't stop. I just kept going and ended up making the project with the plastic yarn. As I was making the project, that's when I discovered several bags would be needed, more than I had laying around the house. So after I used every plastic bag I had, I went knocking on my neighbor's doors and even called my sisters. Once I had the project completed, everyone that donated their bags were curious as to what I was making with it and when I showed them, they loved it as much as I did, they wanted one to.

I realized then that plastic bags would end up being my preferred 'fiber'. The more I used plastic bags, the more I learned about how bad plastic bags were for the environment, how much they harmed animals (land and sea) and how horribly flooded the landfills were with plastic bags. That's what continues to motivate me today and is my objective in life - do whatever I can to keep as many plastic bags out of the landfill as possible.

Over the years, I would make and share various items such as rugs, bags, totes, etc. with my crochet friends. They would be curious and wanted to give it a try. So I started balling a bunch of plastic and what caught me off guard, they offered to pay me for it especially when I explained to them the time consuming process behind making it. It evolved from there.

I have learned that there are some plastic bags - the shiny ones, that are not hook/needle friendly as standard plastic grocery bags. I will use these but only as the contrasting color or for edging. The great thing about crafting with plastic bags, you can use the exact same tools you use when crafting with fiber. I can offer this piece of advise for those that encounter an unfriendly plastic bag whether they are using a hook or needles - if the bag isn't gliding, rub a bar of soap against the hook or needle. It works every time and poses no harm to the plastic.

Be sure to check out Teresa's shop! Not only does she sell lovely handmade items made from plarn, she also sells balls of plarn ready for your crafting needs!

6 comments:

Kim said...

I haven't worked with plarn but your shop is really inspiring. You've made so many cute things!

jbcrochetdelights said...

You have made this sound so interesting that I am going to try to use some plarn and see what I can come up with. Thank you for your 'green' suggestion.

jbcrochetdelights said...

You have made this sound so interesting that I am going to try to use some plarn and see what I can come up with. Thank you for your 'green' suggestion.

Benjamin Krudwig said...

what an inspirational story!
yay for doing your part to help the environment and make cool stuff too!

~Gaz~ said...

I've been meaning to start working with plarn for a while now, but just haven't gotten around to it. I'll be starting sometime this week or next week. I have a ton of plastic bags saved up from shopping!
I also read of people crocheting with cassette tape from old audio cassettes and VHS tapes. Too bad all my tapes still work otherwise I'd try that out too!

alketa said...

We used to do that long time ago in Albania, during Communist time, our sing hopping bags were made out of plarn.Glad to hear that someone is using that method. I loved the way that it came out and we would come up with all the most of the amazing patterns.Could that bbe used for outdoor rugs too?