29 April 2011

Experimenting with plarn

Or: how I failed to make those plastic bags work for me.

Today, I decided to try something new in crafting. Plarn. I heard of it, I read about it, I thought it was hideously stupid, but it stuck. I mean, think about it. The possibilities are endless! Re-using plastic bags to make something new! Something bright and colourful, something cheerful, something useful.. I saw someone on Ravelry making earrings out of this stuff. Earrings!

So I figured, why not give it a go! I was bored anyway! I found a quick little tutorial, grabbed some plastic bags, and started snipping. The first bag I tried was one of those thin little bags that can hold a lot of goods as long as they're soft and squishy and don't have any sharp edges whatsoever. I turned one bag into a long ribbon of plastic and crocheted a testpiece.

It kind of looks like a dead koi, doesn't it? With the red, and the white... Anyway. This piece was a pain. I couldn't find my stitches! The plastic wrinkled so badly, it was a nightmare to figure out where my hook should go next. And besides that, it stuck to everything and wouldn't slide through my fingers so holding it was annoying as hell.

After I used up one bag, and realised that this is just a tiny piece of crochet and this took up that whole bag, I decided to put some strain on the piece to see how good this plastic holds up under pressure.

And the answer...It doesn't hold up at all. This is not material I want to make a shopping bag out of! One bag of apples and it'll break!

So I did another attempt. This time I used a plastic shopping bag from the grocery store that is made out of thicker plastic. Thicker = less likely to break, so thicker = better, right?

I wish it was right. I do. See, with thicker plastic, the chance that it will break will be reduced, but the thickness will cause a whole new problem. The knots are too big.

Way too big. I couldn't get that to fit through a stitch! And even if I did get that through..

There was a whole forest of knots waiting for me to get through. And I had pulled as hard on those knots as I had dared! How was I supposed to crochet with this?

I wasn't ready to give up, though. Not yet.

I tried tying the knot again, and pulled it as tightly as I possibly could, but despite the fact that it was now twice as small as before, it was still too big to fit through a stitch.

Now I was ready to give up, mostly because it was getting annoying. Plarn might still be my thing, but I think I might just need to go an buy myself a bigger hook. Twice as big, that might do the trick.

Until then, I can always practice my rythmic gymnastics. I've already got the ribbon on a stick.


  1. Plarn really is horrid isn't it.

  2. It really is ;) I was trying to figure out a way to use all those plastic bags I have stashed away in my closet, but plarn definitely isn't the way!

  3. I have a tutorial on how to make plarn on my blog, which may be different than how you are doing it - and how I make it is double stranded. I get away with using an N hook (and sometimes smaller). Another trick with using it for bags is to run the plan next to a strand of cotton yarn for security.

    I personally enjoy making scrubbies and the like out of plarn - I am sorry you had a bad first experience :(

  4. Hmmm.... It looks a bit tedious... But I can see how someone with incredible patience could make something interesting.

  5. I'd never heard of Plarn, but now that I have I have absolutely no interest in trying it. Sounds weird.

    - Lina