Thursday, June 16, 2016

More crochet learning, experimenting with plarn (plastic bag yarn) and how to spin it.




I'm slowly learning to crochet, and feel like I'm getting the hang of the basics now, having made a granny squares, triangles and pentagons, a bookmarkdish scrubbiesa small stuffed owl, earrings and a bracelet, and a jellyfish!



I've also experimented a little with crocheting onto other objects, like a plastic bottle to make a hanging basket and a hanging frame using a plastic kid's bracelet.


What I love about crochet is that a single length of wool can be turned into something so complex using basically a stick!  It's such a great 'use what you've got' technique that can be done anywhere - with all kinds of resources. 
So far I've only crocheted with wool,
and embroidery thread.

But I've also seen and read about people crocheting with t-shirt fabric and old sheeting (cut or torn into strips), old cassette tapes, wire and even glass!

One resource I've found particularly interesting in terms of its use as a crochet material, is plastic bags.  
Plastic bags are such a big waste problem and issue in the world - it's nice to see people finding ways to use them up and create new things with them.  I even found a whole website dedicated to things people make with plastic bags - Bagsbegone.

A little while ago, I shared a video on my Facebook page of a lady who is spinning plastic bags into yarn and then weaving this yarn into fabric. You can read more about this at bureau baggerman.

One of my readers commented on this video, asking if I knew of a way we could spin plastic bag strips into yarn without a spinning wheel....well I do like a challenge, so with a little searching I did find a method to try!

First of all, you need to make your plarn by cutting plastic bags into a continuous strip.
I found this awesome video showing how women in Gambia are recycling plastic bags into beautiful purses using crochet. The video shows how to cut a plastic bag to make your plarn!



The video shows this lady just crocheting the plastic strips as is.  
I had a try of this myself.

I didn't find it very easy, but I'm only a beginner crocheter so maybe I just need practice - or a different size hook?

So my next step was to try spinning the plarn into a tighter 'yarn' to crochet with.
Here's how I did it, using what I've got - my sewing machine!





It's not ideal, but it's a neat idea that maybe someone can work with! I think you need one person to work the machine and another to hold the plarn, as you can only spin the part between where you hold and the machine. So you'd have to move further and further back to wind a long strip. Unless you can find a way to wind it onto a spool as you spin!

Do let me know if you have any more success with this than I did, I'd love to see!



I did then try to crochet with this spun plarn, but didn't find it any easier than the 'unspun' plarn!


Thanks to a reader question on Facebook, I've had fun experimenting with making plarn, but I think for now I will stick to practising my crochet with wool!

I'm making lots of granny squares just now - just to try and improve my technique a little. Not sure yet what I'll do with them all!


Have you ever crocheted with anything unusual?
Have you tried crocheting with plarn?
I'd love to hear what other people have tried and made, experimenting with crochet!



I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.

4 comments:

  1. Wow Jill I am amazed at how fast you learned to crochet and all of the fun projects you have made. You are so talented with sewing too. Have fun crafting!! :)

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    1. Thanks so much Julie! I'm really having fun with it!

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  2. Wow, this is amazing Jill. the spun plastic yarn is definitely much better than when it's just cut up. Will give this a go!

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    1. Thanks Agy! Let me know if you try it how you get on!

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