Sunday, March 25, 2012

How I pretend I'm greener and make plarn

I am one of those bad people who still uses plastic bags for their groceries... and being a family of 5, we get a large collection of plastic bags in a short time.  I am nice enough to feel a little bad about all these bags and just throwing them out... I know that some shopping centers have bins that you can put your used bags in, but do I ever remember to bring them back with me???  Hahaha...  So, my solution to be a little greener was to make PLARN.  Sounds kinda fun, for a knitter, right?  I went in search of a tutorial that would help me take my plastic bags and cut them into strips to knit with.  Surprisingly enough, most of them were really just that, cut the bag all the way across several times and end up with tons of strips that need to be attaches to each other.  They did have clever ways of attaching the ends so it wasn't too bulky, but I really wanted to make a continuous strip out of one bag.  Finally I did find one such tutorial, but I could not follow it all the way through.  Something about my brain just did not get the instructions.  So, I took what I could from that and started practicing my own method.

In just 15 pictorial steps you too can have plarn!  You may be wondering what you will do with all this plarn, well, make a bag of course :-)  DH thinks it sounds quite silly to make a bag out of a bag, like I'm just looking for an excuse to knit or something...  But, this knit bag will be sturdy and reusable.

I'm not really one for strict measurements so my instructions below are more of a guide.  I've tried to take pics that truly represent what you are doing, however in my rush to get more plarn (I need to finish my bag!) I used my phone's camera.

Step1: Lay the bag flat with the sides folded in 
Step 2: Cut off the handles
Step 3: Cut off the bottom seam
Your handle-less, bottom-less bag

Step 4: Pull out the folded in sides

Step 5: Start folding the uncut edge up, about 1 inch width

This is a wider shot of what you are doing and your bag orientation

Step 6: Continue folding up until you're about 1-2 inches from the other uncut edge

This is a wider shot of what you are doing and your bag orientation 

Step 7: Start cutting the folded section only, about 1 inch from the cut edge, stop the cut at the top folded edge, leaving the 1-2 inch at the top alone for now

Step 8:  Continue cutting approximately every 1 inch across the folded section only

Step 9: In the 1-2 inch top section, slip your scissors under the top layer so you are cutting only the bottom layer.  Cut at an angle that starts at the bottom left and goes across to the top right at approximately the same location of your folded section's 1 inch cut were to extend out.

Step 10: Fold out your angled cut and continue your cut straight across to the cut in the folded section

Step 11: Continue the angled cut on the bottom for all sections

Step 12:  Followed by the straight cut across the top for all sections

Step 13:  For the last section, you will cut only the angle on the bottom layer and you are done

On the left is the ball of my first cut bag, on the right is the pile of the bag I just cut, and the ends of each 

Step 14:  I just tie a knot with the two ends to secure

Step 15:  Wind the cut bag into a ball (it turns out more like a pancake for me)

The ball of plarn (2 bags worth)

This is the bag I started (and need to make more plarn for!)
To knit this bag, I cast on 100 stitches using size 15 circular needles.  For the first 5 rows I knit.  Then I began this simple pattern:

     R1: K2tog, yo, repeat
     R2: K
     R3: K2tog, yo, repeat
     R4: K
     R5: K2tog, yo, repeat
     R6: K
     R7: K2tog, yo, repeat
     R8: K
     R9: K2tog, yo, repeat
     R10-R14: K
Repeat R1-14

I just finished my third K2tog, yo section when I ran out of plarn.  My first plarn making session consisted of 20-25 bags.  I plan on making about the same amount to be sure I don't run out again.  When I finish a K2tog, yo section and the bag looks to be of a good length, I think I'll knit 10 rounds, then begin decrease rounds to get my number of stitches down to 10, then weave the tail through those stitches and finish it all off.  I still have to figure out handles, as I'm not sure if I'll make those out of plarn or something more sturdy (used jeans?).  Then I'll have a nice roomy bag that I think will be perfect for farmer's market or even the beach!    



1 comment:

  1. lol I don't have any plastic grocery bags since I've gotten really good at remembering my reusable bags, but I've been saving all the plastic sleeves from my newspapers to do this with - added bonus is they're in a few colors.