I recently purchased a wonderful book titled “AwareKnits” by pro knitter Vickie Howell and Adrienne Armstrong (knitter and wife of Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong). Along with dozens of eco-friendly knitting and crochet patterns and tips, there was a fabulous section on Plarn- or plastic yarn.
Plarn can definitely take some getting used to while knitting but its actually fun to make and a clever way to recycle plastic shopping bags. Through trial and error I have some fantastic tips to get you Plarn-ing away.
Here are the supplies you will need:
- Flat surface
- Scissors or Exacto knife, depending on your preference.
- Oodles of plastic bags. More bags = more Plarn!
Try to make your bag as flat as possible and remove the handles. You can keep the handles to use as embellishment or just recycle them. Take your cutting implement of choice and make a one inch cut in the top of the bag at the seam going down. That will be the start of your strip. Cut in a spiral until the whole bag is one big strip (the book compares it to peeling an orange). Remember- the longer the strip, the fewer knots you have to tie.
From there, its just wash, rinse, repeat. Keep your strips in a pile until all of your bags are cut. I know it seems like a lot, but once you find your rhythm you’ll be turning out bags a lot more quickly. Once all of your bags are cut, tie them together. Knot them GENTLY so you do not tear the plastic but TIGHTLY because you’ll be knitting or crocheting with it. Snip the ends off the knots. Once they’re all knotted just ball it up and bada bing- PLARN!
Once you’ve made your Plarn there are many different things you can do with it. The book has a pattern for a bag, but you could do some really stellar art- deco items for the home or some mod or bohemian- esque jewelry. The possibilities are endless, and there are millions of bags out there.
Stitch on and remember to Knit Happy with your PLARN!!!