I’ve been making a fair bit of fabric yarn lately from second hand clothes, and I’m planning to make a whole lot more. But now I need something to keep it in… like a basket. I didn’t want to use my own stash of fabric yarn or wool, and I did have a humungous pile of plastic mailing bags I’ve been collecting from online purchases and saving for reuse. So, I ventured back into the world of plarn* for my own zero cost basket.
I found out quite a lot about how plastic behaves. Some of the metallic stuff is very fragile when you pull it. The thin translucent garment bags that come from buying clothes online are surprisingly strong and stretchy. Unless they’re the crackly kind. They’re completely useless.
My top tips:
- Pull off any labels or tape if you can before you start.
- If you can’t get the paper labels off, either cut those bits out of your strips, or cut them extra thin at that point. Trying to crochet with paper-covered plastic is really hard.
- Don’t use the bits with sticky glue strips from mailing bags. They will gunk up your crochet hook and make working extra hard. Hot water, washing up liquid, and a good scrub will sort your hook out if it happens, though.
- Keep your tension on the loose side. Working with plarn can be tough on the hands and wrists.
- I was working with one inch strips and a 10mm hook. (I think. Get better at writing this stuff down, Zola.) You may need to vary the width of the strips depending on how stretchy and/or tough the plastic you’re using is.
- Have fun experimenting! As well as mailing bags and garment bags, when my stash started running low I raided the house. There’s the outer bag from a Mini Cheddars multipack, a bag from bananas, and a carrier bag among other things in there.
*Yarn made from plastic. It’s cut the same way as T shirt yarn, but easier because there’s no fiddling about with hems and sleeves.
** If you’re into physical encryption, check out the scytale, as used by the Ancient Greeks.