Crochet with Plarn: Stepping Outside the Yarn Box

Sheri Goad

Crocheting is my addiction. I’m a mom, wife, home daycare provider, crocheter, writer, youth director, crafter and more. I like trying new things but only stick to those that I love. Life is too short to be doing things you don’t love. I blog regularly at Frogging Along, and I am a Guest Blogger at Knot Just Yarn Blog for The Crochet Crowd.

36 thoughts on “Crochet with Plarn: Stepping Outside the Yarn Box

  • February 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Hey Mikey, would you remind your bloggers to take a look back on their articles and read the comment sections? I see a lot of questions that go unanswered.
    I don’t think that it is rude to be a know-it-all. Others maybe do, but that is their problem.
    Windows and doors should be opened so that all may enjoy the knowledge.
    Just my opinion – thanks for listening.

  • June 10, 2014 at 12:13 am

    I have cut up the mesh bags that oranges and lemon, etc. come in. Cutting around and around them so I have one long continuous strip about an inch wide. Then I crochet them into scrubbies to use for washing dishes.

  • May 13, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I’m using old VHS tapes to make beach or market bags, water bottle purses & door mats. I find them at yard sales & flea markets CHEAP. Or friends give me stacks of them. lol

  • May 13, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I’m using old VHS tapes to make beach or market bags & door mats. I find them at yard sales & flea markets CHEAP!

  • May 12, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I started cutting up plastic shopping bags for crochet projects back in the 1980s! One of my favorite things to make is throw rugs. They work up very quickly, are light weight, and unharmed if they get wet. It is amazing to me how great they look; you would never guess what they are made of!

    Around that same time I also started cutting fabric strips to crochet with. This is a great medium for trivets (I have made many to give as gifts) and also “sculptured” items like bowls/baskets.

    So many ideas…so little time!!! 🙂

    • May 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

      “So many ideas…so little time!!!” My constant lament! Seems like creativity in the head never lets the hands catch up!
      About the throw rugs, don’t forget to mention that they tend to be skid-proof. Great for slippery floors next to the back door when wet feet are bound to come charging in. Not that I ever had kids with wet feet come charging in…. don’t know where that could have come from….LOL

      • May 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

        Don’t weave in the ends, pull all the tails up in the same direction, and you can use it to scrub off your feet.

    • May 12, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Very cool. I love the baskets made from fabric strips.

  • May 12, 2014 at 3:11 am

    So many plastic shopping bags are degradable these days which mean they disintegrate in a couple of years at least. That’s my only problem, although I have made things from them.

    • May 12, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Well I wouldn’t make a big project for outside that I wanted to last for years, but not left to the elements, they last a LOOONG time! Certainly longer than anything you could buy.

  • May 12, 2014 at 12:47 am

    I made a little round rug for in front of my sink out of an old sheet my husband cut into one continuous long piece by starting at the outside and cutting about a 1 in. spiral to the middle. It also happened to be a t-shirt material sheet! I can’t afford the t-shirt yarn but this worked out great!

  • May 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Just want to say… I loved this story.
    I am always looking for different ideas on crafting, even better if it involves crochet. This article is awesome, thanks!

  • May 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Making the plarn is the only thing that limits how much I make out of it. But I have gotten faster at it and make it while watching TV. Produce bags, cut about a half inch wide, make great small projects like glass cases, Phone or Ipad cased, key holders or change purses. An ‘F’ hook is all that is needed. The bags we get out paper in are often colored and a few of them make great outsides for wallets. And of course, shopping bags that just won’t give in or give out. Also when you make the handles a couple inches wide, it doesn’t hurt your hands when you carry them, no matter how heavy. Most of my family now have a set for shopping, and I have enough bags on hand for about 6 more…. it takes 60 – 100 bags each depending on the style I use. Bags permitting I thing I prefer the 50 count bags, though. More crocheting and less ‘plarning’ LOL

    • May 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Also, cut wider and using a ‘J’ or ‘K’ hook, they make great moisture barriers for under pets outside bedding. And larger, make great pads for under sleeping bags too. Ironing flat sheets together, they can be used to line plarn rain gear and are absolutely rainproof.

  • May 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    My mother in law has been making bags and purses out of plarn for years and to combat any stretching she lines the bags with fabric. She is a seamstress by trade and so this only takes a few minutes of her time and she has given away lots of these as gifts and uses them herself. She doesn’t have the internet so I think I will print her some other patterns that she might like to make up. She has been crocheting since she was 12 and her work is exquisite. She specializes in items out of crochet thread and has made tons of beautiful ball gowns for our dolls as we are both doll collectors. I will have to share some pics in the future. Since it is Mothers Day and I will be visiting her I think I will ask her what else she has used to crochet with other than yarn and plastic. I might even be surprised.

  • May 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I have made several grocery tote bags out of plarn. They are strong and hold a LOT of groceries. They haven’t stretched with use, though. I would love to find out how to cut a bag into one long strip! I cut bags across into several strips, then loop each into the other – preparing the plarn is the most time-consuming of the entire project, for sure.

    • May 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Check it out on Pinterest. I did a search and found out hot to cut the bag. It looks a little confusing, but I think may be worth taking the time to learn.

    • May 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      I have a couple of how to’s on my channel. The plarn ones start with how to make the plarn. One of the ways demonstrated is how to make one continuous strip out of a grocery bag. It is easy and not confusing at all.

  • May 11, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I cut mine the same way, but one more time so my strips are a little over 1″ wide. They make great mats for my husband to put his muddy boots on. The dried mud usually just pops right off. I had a market bag I’d made too, but like Karen said, it had a stretching issue.

  • May 11, 2014 at 11:58 am

    where can i get plarn already factory made & ready to go? i got some before from a site i found, i think it was called keep on giving. but now when i try to go to it, it says site under maintenance

      • May 13, 2014 at 9:31 pm

        There is a lot of Plarn available on Etsy. Trying to get the makers to be a little more specific as to how much you are buying can be challenging, as in how many ounces, the total length, is it a single strip or larksheaded double.
        That being said, I make my own, larksheaded and doubled. I sell completed bags and totes on Etsy in my shop ecouture handmades. My large shoulder bags are unlined so they will hold more, but I also make portfolios, Mommy bags and handbags witjh vintage linings of silk saricloth and muslin feedsack.
        Currently, I am assembling bags crocheted from VHS and cassette tape – lots of sparkle!
        Very glad to see an article about Plarn. Now to convince people to pay for the makers time!

  • May 11, 2014 at 11:18 am

    i am working with tshirt yarn (bobbiny and hoooked zpagetti) crocheting baskets and a cat bed.

  • May 11, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I made my daughter a purse out of the plarn- the plastic Walmart bags. It was very cute. Her Art teacher called it “trash art”- making something out of an item that most people would throw away. The only thing, with use, it stretched, and stretched and stretched.
    A few months ago I saw an item on the news where a local church group was making sleeping mats for the homeless out of Walmart bags. They say they are lightweight, waterproof, and very warm. They didn’t outline the whole process, but they were cutting the bags much different than I was- they cut everything into small squares, and then somehow worked it all back together- I think their process gave it more thickness and stability.

    Also, I noticed that this tutorial cut the bags much different than what I was shown- the way I was shown each bag turned into one long piece- but for the life of me I cannot remember how to do it

    • May 11, 2014 at 11:38 am

      here is a tutorial for those sleeping mats 😉

    • May 13, 2014 at 12:07 am

      There are a lot of tutorials out there that show you different ways of cutting and putting the bags together.

    • June 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

      If you go on YouTube, you should be able to search for videos from various groups that are making the mats. Also on YouTube are Tshirt yarn videos that show how to cut Tshirts into a single strip. You can cut plastic bags the same way.
      Simply put, flatten out the bag, with the bottom seam and the top handles, if any, cut off. You will have a wide tube, two open ends and two folded sides. Fold one side over to the other, but not all the way – leave and inch or so of the bottom side showing. Fold over the part you just folded over on top to that same point.
      With a sharp scissors or quilt cutter, cut the multi-folded part right up to the first fold point, about an inch wide or wider and make your cuts the same way along the folded part. You end up with what would look like a bunch of squares, but they are all attached by the top, uncut strip.
      At one end of the uncut part, insert your hand so that the uncut part unfolds along your arm with the loops of all that was cut before, hanging down. Here’s where you now make the single strip:
      Describing this as it hangs on my left arm, cut, at an angle, from the beginning of the loops (hand end), to the first cut (on the outside). Now cut from the first loop cut on the inside, hand end, at an angle, to the next outside loop cut. Continue to the end of the piece. The last cut will be at an angle, too.
      If you mess up, you can larkshead the strips together by making a lengthwise slit, passing the two pieces you want to join through each other.
      You can do this with Tshirts or plastic bags.
      You can also cut loops and larkshead knot them together. That way you can change colors easily.

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