Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tutorial - Spinning Plarn !

Nope, not a typo. Today we're making yarn, out of plastic bags, thus Plarn. You need some plastic bags, a pair of scissors, a spindle (for this project a cup hook and dowel are suitable) and a desire to recycle! Ready class? Let's go!

I have collected a number of newspaper bags, I can't make them stop (unlike grocery bags, I always bring a tote from my shop when I go to the market) and I have had many projects over the years using up these colorful petrochemical products.
Lay it out and smooth it down, fold it several times the hot dog way (tofu dog way? as opposed to the veggie burger way.) Make these folds super neat to ensure good loops. Cut the strip at regular intervals (ruler or eye-ball, you pick depending on your OCD level) I cut at about 3/8 inch, and it made yarn at 16w/inch or about fingering wieght. Any thinner and it would likely break, but thicker strips will make thicker yarn.

You will have two unusable slivers (the sealed end and the uneven top of the bag) and a big pile of plastic loops. They will be pretty straight if you folded carefully, but if they zig-zag a little that's ok. Hook one on the end of your spindle.

Now chain several loops, you will be doing a standard join for loops (anyone ever made rubber band sling shots?).

Call the loop attached to the spindle loop A, and the joining Loop B. Take one end of loop B and push it through Loop A, grab the other end of loop B and push it through the first end of loop B.... or ignore my confusing explaination and look at the pictures. Loop several in a chain. Tug the ends gently to make a small node where the loops join.

Now take your drop spindle and spin normally! It's like having pre-drafted roving (think pencil roving), just let is slide slowly through your fingers while it's spinning, then wrap the finished produst around the shaft. If you don't have a spindle, put a hook on the end of a short dowel and roll it down your thigh. No spinning experience required.
Not so hard yeah? One could use several colors of bag; two, three or four-ply it, lots of coolness to be had! Leave a Comment and suggest a project to be made with this water proof goodness. (wow, I could knit in the bath with this...)


Live, Love, Laugh, Write! said...

That's cool!

Audrey said...

That's so cool!! Almost makes me wish I had different colored bags.
Nice way to recycle.

Unknown said...

Thank you.

Riley N said...

Very cool. One question about working with it though. I have a small spindle. Holds maybe 6 yards. What's the best way to join it when knitting?

Cath dM said...

I love your blog, so natural, relaxed and funny too... and great ideas!

Unknown said...

Awesome! I now have a use for all this plastic.

JohnWeaver said...

Very very good idea!