I’m always on the lookout for ways to use up whatever I have on hand. Like plastic grocery bags. You know, those plastic bags that seem to breed in the dark corners of the closet?
A few years back, while on a train trip I took with a group of friends, one of the ladies from our group called out, “Hey, Linda! You need to come see this!”
She knows me well. Sitting across the aisle was a sweet lady with an unusual handbag. A handbag crocheted from strips of plastic grocery bags. “Plarn” they call it. She let me have a closer look and that was all it took to put me on a mission. Maybe not a handbag, but how about a tote bag?
Back at home I ‘googled’ and searched and found all sorts of place that show you how to cut those pesky plastic bags into strips. I followed these steps:
- Cut off the handles.
- Slit open the bottom.
- Begin cutting 1 inch strips in a circular fashion.
- Roll them into a ball like you would yarn.
- Voila ~ ‘plarn!’
To crochet a tote bag, any pattern will do, but opted to create my own. I chained a row wide enough for a medium-sized tote bag, then made several sturdy foundation rows using a half-double-crochet. I then worked a pattern of rows in the round using an open off set stitch (like this stitch) which gave the tote room to stretch and flex with its load.
To form the handle, I chained several stitched at about a third into the row, slip-stitched it to the previous row and continued around, creating a matching handle around the other side.
I then single-crocheted a couple of rows to finish it off. This was a create-as-you go project, and lots of fun! It was quick and easy. Once my stash of bags gets unmanageable again, I think I’ll have a couple of my assistants making up big balls of ‘plarn’ so we can create a few more.
The single-ply plarn I used for this grocery tote worked great. My end product worked just as I had hoped, but I think I’ll use a double-ply plarn for the next one. I found instructions on Craftsy.com that make an even better quality product.
Do you reuse and recycle your plastic grocery bags? Maybe you crochet – I’d love to hear how and what!