Methods of Making Plarn
Comparison Between Single- and Double-Strand Method
I started crocheting with plarn last November 2010 when I stopped working as a teacher to become a full-time housewife. Some of my projects were not pretty, but others showed a lot of potential (which is why I documented their patterns and shared them HERE). After almost a year of crocheting plarn on a daily basis I have learned quite a lot and I thought it might be great to share them in case someone wants to crochet plarn too.
In this article I am going to compare the two ways I know of making yarn from plastic bags. I will not go into the details of how to actually prepare plarn because there's a lot of tutorials for those and I will link you to my favorites. My objective for writing this hub is to provide comparison and show the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
My Best Patterns in Double-Strand PlarnClick thumbnail to view full-size
The double-strand method is the most common way of making plarn. It involves:
- folding plastic bag lengthwise usually up to 3x
- marking the desired width of strips
- cutting up into strips
- joining the strips into a long plarn
For me, the most important thing to remember when making plarn this way is to make the knots as tight as possible. To achieve this, just before making a knot, crumple the part of the strip that will be knotted. A tight knot will be invisible in a crocheted piece, giving the illusion that it does not exist.
- tying strips is a great family/group activity
- suitable for any type of pattern
- easy to change color because the end is looped
- takes too long if done alone
- can cause problems is plarn is not cut and/or tied evenly
Video: Double-Strand Plarn
My Patterns in Single-Strand PlarnClick thumbnail to view full-size
Single Strand Method
The single-strand method is usually used when making tarn (yarn derived from old t-shirts). However, it can be used to make plarn as well. This method includes:
- folding the plastic bag lengthwise up to 3x but leaves a part that will not be cut yet called "spine"
- marking the desired width of the strips
- cutting the plarn into strips except the "spine"
- unfolding the cut-up plastic bag
- cutting the "spine" diagonally to create one long strip
When I first tried this, I found the last part most challenging. Soon I realized that if I place a flat surface in the unfolded cut-up plastic bag, it will be easier to cut the "spine". At first I used books, but later, I found out that lightweight objects such as a DVD cover are more effective.
A problem also occurs when joining two strips. I join them by tying a knot and leaving at least 2 in of tail which I will hide after finishing an item. This will only work with compact patterns and nor for lacy ones. The knot will be visible for a more "open" work.
- faster to make
- the strips are always even
- not appropriate for "open" patterns
Video: Single-Strand Plarn
Just recently, I discovered the video below showing how to make plarn with plastic bag that is not a tube but a flat sheet instead.
I have to try this method first before I can write its pros and cons.
Video: Flat-Panel Plarn
Do You Crochet/Knit Plarn?
I used to make my plarn using the double-strand method. When I tried the single-strand method, I became a convert immediately. I do my plarn alone, I don't usually do lacy crochet, and I don't change color a lot.
What's important is we reuse plastic bags since they're gonna be here long after we're gone.
- All My Free Crochet Patterns
A list of my free crochet patterns: earrings, bracelets/bangles, flowers, hearts, squares, butterflies, dragonflies, necklace, jewelry Set, cross, headbands and cell phone cozies/holder.
- Plarn 101: Conditioning Plarn (Plastic Bag Yarn) for Crochet
This article discusses how to spin plarn with videos to the best tutorials. I also shared how to "soften" it if you can't spin it.
- How to Make Plarn (Single- or Continuous- Strand Method)
- How to make Plarn (Double-Strand Method)