Friday, 17 February 2012

Reduce, reuse, recycle.... Make plarn and tarn

We're always being bugged to reduce our waste nowadays and since discovering how quilting can make use of fabric that would otherwise be thrown away, I've been thinking about how I can make more use of my waste.  And of course plarn (plastic bag yarn) and tarn (t-shirt yarn) sprang to mind.

I've seen a few instructions on making plarn by cutting bags horizontally into rings and then joining them to make a long strip.  The technique I've chosen to use is slightly different and involves cutting a spiral.  Sounds complicated, but it's not.

Take your bag and cut off the bottom:

Cut the bag into 1" (wider if you're using thinner bags) strips, but leave 3" at the end uncut.  I used a rotary cutter so did it on a board, but you could just use scissors.

Now you're going to cut diagonally across the uncut section.  If you cut from the bottom right, cut from the second from the right to the first cut from the right at the top. I slid my cutting mat through the bag so that the cut section lay under it:

Continue cutting until all cuts are joined by a diagonal cut.  Trim the end pieces.

Roll plarn into balls ready to be used

Most of the patterns I've seen seem to use 25-45 bags....  It looks like I'll be collecting bags for a while before I can get started.

The same cutting techniques can be used for making tarn.  The best t-shirts to use are the ones made without side-seams (I've spied a few in hubby's draw, but have to wait until he's ready to throw them out....  It's a shame I can't 'accidentally' shrink them as, incidentally, I did his Merino jumper that now fits me perfectly!)

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