Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Finding a Place for Plarn

After a couple of days of trying out different crochet techniques and being less than thrilled with the results, I finally put my finger on what has been bothering me. I, like a lot of other fiber artists, have been trying to make plarn act like yarn. It isn't yarn and isn't going to behave the same way.

First, most of the items I've seen made with plarn have been in single crochet with a large gauge hook. The result has been thick, puffy stitches without much character. I thought that perhaps a more decorative stitch would work, but I soon discovered that this is not the case. Plarn is not as supple as yarn. This means that the end result of decorative stitches, such as Filet Crochet, is misshapen and awkward looking. Additionally, because plarn is somewhat thick, the decorative stitches are huge and not at all attractive! Finally, plarn is not very strong, certainly not as strong as yarn. So I have been reluctant to explore very far into the open weave designs. I would like to keep the stitches small, tight and close together to give the finished product as much strength as possible.

Working with the bags I have on hand, I kept thinking how much it looks like raffia. This got me to thinking about raffia baskets, which falls perfectly in line with my desire to make a European Market Tote. Because my plarn is made by interlocking loops of plastic bag, I knew that traditional coiled basket weaving wouldn't work well. So I have been trying out a combination of single crochet and coiled basket techniques and I am really pleased with the results. I hope to have a photo to show by tomorrow. I am about halfway done with the body of my trial market tote.


Laura said...

Can't wait to see pictures. I have thought about making and crocheting with plarn. I was thinking of using single crochet and using a amigurumi type pattern you know just work it in the round.

SEWphisticate said...

my advice, if you decide to try it, is use a smaller hook than you think you would need based on the size of the plarn. the smaller the hook, the tighter the plarn compresses and the prettier the stitches. plarn is hard on the hands because it is not as supple as yarn (just as a warning!) your washcloths made from plarn would make nice, gentle scrubbies for rough places like elbows and feet.

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i sew because i cannot draw.