New Life for Old Bags

August 16th, 2014 No Comments

No, I don’t mean your wife (sorry, that was kind of mean).

A friend asked me if I could help her out with a project. She had come across a group that makes sleeping mats for the homeless in Chicago by reusing plastic shopping bags.  She linked me to their Facebook page.   From there, I found a video tutorial that explains everything from how to make the plarn (plastic yarn) to how to construct the mat.  The video is lengthy, and to be honest I didn’t watch the entire thing.  It does have some good information, if you are new to plarn or crocheting.

My friend provided me with the plarn for this project. Her Girl Scout troop made it as one of their projects. Unfortunately, nobody knew how to crochet. That’s where I come in.  My friend said she hadn’t crocheted in over 10 years and wasn’t sure she could remember how to do it anymore. I offered to give her a quick refresher lesson, but our busy summer schedules didn’t match up.  In the end, she provided me with the plarn and hook, and I crocheted the mat.

I worked on it off and on for many days.  I had never worked with plarn before, so it was a challenging experience for me.  But, I did manage to finish it!

Plastic bag mat. New Life for Old Bags. Crochet sleeping mat for the homeless.

Finished mat measures approx 2’x6′. I hadn’t woven in the ends yet – I was just happy to be finished!  The sides are a little wonky. It’s hard to keep even tension when crocheting with plastic bags!

Plastic bag mat. New Life for Old Bags. Crochet sleeping mat for the homeless.

All rolled up. It looks tiny here!

Plastic bag mat. New Life for Old Bags. Crochet sleeping mat for the homeless.

Size comparison. Here is the mat, all rolled up, next to a giant ziplock storage bag. The bag held about half the plarn I was given to make the mat. A bag of bags, if you will. I didn’t end up using all the plarn I was given, but there wasn’t enough to make a 2nd mat.

My husband was actually insulted that I was making this for homeless to sleep on. He felt it would be horribly uncomfortable, hot, and gross. He asked me repeatedly if we could just give the camping mat we have in the basement to the homeless instead.  Or, just go buy one.  I felt it was a great way to reuse the hundreds of plastic bags people accumulate.

What do you think?  Are you inspired to make a plarn sleeping mat for the homeless?  What other projects have you made with plarn?


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