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Plarn Bedrolls for the Homeless


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#1 Becks

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 12:06 PM

I was googling around today for a Halloween costume.
This lead me to the bagmonster. (An outfit made entirely out of used plastic bags).
And that lead me to a story about a group of crocheters making plastic bag bedrolls for homeless people.
Plarn Bedrolls

It says she uses a size N hook and single crochets them using 500 bags for one bedroll. Each mat is 32 inches by six feet.

I already know how to make plarn and have even made a tutorial here.

It says it takes a month to make one bedroll. Wow! That's a lot of time and devotion!

Has anyone here done this? What are they like? Is it worth the time and effort? Is there anyone in the Indianapolis area doing something like this?

Have hook; will travel!

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#2 propchick

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 12:47 PM

I'd be interested in helping out with that, too.

In the article it said that they cut the bags into 2-inch strips, and that they wear gloves when crocheting, because the plarn cuts their hands? I cut my plarn strips 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide, and haven't found the edges cutty at all! Has anyone else had issues with plarn cutting their hands? I open my strips, and run them in a loop through my thumb and fingers to krinkle them before I add them to my spool, because I've found it makes the end result softer, and makes the individual loops less likely to stretch. Is that why I'm not having cutting issues?

Edited by propchick, 07 October 2010 - 12:48 PM.
"Were" and "wear" are two different words!


#3 Becks

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 01:28 PM

Wow! Those are great tips! :clap

I don't remember the plarn cutting my hands but I do remember my hand getting very sore because the bags would sort of 'snag' or 'cling' to the plastic hook and it took more effort than, say, if it were just regular yarn, to crochet the thing.

Plus 500 bags is an awful lot of bags. I'd take over a month just to collect the bags.

The bedroll ought to be worth the effort because I'd totally make them too.

Have hook; will travel!

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#4 propchick

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 01:45 PM

Try a metal hook. I used my metal Boye (the Susan Bates kept catching and stretching), and my crinkle-plarn flew right through! I made a water-bottle carrier with a shoulder strap, and barely put a dent in my plarn spool. I carried around a full bottle of Powerade Zero in the blazing heat the other day (I was at Epcot, so I was mostly outside in the sun), and while it did stretch slightly, it didn't have any problems at all with my 1/2 inch strips.

The crinkling is the key! Nobody believes my water bottle carrier is plarn until they actually pick it up, because the crinkle-plarn comes out so soft. Just open up the loop, pinch your fingers around it LOOSELY, and pull the whole loop through a time or two. Only takes an extra couple of seconds to do, but it makes a huge difference!!

#5 Becks

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 01:59 PM

I used a plastic P sized hook for my bag.
The article says they use size N hooks and I've never seen a hook that large in anything but plastic. I haven't even seen a wooden one in that size either.

I wonder if sprinkling baby powder on a plastic hook would help.

A smaller hook would probably take even longer to make a whole bedroll, wouldn't it? Of course, if it's not catching it would go faster though.

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#6 propchick

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 02:09 PM

Boye makes a 9mm N, and Susan Bates makes a 10mm N15. My plastic P (sorry, it's unmarked, but it's the white one that comes in a set with a giant blue Q size -- maybe Lion?) is also a 10mm. The N and P hooks are all over the map, size-wise. My P plastic hook seems to be useless for just about everything. I'm much happier with the metal, although the Susan Bates is quite heavy, and a little hard to hold.

Can't tell you exactly which store, but all of my hooks are from WalMart, JoAnn, or Michaels.

#7 Titus2woman

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 02:44 PM

I LOVE THIS IDEA! I did a doormat with a K hook in all hdc that I think would make a great bedroll. And not to rain on their parade~I know more donations there would be amazing~we all have homeless shelters in our own cities that would really benefit also. If everyone took on their own it could impact a lot more people!!!! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

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#8 Becks

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 03:27 PM

I think half-double crochet would be a fabulous idea, Titus2woman!

Plus, omg, propchick, you're right!!!! There are aluminum size N hooks all over the place on the web! I guess I just never looked for one before!

I also agree that this could be a local thing because there are homeless people in need everywhere.

I wish I could find out from someone who has used this to sleep on whether it is actually comfortable or not. Do they like theirs. You know what I mean?

Have hook; will travel!

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#9 Sockmad

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:22 AM

I have the N Susan Bates with the bamboo handle and it is NOT heavy at all. It lists as 10.00mm I bought mine at Red Heart. In fact the only one size I don't have of the bamboos are the steelies,and the L. Not sure why I don't have the L's will have to go to Red Heart and see if they are available. ;)

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#10 Titus2woman

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:41 AM

I wonder what it would be like to sleep on as well. One huge plus is how light it is though, so it would be VERY easy to move around with. Maybe straps placed for rolling it up might be nice as well.... (((((HUGS))))) sandi

More people fail from a lack of encouragement than anything else!~Mrs. James Hendry

 

I'm a Mary in a world of Marthas~Carol Barnier

 

I think you are too kind.  Kind people give the people around them a hard time.  You can't express yourself honestly, because you are worried about hurting other people's feelings, and that makes you miserable.~"Winter Sonata"


#11 propchick

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:37 PM

I have the N Susan Bates with the bamboo handle and it is NOT heavy at all. It lists as 10.00mm I bought mine at Red Heart. In fact the only one size I don't have of the bamboos are the steelies,and the L. Not sure why I don't have the L's will have to go to Red Heart and see if they are available. ;)



Oooh, I haven't tried those! I have wonky wrists, so I have a little trouble with the smaller and larger hooks. Just about everything I make is with I, J, or K, lol.

#12 Aryy

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 10:18 AM

I cut plarn about an inch in width, and no, never been cut. That's odd that those people would have to wear gloves. I'd totally make these though, if homeless people really appreciate them.

#13 Becks

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 10:33 AM

I looked up those bamboo handled aluminum hooks at Herrschners.
They look nice. This might be a great excuse for getting some.

I'd like to make a bedroll and see how long it takes and how many bags it uses.

(It's a little bit like "taking a step backwards" to actually WANT those plastic bags to use to crochet with.)

I think I'd make it in hdc at 32" by six feet.
But I gotta get me an aluminum N hook first!

Have hook; will travel!

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#14 Titus2woman

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 10:42 AM

OH WOW! Now I want a Susan Bates, bamboo-handled, aluminum N hook!!!!! ENABLERS!!!! When I get one, I start a bedroll.... (((((HUGS)))) sandi

More people fail from a lack of encouragement than anything else!~Mrs. James Hendry

 

I'm a Mary in a world of Marthas~Carol Barnier

 

I think you are too kind.  Kind people give the people around them a hard time.  You can't express yourself honestly, because you are worried about hurting other people's feelings, and that makes you miserable.~"Winter Sonata"


#15 propchick

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 11:21 AM

(It's a little bit like "taking a step backwards" to actually WANT those plastic bags to use to crochet with.)


Hate to say this, but ever since I first learned about plarn, I've left my reusable bags at home, and have even re-packed the groceries at the checkout counter to get MORE BAGS!! Yarn's expensive, but plarn is "free", so I keep hunting and gathering it, lol. Sadly, I've even found myself eyeing the "Return Plastic Bags Here For Recycling" box at my local grocery store...

I need bamboo handles, too!!

#16 Becks

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 04:06 PM

I don't know what type of bags you all use, but I've been saving up these large sized green Goodwill bags for a long time now. I figure they are about two of the regular sized bags. (Which are orange at Goodwill and I have a lot of those too.

So, while I wait for my N hook, I'm preparing my plarn.

I was looking up on you tube a video which shows how to spin your plarn on the top bobbin winder of your sewing machine so it is almost string-like.
Do any of you do that?
I imagine in a project like this though, it's better to be bulky. A bedroll that is thicker would keep you that much more off the cold ground.

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Edited by Becks, 10 October 2010 - 04:12 PM.

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#17 hhensler

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 04:58 AM

Hate to say this, but ever since I first learned about plarn, I've left my reusable bags at home, and have even re-packed the groceries at the checkout counter to get MORE BAGS!! Yarn's expensive, but plarn is "free", so I keep hunting and gathering it, lol. Sadly, I've even found myself eyeing the "Return Plastic Bags Here For Recycling" box at my local grocery store...


:lol LOL...that is hilarious! :lol

I was looking up on you tube a video which shows how to spin your plarn on the top bobbin winder of your sewing machine so it is almost string-like.
Do any of you do that?


Sounds like something I would love to try! Do you have a link?

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#18 propchick

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 05:53 AM

I was at the grocery store just yesterday. Everybody around me had their reusable bags, and the bagger was a little snotty about, "Well, I guess you're okay with plastic bags...". I loudly said, "Yes! I need all the plastic bags I can get!" Everybody turned around and looked at me, so I said, "I cut them into yarn, and use them to crochet things for charity!" They all looked appropriately shame-faced, and both the older male bagger, and the extremely young male checkout guy asked me all about how to make plarn!

In the end, the checkout guy told me, "You can have all the plastic bags you want!"

ROFL!

#19 Titus2woman

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 07:00 AM

LOVE IT, propchick! LOL! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

More people fail from a lack of encouragement than anything else!~Mrs. James Hendry

 

I'm a Mary in a world of Marthas~Carol Barnier

 

I think you are too kind.  Kind people give the people around them a hard time.  You can't express yourself honestly, because you are worried about hurting other people's feelings, and that makes you miserable.~"Winter Sonata"


#20 Becks

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 07:21 AM

OMG! That's so funny, propchick! :lol
(And yes, I've also enviously eyed the recycle bag bins at the front of Walmart ). :embar :lol

Here's the you tube link on spinning the plarn into twine.
How to spin plarn on the sewing machine.

edit: I've been working on my plrn all day today and I noticed I'm starting to develop a rash around my wrist and forearm areas. Has this happened to anyone else? As far as I know I'm not allergic to latex or anything. I've been washing my hands throughout the day too.
I've smeared a hydrocortisone cream on the affected areas.

Edited by Becks, 11 October 2010 - 02:23 PM.

Have hook; will travel!

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