Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pop Tab Bracelet Crochet-Plarn Along

Due to the overwhelming # of responses received for the W&G Checkbook/Wallet Organizer C-PAL, I figured let's squeeze in another before saying good-bye to 2010 ....

This Crochet-Plarn Along will be in honor of those that are seeking a 'last minute gift idea'.

Don't get excited yet because I'm not posting the pattern now ....  I'm just spreading the word to see if anyone is interested.

The project for this Crochet-Plarn Along will be another original Plastique design - Pop Tab Front Post Plarn Bracelet

The skill level:  Easy

Materials Needed:
  • Crochet hook - size F
  • 14 pop tabs
  • 2 standard size plastic grocery bags
Average time to complete:  less than 30 minutes 
   (except if you're laughing too hard from watching     something funny on TV or chatting away with friends ...all of which are completely acceptable and encouraged)

Start date:   Dec 7th  (in honor of my son's 26th birthday)

Because this is a super simple and it being so close to Christmas and because I want you to make as many as you want for yourself as well as the special people in your life and because I want to see pics of your little beauties, the pattern will be in only one posting.  

If you interested in participating, please leave me a comment.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wrap&Go Checkbook/Wallet Organizer Crochet-Plarn Along - Part 1: Let's Get This Party Started

(added excellent feedback received from plarn crocheters participating in this C-PAL)

We've been spreading the word ...  the time has finally arrived for us to get crazy.

The pattern instructions for the Wrap & Go Checkbook/Wallet Organizer will be offered in the following 3 increments:

Part 1 Instructions:  Pouch
Part 2 Instructions:  Flap
Part 3/Finale Instructions:  Wraparoundband & Flower

Here are hints/tips I offer on all my patterns:

Read through the pattern instructions before beginning.
• When using plarn, it’s a good idea to stretch your work after every couple of rows. This will give you a more realistic view of what you have completed up to that point.
• Ch 1 at beginning of each row is not counted as the 1st stitch.
• Plastic in general is susceptible to ripping/tearing due to its very nature.
   o Weaving in ends - it is best to maneuver your craft needle in between the stitch or stitches to avoid splitting the plastic yarn.

Practice Swatch:

I typically don’t suggest making a practice swatch because achieving a certain height/width is an individual preference. However, it is suggested to ensure the Organizer is the wide enough for what you propose to put in it.

Ch 22, hdc in 2nd ch from hook and each st across. Row 2-4: Hdc in each st across. Lay piece on flat surface and place the widest item that you will put in the Organizer once it is completed on top. The piece should be slightly (not much) wider than the item. If more width is needed, try again with additional # of ch sts until desired width is achieved.

• Crochet Hook – Size F & H
• Plastic Yarn (NOTE: 12 – 1” strips per standard size plastic bag = 6 yards):
   o Main Color – Approximately 20 plastic bags
   o Contrasting Color – Approximately 10 plastic bags
• Craft needle

ABBREVIATIONS Pattern Instructions:

blo = back loop only
ch(s) = chain(s)
dc = double crochet
flo – front loop only
hdc = half double crochet
rev sc = reverse single crochet
sc = single crochet
sl = slip
sp = space
st(s) = stitch(es)
tog = together
tr (treble or triple)

With H hook and main color, ch 22 or # determined with practice swatch.
Row 1: Hdc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across.  Ch1, turn.
Row 2 – 22 (or desired height): Hdc in each st across.  Finish with right side.

(Tip: Depth determines Height. To ensure an accurate height is achieved, fold the piece in half and place whatever you will be using the Organizer (e.g. checkbook, calculator, cell phone, etc.) for inside. This gives a more accurate way of determining if additional rows will need to be added for height. 

Photo 1

Photo 2

Ch 1, sc in end st (1st corner) and in end st of each row to corner, 3 sc in corner, across edge to corner, 3 sc in corner, sc in end st of each row matching up with opposite side (Important:  evenly match up sts on both sides or the rows will not have a straight line appearance when stitching up the sides, refer to photo 6), 3 sc in corner, across edge back to corner, 2 sc in corner (back at 1st corner), join with a sl st in beginning sc.  Fasten off, weave in ends.
Photo 3

Sides (repeat on both sides):

With contrasting color and wrong side facing you, join with a sl st at the corner and sc in each st across, ch 1 turn. Sc in each st across. Fasten off leaving about 6” tail for sewing sides together.

Photo 4
Fold piece in half lengthwise with right sides together (wrong side out), st sides together with tail. (Stitch Suggestion – whip st the blo of one side and flo of other side [the 2 sts back to back]).  Fasten off; weave in all loose plarn ends.
Photo 5

Turn pouch inside out and push out bottom corners. Just give the pouch a good stretch, tug and pull on both the front and sides.   a sl st in 1st sc st.

Photo 6

Please feel free to post your comments, questions and/or progress pictures via this blog post or at any one of the following sites:
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/plastiqrecreat (you will have to be a friend for real time 'chat')
Ravelry:  Group - From Trash to Treasures

11/28- Sharing the excellent feedback received from a few plarn crocheters - RecycleCindy and KristyRecycles ....

1) Both used a ch base of 28 w/hdc in 2nd chain from hook instead of the ch 22 I used. RecycleCindy is using newspaper sleeve plastic yarn which would have a completely different texture/thickness than the Dollar General or Lowe's plastic yarn I have used.

This confirms my previous comments of what to consider when using plarn for any project -
a) the type of plastic bag - textures/thickness differs
b) tension - loose or tight crochet stitch
c) width of plastic strip - determines gauge

2) Ch 2 at row end was used as an alternative for a more taylored edge.

More feedback to received -
11/30 - Received progress update from a fellow Craftster crocheter participating in this C-PAL:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=364976.msg...  / Reply #18 … she even included pics …

This is so awesome!!! Keep the feedback coming -luv it!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Plastic Bag Yarn aka Plarn

Move Over Yarn and Make Room For Plarn!!!

'Plarn' ..  it is a commonly used word heard quite a bit in the crafting community.    You can find write-ups and tutorials about it on various blogs and websites as well as in YouTube.

What exactly is Plarn?  It is a very creative way to recycle plastic bags you bring home from the grocery store, retail stores, and even fast food restaurants.  

The word 'Plarn' is derived from 2 words combined:  

[Pl (plastic) + Arn (yarn) =

Plarn]  . 

Let's go one step further - Now that you know what 'Plarn' is, how do you turn the plastic bag into plastic yarn? 

The 2 commonly used methods are:
2) Single (Continuous) Strand Cutting Method

The Looping Method is a fun activity to do as a family or the next time you hear 'Mom, I'm bored, there's nothing to do...').    You can have lots of fun looping plastic in a group setting such as church, at school or at work on lunch.  Heck, this is a great way to make the time go faster while waiting at the dentist or dr's office instead of reading 2 year old magazines.  

Plarn is very easy to use in both knitting and crocheting and is also visually appealing.  

Here are just a few of the different types of plarn you will find available in the Plastique Plarn Shop:

Made from Marsh Supermarket plastic bags

Made from Publix Grocery Store plastic bags

Made with Dollar General plastic bags

or go crazy and mix it up with VHS tape:

Mint Chocolate Chip which is plied VHS tape & WalMart produce plastic bags

If you are new to using plastic yarn, I hope this information is helpful.   

I welcome any comments or questions via this post or send me a private message at plastiquerecreations@yahoo.com.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Plastic Yarn Preparation

I can't believe the overwhelming number of responses received and still receiving for the C-PAL.  It really is exciting to hear from both crocheters and non-crocheters... 

Let me take this opportunity to address a few questions from the individuals not quite ready to take the plunge.  

Most are concerned with ....  where to begin / what to do first?   

For those that have never tried using plastic bag yarn (aka plarn), I have outlined below some helpful hints and tips:  

1) Where to find plastic bags:   Majority of the grocery stores (e.g. WalMart, Kroger, Winn Dixie, Publix, etc.) typically have a recycle container located at the front entrance.  You should have no problem finding an ample supply of plastic bags in the container.  The recycle containers are either a cardboard boxes (with or without a lid) or something fancier as a hard plastic green colored container with a slot on the front for depositing.   

For this type of container, there should be a key turn on the side. Just turn the key, open it in front and choose from what's in there.   The recycle container could also be located in the checkout area.    If that's the case,  I suggest going to the Customer Service counter and letting the manager know what you're doing and make sure they have no objections.  I have yet to be told no  (but, I always have an example of a plarn item on me so I show them what I make with the plastic bags and the fascination puts them into a trance).  Also, be prepared for the stares and questions.  

2) RECOMMENDATION: Whether you choose to pick through the recycle container at the store or wait until you get home - I strongly urge, recommend, suggest you wear some form of hand protection - (e.g. playtex gloves, etc.). Over the years, I have discovered that people also use plastic bags for various other things (to be specific, dog poop) and they'll put those nasty plastic bags in with the other plastic bags. And believe me I have come across much worst than dog poop ..

3) Finding what you want:  There are many various types of plastic bags but amongst the popular are the t-shirt style most grocery stores use
and shiny merchandise/retain store bags .
If you're new to crafting with plastic yarn, I strongly recommend choosing the t-shirt bag as these are easier to work with.  The retail bag has a tendency to resist the crochet hook. 

4) Once you've picked the plastic bags you will be using for this project it's time to make plastic yarn.  You can access the tutorials on how to make plastic yarn on my blog.  The 2 creative ways are: 1) double-strand method (cutting the plastic bag into loops and looping the strips together) or 2) continuous strand method (making 1 long strand).   There are also other sites on the internet that also offers tutorials including YouTube.

As I indicated in my previous post, I recommend that a practice swatch be made prior to beginning the project because:
Not all plastic is made the same.  When using plarn, achieving a desired size or gauge is dependent on texture, thickness and strip width of the plastic yarn. 

Hopefully you will find this information helpful as you prepare for the C-PAL.  By all means please leave me any comments or questions that you might have.  Feel free to email me privately at plastiquerecreations@yahoo.com.

Let the count down begin - 7 days remaining

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crochet - Plarn Along

Let me be the first to invite you to participate in Plastique Recreations first

Crochet-Plarn Along (C-PAL for short)

Before going any further I don't want to presume that everyone knows what a 'crochet-along' is let alone what 'plarn' is. 

What is a Crochet-Along?  
An online virtual event where crocheters get together and work on a particular pattern together.  It is also an opportunity to share experiences, offer suggestions, and give helpful tips/hints to each other.  

What is plarn?  It is a creative way to reuse plastic bags by turning it into yarn.  [Plastic (pla) + Yarn (arn) = Plarn]

This C-PAL is being offered to give any yarncrafter who has always wanted to crochet with plastic yarn, but didn't know where to start, the opportunity.

About Me - My name is Teresa and I have been crocheting for 41 years.  I celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary in August of this year and have 3 fantastic kids.  My first experience with crocheting with plastic bags was merely by accident about 15 years ago.  I was contracted to make an item and had just enough yarn for the project but not enough to make a practice swatch.  I remembered looking around and found plastic bags tucked away in a drawer.  I figured out how to cut the strips into something that would resemble yarn.  I was so intrigued on the texture and appearance of the swatch I ended up making the entire item with the plastic yarn.  Needless to say, so did my client and that's what she ended up paying me for.  I have perfected my cutting technique over the years and have preferred plastic yarn ever since.   

Who is invited to participate in the C-PAL?  Anyone and Everyone.  Don't keep this a secret.  Help me spread the word.  Tell everyone you know that crochets -blog about it... twitter about it... facebook about it ...myspace about it...  and any other media venue you can think of.

The skill level for this C-PAL is 'Easy' so everyone from novice to seasoned can join in the fun! 

What is the project for the 1st C-PAL?  One of Plastique Recreation's original designs, the Wrap & Go Checkbook/Wallet Organizer.   
S&S Food and Home Depot plastic bag yarn
ACE Hardware and Red newspaper sleeve plastic bag yarn

Top pic - Taco Bell & Purple newspaper sleeve plastic bag yarn
Bottom pic - Lowe's and Dollar General plastic bag yarn

Why was this chosen as the first project?  Because of  the overwhelming number of requests received for this pattern and because it is 'EASY' for the 1st P-CAL. 

When will the C-PAL start?  It will start on Sunday, November 28th.

Where and When will the pattern instructions be delivered?  The first installment of pattern instructions will be posted here on Sunday, Nov 28th; 2nd installment of pattern instructions will follow on Thursday, Dec 2nd; and the 3rd/final installment of pattern instructions on Sunday, Dec 5th.

How does it work? Once the pattern instructions are posted on  11/28, 12/2 & 12/5, I will also update the following medias:
  • Plastique Recreation's facebook (www.facebook.com/plastiqrecreat) page each time with the blog link.  Facebook is a excellent interactive tool that will be of real benefit for anyone that wants to chat real time. For the record - you DO NOT have to friend me on facebook to participate. My blog will be the primary point of communication.  However, you do have to friend me to participate in the real time interactive chat.
  • Ravelry's 'From Trash to Treasures/Crochet-Plarn Along' topic thread.

I encourage anyone participating to leave comment posts for suggestions, questions and progress pictures on any of the medias - blog, facebook and Ravelry.  However, the best place for it to be is on the blog.  If for any other reason but for retention. 

Why is this starting on 11/28?Firstly) from now until the 28th, most of us will be pre-occupied with Thanksgiving activities.
Secondly) 11/28 is my birthday and I will be turning 50 this year.  The gift of giving is the best gift of all to receive.

Why is the C-PAL only lasting one week because normally they last much longer?  Christmas is just around the corner and after you make one for yourself, you'll be addicted and realize this will make the perfect gift.   Thus, giving you plenty of time to make up as many as you can in time for Christmas.

When does the C-PAL come to an end and how long will the pattern be available?  There is no 'official' end date.  Pattern instructions will be accessible on my blog and I will continue to make myself available to answer any questions via the blog or facebook for past, present and future C-PALs that I am planning.  Continue to crochet at your own pace and at your leisure. 

I really can't think of any other questions. I tried to think of anything someone might ask. If I missed anything, don't hesitate to leave a comment post. 

I hope you are as excited about participating in my 1st C-PAL as I am hosting it.

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions. Feel free to email me at http://www.blogger.com/.

Now on to pattern details for those who want to participate -

Plarn and other materials needed:
Important thing to remember about using plastic yarn:

Not all plastic is made the same.  When using plarn, achieving the desired size or gauge is dependent on the texture, thickness and strip width of the plastic yarn. 
  • Plastic Yarn - 20 standard size plastic bags for each color.  This really is more than enough.  Everyone crochets differently (i.e. tight, loose) so this is to ensure you don't run short.
  • Crochet Hook:  size H
  • Craft Needle

Other Details:
FINISHED SIZE: Width-7 1/2"; Height-5" Gauge Info:  Typically, I don't worry much about the gauge.  However, I do recommend it for this project if you want to ensure the Organizer is a specific width/height that you want it to be. 

GAUGE: 5 hdc = 1”; 3 rows = 1 ¼”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Your Hearts Desire, Lake City, Florida

I am excited that 'Your Hearts Desire' in Lake City, Florida is now part of the going green movement.  

I never would have imagined when my online shop opened in April of 2009,  that less than 2 years later Plastique Recreations would be available in a retail store.

I'm proud to announce that Plastique Recreation's complete line of purses, bags, accessories, plastic cup spiral notebooks, pop tab plarn bracelets and so much more is now available at 'Your Hearts Desire' in Lake City, Florida.    What an unbelievable opportunity this is for me to expand my retail footprint.     

'Your Hearts Desire' is a quaint little shop located at 327 Marion Avenue.  When you walk in the door, you'll be greeted by the one or both of the store owners, Jeffrey and Phillip.  

Here's a picture of some of my items on display for purchase.  

Here is my Christmas Spirit Plarn Bag on display. If you're not in the Christmas spirit yet, you will be when you walk through their doors.  The beautiful Christmas tree displays, lights, decorations and scents will do the trick.  

You can also find them on Facebook at 'Hearts Desire'. 
If you're in the north Florida area, please stop in and check out my plastic designs for yourself.
Follow Plastique Recreations:
shop online at:  http://www.crochooley.etsy.com/
email me with any questions or customized order at plastiquerecreations@yahoo.com