Daily Connector | Plarn anyone? | Katie Mast

The kitchen floor was nearly covered.  I had just put all the groceries away and there they were, plastic bags puffed in a pile like cumulus clouds.  I scooped them up and tried to stuff them in the cupboard where the rest of the bags were stuffed.  The door didn’t want to close.

I keep reusable bags folded in the car and rolled up like sleeping bags in my purse.  It has always seemed like a fairly easy way to reduce the use of plastic.  But, they can’t be brought into stores and used right now because of the pandemic.  It only takes a few of the plastic grocery bags to line the trash can in the bathroom, so my stash is piling up.

I’ve tried to find ways to reduce the use of them.  I’ve asked store clerks to use as few bags as possible.  I’ve employed several strategies to avoid them altogether, with mixed results.  I once asked a Gen Z clerk to simply put all my groceries right back in the cart without bagging any of them.  He looked at me like I had asked him to name all the Canadian provinces.

Bags from one local grocer read, “Recycle Today for a Better Tomorrow.”  Stores claim to accept them back and recycle them.  Hmm.

A few years back at our former church, a teenager invited others to join her in a school project.  She was making mats for homeless people from plastic grocery bags.  I’m terrible at sewing.  There’s something on a sewing machine about tension, and well, that pretty much sums it up for me.  But, I do know how to crochet and that’s how these mats were made. 

I was provided with giant balls of “plarn” and I bought the fattest crochet hook I’d ever seen.  It looked like the very hungry caterpillar right before he had a stomach ache.  I completed one giant mat which was donated along with the others.  Hopefully it is still in use and appreciated somewhere.

So, I had a new idea, but I would have to make my own plarn this time.  I watched a video of a nice lady giving a helpful demonstration:  cut off the bottom and handles, fold, fold, then cut.  Loop one piece into another and pull into a knot to make a string.  Pretty simple, even for me. 

Then, for a bonus demo she put a stack of bags on a board.  They were so neat and flat.  I think she ironed them.  She had a cutter that looked like a little pizza wheel and she zipped through them in about one second.  Show off.  I will be a tortoise and use scissors.

I’m not exactly sure where all this “reuse” energy will take me.  Does anyone out there have an amazing plarn creation?  Please do share.  And maybe this winter I will spin some plarn into a rug or mat – or maybe, into a reusable bag.