I think like my brain is a bowl of spaghetti, and my design process follows suit. One tangent loops to another, and the cycle continues until it looks like linguini. Hopefully this report take a more linear path, but no guarantees.
On a totally related tangent, I really like the movie Zoolander (but not Zoolander 2). My project inspiration comes from the scene where Will Farrell’s fashion design Mugatu shows Ben Stiller’s character Derek his new avant-garde clothing line based on garbage. I wanted to make clothes from garbage too. Maybe Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum would discover me and invite me to be on Project Runway. I’m a dreamer.
For my upcycle challenge, I wanted everything to be of reclaimed materials. In the true upcycle fashion, I did not spend any money on my project. I had a clear idea what material I wanted to utilize: plastic grocery bags. I decided to cut and tie the bags together and crochet something useful and dynamic. After a few minutes on Pinterest, I found an impressive blog post from March 31, 2006 from the craftster.org member “mleak”. She crocheted simple sandals from plarn (plastic yarn). My mind was blow. I was going to crochet my own sandals.
Figure 1: Mleak’s sandals, http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=87737.0
However, I’m a guess and check kind of lady, and I learn from my mistakes. I made a prototype plastic bag sandal that turned out super small and trashy. There was no way I could turn in these shoes for a grade. I’m not even going to show a picture of them on this blog post, that’s how messed up and deformed these little shoes turned out. But I’m way better than crappy plastic bag sandals, so I reiterated my design.
I figured out the flaw in my design: 1-ply plastic bag yarn. My plarn was too thin and weak to crochet. I needed something better than flimsy 1-ply garbage. What’s better than 1-ply? 2-ply. Boom. Problem solved. The following images show my new and improved way to make double-bagged plastic yarn.
Step 1: Lay your grocery bag on your coffee table
Step 2: Cut off the top and bottom of the bag
Step 3: Roll up the plastic bag
Step 4: Cut the rolled up bag into 1.5″ sections
Step 5: Unravel the strips and lay one on top of the other
Step 6: Fold bottom strip over the top, then under itself on the right end. Pull taught to link the two.
Step 7: Repeat steps 1-6 a billion times and then roll it all up into a nice ball like the one shown below.
I quickly realized that the problem was beyond just the durability of my material. The problem was me. As a beginner crocheter, I lacked the deftness and experience needed to execute the shoes. I threw away the failed lump of plastic bag shoes and decided to take a simpler approach. Crocheting plarn was still an interest of mine, I just needed an easier design: a hat.
I started out making a normal adult sized hat, but noticed that my plarn was running low. Buying new plastic bags seemed even more of a waste than the 50 bags I had already thrown away from previous design. Constricted by my ability and material supply, I made the final decision to crochet a baby’s hat complete with an obnoxious poof.
I’m pleased with my final creation, and more so proud of my ability to start and finish an entire crochet project. I found the act meditative and relaxing and something I’ll continue to do (maybe with real yarn though).