Saturday, June 13, 2009

Its Easy Being Green: Plastic Bag Crafts & Frances Killam. Show Notes.

The first episode of "Its Easy Being Green" was taped on Friday, June 12, 2009. The topic was crafting with plastic bags. My guest was Frances Killam.

Making plastic bag wreaths.
Skill level: easy (no special skills required).
Materials: 1. a wreath fra
me (I used a wire wreath frame that I purchased from a craft store).
2. Scissors
3. A twist tie, like from a bread bag
4. About 150 grocery store sized bags. The bags need to be about the same size in length, not width.
5. Embellishments and ways to attach them (glue, twist ties, etc).
Directions: 1. Cut the handles and the bottom seam of the plastic bag off. I save these and use them instead of packing peanuts when mailing items.
2. Take the bag and tie it around the wreath frame in a knot.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, scrunch up the tied bags together on the fram
e so there is no open spaces left.
4. When the frame is completed co
vered in tied plastic bags, flip over to the back. Attach the twist tie through / around one of the ties bags, and secure. Make a loop out of the twist tie. This is so that you can hang your wreath up.
5. Flip the wreath back over. Now fluff up the bags. This will hide the knots and make a full looking wreath.
6. Attach your embellishments. You can attach a bow with a hot glue gun or a twist tie. For the Christmas one, I attached red Coke bottle caps with a hot glue gun. They resembled berries to me. You can make embellishments out of cardboard and scrap wood as well. Use your imagination. This looks great on a door, and it is pretty weather resistant.

Making plastic Bag Yarn or Plyarn.
Skill level: easy
Materials: plastic bags & scissors
Directions: A video from The Carol Duvall Show.
Notes: You do not need to know how to be a knitter or a
crocheter in order to make plyarn. It would be a great gift to make a ball of plyarn for someone that you know who does knit, crochet, weave, etc.
Patterns: Anything that you can make out of yarn, you can make using plyarn.
For a sim
ple yet very sturdy tote bag, knit or crochet a large rectangle. When folded in half, that will be the size of your bag. Gage: Just figure out how wide you want your bag to be and add 2 to 4 stitches to that (for seam allowance). The bigger the needle or hook, the bigger the holes and the faster the project goes. My prefered knitting needle size for this project is a US15, and I like to use a size J crochet hook. It takes about 15 hours to make (including making the plyarn).
When you have the size rectangle that you want, then attach the handles. You can make your own handles or use ribbon. If knitting the handles, prestretch them before attaching them to the bag. You can also place holes in the bag in the beginning and end to use as handles instead. I attach the ribbon handles by sewing the end to the middle of the rectangle on one side (like the right). Then I sew it in place to on end. Measure out how big you want your handles to be. Then stitch the ribbon down on the other size. Measure out the handle again. Then finish sewing down the other side. You can do this by hand or by sewing machine. Then fold the bag right sides together. Crochet or whip stitch the two sides closed. Turn the bag right side out. Now you have a tote bag that cost you little to no money that can hold a lot of stuff.

My favorite online pattern website is You can find all kinds of free knitting and crochet patterns there. You might also want to join Its an online knitting and crocheting community where you can find patterns and join groups that like to make things out of plyarn (among other things).

My guest: Frances Killam.

You can visit Frances Killam's website at She is a fiber and metal artist. She came on the show to talk about the brain coral that she had made using mylar, a heavy plastic material. She was inspired by Margaret Wertheim and
Christine Wertheim. The link attached to Margaret Wertheim's name will take you to a video where she talks about recreating coral reefs out of fiber. The link attached to Christine Wertheim's name will take you to website that talks about the toxic reef. This is where plyarn and other recycled materials were used to make a reef. This is what inspired France's brain coral that she brought on the show. Frances also showed us how to spin plyarn using a Navajo spindle. She also added some tinsel to the plyarn while spinning.

Future plastic bag craft topics:
-Fusing plastic bags to make smaller yet sturdier bags.
-Crocheting soda pull tabs with plyarn.

Up Coming Shows:
-Guest Bonnie Rankin will join me and we will be making quilts, window valences, and other things out of handkerchiefs and fabric wall calendars that we have inherited from loved ones.
-Quilting, how it had been a source for reusing / re purposing fabric for years. We will be focusing on the pattern Grandma's Flower Garden. We will be making templates from recycled materials, using left over fabric, and old t-shirts.

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