*Photo Source: Emma Nagle
If you’re a knitter or crocheter, then chances are, there’s a big, kind heart in that chest of yours. You’re selfless to the point of actually searching out ways to be of use to others, even strangers.
Yes, I know who you are and although you most likely would never admit it because you aren’t vain, but you know you have a heart as good as gold. In fact, your friends and family members tell you this frequently.
You’re the kind of person who experiences something like a high when you brainstorm new ways you can help people in need.
It’s eerie how well that description fit you, right? But, lets face it, you’re a crocheter/knitter and crocheters/knitters are all heart… And fingers (you gotta have em’ to crochet/knit, amIright?)
Since it’s the time of year that people tend to be in need the most, I thought I would work on putting up a post that might be useful to my fellow yarn-craters — an entire guide to teach you everything you need to create plastic bag mats for homeless people. This seems to be the most popular “gift” for homeless this year. I almost considered knitting blankets this year and donating them to be put together for the homeless, but when I read how well-received these plastic bag mats had been, I decided it must be a great idea after all. So, for those of you who are interested in learning how to crochet these, please read on. And do feel free to skip the next section if you’d like to get right to learning.
I still can’t believe it’s already really is that time of year again. You know, the time of year that causes your brain to flood with ideas and you spend 90% of your days brainstorming what project you’ll crochet/knit for the kids, and your parents, and your nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.
You’ve got a project idea that perfectly fits each family member and loved one, and by-golly you’re determined that this year, you’re gonna complete each one. Sleep be damned! You’ll even stay up hours past your bedtime to make sure every project is done and every loved one warm and cozy in their new scarf, coat, or socks.
That’s that big ol’ heart of yours I was talking about.
Now that I know you inside and out, it’s a good time to get straight to the heart (no pun intended) of the issue here.
The homeless and needy don’t always have a warm bed to sleep in every night and if you’re anything like most of us yarn-crafting fanatics, this bothers you every year — knowing that people are spending their Holiday season just trying to stay warm each day.
I know. I’m the same way. That big ol’ heart sometimes just seems too big. Sometimes it downright hurts to have a heart. You just want to do something. Anything to help make sure other people get to spend their Holiday season warm and cozy at the very least. Each year, I look for a way I can help contribute to improving the harsh winter months for someone else and I believe the plastic bag mats will fit the bill perfectly.
One more important thing I’d like to address before I kindly step aside and let you start learning how to make plastic bag mats…
Like myself, a lot of you precious folks use yarn-crafting as a form of therapy, a way to whittle through the ugly winter months — to you and I, each stitch is just part of our battle with depression. We literally knit or crochet our way through the pain or melancholy that sometimes happens to us when the cold months strike. I’m right there with you my friend. But I’m determined to not let this year suck me in. I hope you will be, too.
This is How I’ll Battle Depression This Winter
I’ve decided that this year, I’m going to try my hand at these simple plastic bag mats. Since it costs virtually nothing to obtain a pantry full of those otherwise pesky bags, pretty much anyone with a crochet hook can contribute.
The purpose of making these mats is to provide homeless people with a clean, dry place to sleep at night. Since it’s made of plastic, there’s no worry of it absorbing water and being useless to sleep on or harboring bacteria and crud like some products made from materials like yarn. It’s also supposed to be lightweight, making them easy to carry around. Most importantly though, they provide some level of warmth to a person who otherwise might be exposed to the harsh weather.
So, if you’re like me and you struggle with depression and feel a painstaking desire to help people in need, join me in the Crochet for A Cause project and start making those “plarn” balls right away. I’ve compiled a list of different videos and tutorials to help you along the way. If you have any trouble, let me know and I will do my best to help out.
P.S. Please take the time to say thanks to the good folks who took the time to create these awesome tutorials.
*P.S. When you’re having trouble pulling out of an episode of depression and can’t seem to motivate yourself enough to start the project, just shoot me a message and we will can work at it together. I’m also happy to chat with others who may be struggling with finding yourself through these winter months, so please do not hesitate to get in touch. Sometimes I feel as if I’m withdrawing from the outside world and don’t really have people who I can just chat with during these times as well, so it’s always a pleasure to connect with you lovely folks.
How to Cut the Bags for Making “Plarn”
Cutting Plastic Bags
How to cut plastic bags for crocheting
The Following Video Shows Another Method of Cutting the Plarn + How to Make the Mats
Plastic bag mats for homeless tutorial
Here’s Another Video That Shows You how to Crochet Waterproof Bedrolls (The Same As “Mats”)
Recycled shopping bags crocheted into waterproof bedrolls
Finished Mats + Crocheting In Action! The Below Video Shows A Variety of Finished Mats + a Woman Crocheting One from “Milk Bags”
Creating sleeping mats out of milk bags
Sudburians are creating sleeping mats out of milk bags for those less fortunate in third world countries.
For The Knitters Out There, This Video Shows The Process of Knitting With Plastic Bags! You can follow the same basic directions for crocheting the sleeping mats by just swapping your hook for needles.
Plastic Bag Knitting
Knitting a plastic bag holder from ordinary plastic shopping bags.
I also look forward to seeing your lovely projects! Please share photos of your completed projects.