Archive for August, 2021

Crocheting with milkbags — a history?

Just where and when did someone — or a group of someones — look at the plastic milkbag (outer wrapper) and say `My, that would be a wonderful thing to cut up and crochet into a sleeping mat!’ … I mean, really?! When did that happen?

So this is a call for memories and reminiscences, information and details — news clippings would be like gold! — about when and where the connection was made between milkbags and crocheting.

Via Google, I’ve found that plastic bags are we know them were invented in 1965 in Europe — Sweden, to be exact.

Plastic bags for milk were introduced in 1967 and we seem to have seen them arrive in Canada (select provinces only, including Ontario) in the 1970s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk_bag#History).

The first reference to `plarn’ (plastic yarn) that I can find is 2004 (https://vickiehowell.com/plarn/), presented on a British TV show on crafts and crafting.

Shifting continents, to focus on Ontario (one of only a few provinces in Canada where milk has been sold in plastic bags — three small ones inside a colourful printed outer wrapper) and advancing in time to … well, that’s just it. Making something from the outer plastic milkbag is hard to date. I’ve been doing this since 2011 … others know that it goes back long before that — but just how far back? If the plastic milkbag was introduced in the 1970s, how long did it take before someone started cutting up the plastic and crocheting the strips?!

If you have info on when you first heard of it — or did it — please post a comment! It’d be really great to get some `original history’ written down. After all, there’s no NGO for working with milkbags 🙂 There’s not even a common name for the whole activity. In our group, here in the Ottawa area, we’ve just been referring to it as ‘The Milkbag Project’. We’re all just volunteers, on our own or in small groups, isolated or in touch with others — we have absolutely no structure — this is as grassroots as you can get 🙂

So sit down with a cup of tea or coffee, by yourself or with a few fellow milkbaggers, and see what you can recall.

In fact, why not write up a little history of your own group, how it started, with who and when, and we can fold that into the larger picture.

Post your comments below, and let’s see if we can built up `our history’. I think it’d be a great way to bring us all together, and realise that we’ve been involved in an activity that reaches back quite a ways — and always as volunteers looking to make things better for people in need.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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