Stitchery Preparing Aquidneck Island for Bag Ban

By ecoRI News staff

On June 3, for a $5 donation, learn how to turn a worn T-shirt into a reusable bag.

On June 3, for a $5 donation, learn how to turn a worn T-shirt into a reusable bag.

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Stitchery, a new needle arts studio at 14 Potomac Road, is holding an event June 3 from 1-3 p.m. for the public to sew their own reusable bags from T-shirts, in anticipation of the plastic shopping bag ban coming to the Aquidneck Island this fall.

Earlier this month, Middletown became the third Rhode Island municipality to kick the plastic-bag habit. Newport and Barrington are the others. Middletown’s ban takes effect Nov. 1 to coincide with Newport’s bag ban. Aquidneck Island’s other community, Portsmouth, hasn’t yet voted on a bag ban.

For a $5 donation, bring a T-shirt, and Stitchery sewing instructor, Karen Katin, will show participants how to easily turn it into a shopping bag. No previous sewing experience necessary. All proceeds will be donated to the Aquidneck Land Trust.

Knitting instructor Traci Vaspol also will demonstrate how to upcycle plastic bags into “plarn,” or plastic yarn, and how to turn unwanted T-shirts into yarn. The upcycled yarn and/or plarn can then be woven, knitted or crocheted into something new.

“Sewing a reusable bag from a T-shirt is very simple, and quick,” Katin said. “We would love to show you how to recycle your unwanted shirts into something you will find yourself using nearly every day.”

Both women said they are excited to provide this service as a way to “combat the problem of plastic pollution” while supporting the community in which they both work and live.

“Both T-shirt yarn and plarn are an amazing use for unwanted products that get sent to the dump every day. The process is fast and simple and leaves you with two very different products,” Vaspol said. “T-shirt yarn is washable and stretchy, making it perfect for knitting, crocheting or braiding. You can use it for soft accent rugs, hair accessories. Plarn is more durable but also lends itself for knitting, crochet and weaving. It makes fabulous durable mats, baskets and bags.”

Sewing classes, taught by Katin of Dancing Threads RI, and knitting classes, taught by Vaspol of Britstitchery, are available for both children and adults. Eight sewing machines are available, and, in most cases, materials are provided and included in class fees.