Upcycle your old T-shirts into bags at Stitchery event

Stitchery, a new needle arts studio, will hold an upcycle event as Portsmouth becomes the next Aquidneck Island community to consider banning plastic bags.
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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Stitchery, a new needle arts studio in Portsmouth, will hold a special upcycle event as Portsmouth becomes the next Aquidneck Island community to consider banning plastic bags. 

After Newport and Middletown’s decisions, the move to ban plastic bags on Aquidneck Island will move to Portsmouth next, according to Clean Ocean Access. 

“Once we have this in place, our efforts will shift to Portsmouth, and then circle back to Newport to other awesome initiatives where our seeds are now coming to life,” wrote Clean Ocean Access in a Facebook post on April 29. 

Stitchery wants to help Portsmouth residents recognize alternatives to plastic bags.

The needle arts studio will hold a special event on June 3 from 1 to 3 p.m., offering the public the chance to sew their own reusable bags from T-shirts, “in anticipation of the plastic bag ban coming to the island this fall,” according to a release from Stitchery. 

For a $5 donation, participants can bring a T-shirt, and Karen Katin (sewing instructor) will show how to easily turn it into a shopping bag.

No previous sewing experience necessary. All proceeds will be donated to the Aquidneck Land Trust.

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

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

“Both T-shirt yarn and plarn—plastic yarn—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,” said Vaspol. 

“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, on-trend infinity scarves, or anything else you can think of.

“Plarn is more durable but also lends itself for knitting, crochet and weaving. It makes fabulous durable mats, baskets, and bags.”

Katin and Vaspol said they are excited to provide this service as a way to combat the problem of plastic pollution while supporting the island on which they both work and live.

Stitchery offers sewing classes, taught by Katin of Dancing Threads RI, and knitting classes, taught by Vaspol of Britstitchery. Classes are available for both children and adults.

A fleet of 8 sewing machines are available, and, in most cases, materials are provided and included in class fees. Knitting classes are fully supported with purchasing guides supporting local businesses and a full resource knitting library. 

For more information, visit www.stitcheryri.com

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