09 January 2008

Craftiness

Christmas is truly over: the tree got picked up from the curb this morning. And since all of my handcrafted gifts have been distributed, and the "pay it forward" prizes have been mailed, it's time for the reveal.

A while back, I came across Alterknits, a book of offbeat knitting projects, which included instructions for a tote bag made out of an old sweater. I loved the idea. Some years ago, I had the idea to make throw pillows out of old sweaters. And one of my favorite baby presents was a blanket made of felted squares of old sweaters. So I started haunting eBay and Goodwill for appealing cheap wool sweaters, and got to work.

I ended up making six tote bags - all different. One had a lining and an outside pocket, two had webbing handles, some had button/loop closures.

And it turned out that the cut-off sleeves and collars were useful too: I turned them into little bags, for an iPod or cellphone or whatever. Of the two purple ones here, the smaller one was made from the turtleneck of a sweater and the larger one was the forearm part of a sleeve (turned inside out).

The whole project was a lot of fun - even if I did have to run the washing machine over and over again with HOT water. And the cellar ended up full of lint. But I was enormously pleased with myself, and feedback from the recipients has been good: my sister-in-law is worried that she's going to wear hers out from overuse.

If you're at all interested or inspired, the directions for these totebags are here.

24 comments:

slouching mom said...

damn, but you're talented!

Gina said...

OMG - I haven't even started with my crafting yet, but I can already say that you have far surpassed my skills! Those are awesome!

Eva said...

They look great!

jen said...

look at you go.

Julie Pippert said...

That is extremely cool crafting!

Suz said...

I'm impressed...especially with the little iPod sleeves. Pretty and so useful!

painted maypole said...

they are so cute! i have tons of sweaters I rarely wear here in the south but can't bear to part with. this might be a good way to use them!

flutter said...

look at you, crafty!

Scribbit said...

I just ordered a book from Amazon on knit purses and I'm just dying to get my hands on it. Love the little guys you made!

Awesome Mom said...

I have been wanting to make a felted bag but I have been too lazy to knit something that I was planning on shrinking. It seemed kind of wrong somehow. Thanks for the link! Your bags look awesome.

Life As I Know It said...

Those look great! My mom made me a felted bag a few years ago and I love it.
Someday I might start to knit again.

anastasia beaverhausen said...

I remember back in the day when people made shoulder bags out of their jeans. Genius! This is waaay cuter, though.

peppermint t said...

I am incredibly envious of your craftiness.

Julia said...

these look awesome.
Maybe one day, after I have cleared out all the other things cluttering my office and my to-do list, I can take this up too...

Janet said...

I bow before you, goddess of craftiness.

I am working on a knitted Holly Hobbie purse that my daughter received for her birthday (her six-year-old fingers can't knit yet, apparently). I do believe that this project might do me in.

Kimberly said...

I struggle with my craftiness. This I could not do. I am in awe...

niobe said...

Way crafty. And clever too.

MsPrufrock said...

Directions? As in, to do these things myself? Pfft. I only wish. My lazy ass would just go to Etsy because people like you do a far better job at such things.

Aliki2006 said...

Those are fabulous! I really like the small wallet/iPod one--these are wonderful!

Furrow said...

My goodness, you are clever!

I go through bouts of saving old clothes (or jewelry, or buttons) with the idea of doing something crafty with them, but inevitably, I end up disposing of them in a variety of ways. If I ever do get around to a repurposing craft, I'll have to hit thrift stores because I'll probably be on a just-purged cycle. An my products probably wouldn't be as nice as yours.

katiez said...

Oh you are a crafty lady! I bet you could have figured out something to do with the lacy shawl that I machine washed (on the hand wash cycle!) and turned into a small piece of felt...

Mad Hatter said...

Oh, they are fun. I love felted wool. Love it.

Victoria said...

Soo cute! And sooo not something I could do! LOL! =)

MadMad said...

Oh! Alterknits is one of my favorite knitting books! Your bags came out great!