Finish It Up Friday: Upcycled Sweater Felt Tote

Upcycled sweater tote

It’s finally Friday! This week’s finished project is a DIY refashioning of an ugly old sweater into a cute felted tote bag. The best part? Because I only used material from the sweater (and a few scrap bits of yarn floating around), the whole think only cost about $2.50 and a half hour of time. Sweet!

Last year I got really into felting. I bought needle-felting tools (my favorite being this needle-felting pen by Clover) and some roving and went to town. For those who aren’t familiar, needle felting involves taking wool and stabbing it over and over with a barbed needle. It’s almost therapeutic … . Someone cut you out and almost clipped your car during the commute? *punch, punch, punch* A coworker came to work sick and now you’ve got a cold? *punch, punch, punch* Friends not appreciating your unique brand of genius? *punch, punch, punch*

Anyway, I had picked up a couple of 100% wool sweaters on sale at the ARF thrift store and then proceeded to felt them by throwing them in the washer and dryer a couple of times. Suddenly that extra large cardigan-style sweater was toddler size. I cut it up and made a basic tote with gussets. The handles are from the strip where the buttons were. The flower is needle-punched on using yarn scraps of questionable content (I thought it was wool, but it wasn’t sticking to the felt very well so it probably had a good amount of synthetic fiber too). Oh, and the button is from the sweater, too.

Really not a whole lot more to say about it, except that it’s a lot smaller than I envisioned. Makes a great lunch bag, though.

lunch tucked inside an upcycled sweater tote

Nothing says summer like a juicy nectarine. 🙂

It turned out more or less exactly how I wanted (just, you know, smaller). I’ll make a few more, for sure. Might ditch the lining as it’s kind of superfluous.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts. Also, would anyone be interested in a tutorial on this? It’s a simple project, but fun. And it’s helpful to know how to cut the sweater to preserve that “cuff” of ribbing along the top.

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Fresh Sewing Day

Lily's Quilts

Oh wow, it’s June. When did that happen? It can’t be June yet because that means that craft fair season is coming–and I’m not ready!

I missed May’s Fresh Sewing Day, but that wasn’t going to happen this month. No, this time I was going for gusto!  Here’s what I did in May:

  • I bought a bunch of fabric from my local quilt store and I finally got a Clover Mini Iron II for small seams. (I plan to write a review for the iron later.) Keep in mind, I’m supposed to be on a fabric diet. But I needed it. Really. *Ahem* Moving on …
stack of quilting cotton fabric

New fabrics for my stash

  • I pieced the top of a mystery gift quilt, and practiced matching points (which I admit I still need to work on).
  • I found a foundation-pieced purple quilt from 2013 that I had forgotten about in my work-in-progress pile. Joined a few rows. Four blocks to go!
  • I pieced the top of my auction quilt for my church. Wahoo! So glad to get this one off my plate, and with time to spare. Now to think up creative ways to raise more money with it.
dog on rail fence quilt

Penny approved of the auction quilt

  • I started piecing the back of my auction quilt using scraps leftover from the front. The jelly roll race section ended up being more work than I thought, but waste not, want not. (More on this in a future post, too.)
  • I became addicted to hexagons.
  • I forced myself to step away from the hexagons.
  • I remembered that I’m a knitter. Seriously. Sometimes I think I’m a quilter from January to May and a knitter from June to December. I wonder why that is? Worked on my sweater a bit, then started making a bunch of washcloths for the craft fair junket. I want the blue one for myself. Is it bad business to hope your favorites don’t sell so you can keep them?

knitting washcloth with basket weave pattern

  • Total number of photos ruined by Penny jumping in the shot (just this month): 6
dog jumping into photo shoot

Well it was a nice shot …

That should be about it. Busy month! This was my first full month of blogging, and I just want to say thank-you to all those who have left comments, liked my posts, and followed me. From the knitters to the crocheters, from the dog lovers to the quilt lovers, you guys are all the best, and I’m humbled that you keep reading my work. (And I love that I get to check out and be inspired by your work, too!)

Finish It Up Friday: More Hexagon Flowers!

 

hexagon flowers in various colors

Hexies, hexies, everywhere!

Hooray, not only is it finally Friday, but it’s the Friday before a three-day weekend! (Happy early Memorial Day to my American readers.) I’ll probably be spending the whole weekend, including the extra day, on a couple of freelance projects that snuck up on me … but it’s still something to celebrate. And I even managed to finish something, despite my schedule crunch. Yet more things to celebrate! 🙂

I mentioned two Fridays ago that I have become addicted to hexagons. This week, I finished six, count ’em, six hexagon flowers. Aren’t they pretty? I don’t know what I’m doing with them yet, but when I do decide, they’ll be ready to use. I think a few will turn into pincushions, coasters, or teal towel appliquès to sell at my craft fair booth. Little gifts like that tend to sell.

Basted hexagons and Sulky thread

I’m never quite happy with the amount of thread you can see after you whipstitch the hexagons together, so I decided to use some of my Sulky Holoshimmer thread. It has just the right amount of sparkle to it that if a stitch or two shows it looks like it was an “on purpose” embellishment. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. It’s pretty thin though, so I haven’t had too much trouble with stitches showing. As for the inside, I tried plastic template pieces, wash away stitch stabilizers, and a few other things that escape me, but I’ve decided cardstock templates are my favorite.

As the stack of basted hexagons got taller, they reminded me of a stack of poker chips. So, here’s a bit of Friday silliness for you:

poker game using hexagons as chips

Best. Poker game. Ever.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

WIP Wednesday: Dog Collars!

two sewn dog collars

At ARF’s Animals on Broadway fundraising walk and pet fair last Sunday, I saw lots of awesome dog items for sale. It gave me a hankering to make some collars. Thus, today’s works-in-progress (work-in-progresses?) are dog collars–3 of them to be exact. The first is fabric, the second is nylon web, and the third is knit. With bells. Collars need bells.

The fabric collar is the Olive’s Collar pattern from the book Liberty Love. I actually blogged about making it before on the Stash Books blog, but I feel like making another. The best part is that the pattern is available for free! You can download it using the link at the bottom of the Stash post. I know many local dog rescues appreciate when volunteers make collars for them; perhaps you might consider making one. I’m thinking of making two (one for Penny, one for the rescues) using a polka dot or geometric print. Maybe something in lime green? I’m feeling the lime green today.

This nylon web collar has been a UFO since 2008. It was supposed to be a gift for my mom’s {then)new dog, using a free pattern recommended by Camp Cocker dog rescue, but my old sewing machine didn’t like the nylon (it didn’t like much of any fabric really). I was so disgusted with the nasty-looking seams that I shoved the whole thing in my sewing basket and forgot about it.  Now that I have a nice, reliable Janome sewing machine, it’s time to revisit that mess of a collar. First step is ripping out all those old seams! You can even see them sticking out in my main image above–ick!

pom-pom yarn knit dog collar

Finally, knit dog collars are one of my staples for the craft fair junket come December. I keep them simple–just a little knit bit of color to slip on over the dog’s existing collar. I sew on a button for the closure. Easy peasy. This particular one is made of a pom-pom yarn that I think is discontinued now. I like how it looks like little snowballs (maybe I can cash in on the crazy popularity of the Frozen movie?). I have tons of these to make before November, so now’s a good time to get started. Too bad most of the dogs hate the bells (or maybe not too bad … bugging pets is fun!).

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts.

 

dog sniffing collar

Penny approves of these new collars.