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.


Finish It Up Friday: Zigzag Pot Holders

two zigzag pot holders

Did you know that pot holder is two words? I always see it written as “potholder,” and it looks right, but it’s incorrect according to the dictionary. Weird, huh? I thought that was a fitting bit of Friday trivia to introduce my latest finished pot holders.

Back in December, I held an impromptu class for the beginning sewists at work to make quick pot holder gifts. We were inspired by the pot holder project we saw in the book Stitch ‘n Swap (out next month, and a book I worked on!). It’s been about 5 months now, but I’m just now finishing mine.

The Christmas one was a class sample and I made it in a hurry. It sat without its binding for awhile. Nothing like a little Christmas in May!

Christmas zigzag pot holder

I like its wonkiness. 🙂

This floral pot holder was my favorite. I like to think of it as the girliest pot holder ever. So pretty … and such a good use of scraps from my Fresh quilt.

floral zigzag pot holder

Hanging by its loop on the wall

Between these and the auction quilt, I seem to have a thing for zigzags! Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts. Have a great weekend everyone. Speaking off …

The ARF Animals on Broadway walk fundraiser is this Sunday! Penny and I will be walking for the first time, and she’s all ready with her ARF bandanna. If anyone is interested in donating to help dogs and cats in high kill shelters find new homes, you can find my page here. Thanks!  🙂


Walkin’ at Animals on Broadway animal rescue fundraiser

I just registered for their annual Animals on Broadway fundraiser. Penny and I will be walking at Heather Farm Park in Concord, CA on May 18. For those of you who don’t know about Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), they do great work saving dogs and cats from local high-kill shelters, and also feature a lot of human programs, such as donating pet food to low-income families with pets, pet therapy dogs, Camp ARF for kids to teach them how to interact with animals, low cost vet care, and a sweet program in conjunction with the local library where kids develop reading skills by reading aloud to trained dogs. If you’d like to donate, you can find my page here.

I hope to meet lots of awesome dog owners there, but I’m also hoping to bring in some donations. I put $50 as my goal, but I’m secretly hoping to bring in $100 and get a donor T-shirt. What can I say, I’m competitive. I appreciate any amount, no matter how small, as well as kind thoughts and comments too (those are freely given and gladly received!).

UPDATE: On 5/9/14, Purple Heart (renamed Violet) was adopted! Hooray! Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about this sweet little dog.

A week and a half ago, I met the sweetest cocker spaniel at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). Her name is Purple Heart (horrible name, I know, but they use theme naming for each intake group  and she apparently drew the short straw).

Don't let the cone fool you ... she's good at finding a way into your lap!

Don’t let the cone fool you … she’s good at finding a way into your lap!

Poor Purple Heart came in with a lot of medical issues (cherry eye, spay complications,  torn ear, chronic ear infection — basically, “cocker stuff”). Thankfully she’s at ARF, which is blessed to have its own onsite vet. The volunteer I spoke to even said that their vet would cover a second cherry eye surgery if it “popped out again.” Again, standard cocker stuff. It’s not that gross really.

She needs a good home. She’s been there almost a month and a half now, and each week she’s getting passed up. People are probably nervous about her  health issues (which, granted, is a valid concern for anyone adopting a pet). It’s just sad because she’s such a doll–wiggly and cuddly, happy to see the other dogs on leash in the training yard … if I could take another dog, I’d snatch her up in a heartbeat.