Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cast offs - no pun intended

Someone posted on the machine knit list, asking why people, finding out she is a knitter, give her their unwanted sweaters. Do they want her to wear them? Unravel them? Use them for inspiration?

I asked why she isn't using them to make felted bags. I found this sweater at Goodwill and took it home to make it my own. Two complete cycles in the washer/dryer (Hot wash, cold rinse) plus an extra drying cycle shrunk and felted the vest down to at least half its original size. I liked the ruffly effect of the original ribbing, so decided to leave it at the opening. I used a leftover upholstery fabric for the lining. It is completely suitable because of the satiny finish and the tight weave. The zippered pocket on the inside was added as an afterthought so probably could have been engineered much better. The handles are attached by machine stitching to the lining, and then the lining simply hem-stitched inside the bag. This is my first felted bag, it was a fun, quick project. I used a sweater donated to Goodwill, but it would be simple to create fairaisle yardage on the knitting machine for felting, then you would have complete control over the colors.

Except for the handles, which were purchased on clearance for 50 cents, this bag was made completely of recycled materials. The zipper for the pocket was reused from an old pair of jeans. The zipper was a little sticky, from sitting around for several years. I used a little Lori-Lynn machine lube spray on it and now it glides back and forth effortlessly.

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