Some great tutorials from ‘very purple person’!

I love some of the great tutorials ‘very purple person’ has posted on the internet especially the ultra simple cowl and hand warmers created from an upcycled scarf!  When I am drooling and admiring other crafters and artists work I always have my brain in gear thinking of ways to adapt the various shapes into my feltmaking and since I am SO TOTALLY out of time for the rest of this week drooling is about all I can do at the moment!!!


Upcycling billboards and the like!

Several years ago while Alan and I were travelling in the American South West we spent a happy afternoon in the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  One of the items we bought in the shop there was a fun wallet for a friend which had been made from recycled old billboard vinyl.  This morning while trying to sort through a backlog of emails and other internet stuff I discovered this great website selling upcycled items called Shop Only Green and lo and behold items upcycled from billboards form part of their product range!

Billboard messenger bag

I particularly like this messenger bag which seems a steal at $24.99 but unfortunately unless you live in the States it doesn’t seem possible to make a purchase online.  What’s a girl to do but make a trip to the States?  Watch out America, I plan to arrive sometime at the beginning of October, more to follow shortly!!

Touching base and upcycling in mind

Just a short post touching base and letting you know that I should be back to full blogging potential sometime before the end of the week hopefully!  Check out Clasheen today if you don’t already know why I have been off the radar for the last couple of days and also to get some inspiration for fibre frolics via some of the great blogs that I regularly follow.  I ordered a few books from Amazon last week to continue my exploration of upcycling projects and last night just before I dropped off to sleep I had an idea for a crazy and amazing nceklace using broken glass and felt, hope I can make it work!  Off now to have a long hot bath, I am soooooo stiff after my jog down the mountain last Saturday, why didn’t I bring my mobile phone with me in case of accidents?????

Another upcycled jumper bag and plenty of activity here at Clasheen!

All round it’s been a pretty productive day here at Clasheen ……

  • Hedge cut down the lane
  • Well up and running again at last
  • Upcycled bag sewn 
  • Orange flower wet felted and beaded to embellish bag (sold already!)
  • Gorgeous nuno felt scarf made and uploaded to my Etsy shop
  • Pins added to the back of recent brooches – to be uploaded to Etsy tomorrow

I am really pleased that I have managed to stick to my New Year’s resolution to date (not that we are very far into 2010 yet!) and finish projects instead of leaving in my stash to lanquish.  My virtual felting twin Dawn Edwards in USA also has the same difficulty beading and stitching so this year we are going to try and support each other and overcome this phobia!!  For my latest upcycling project I fulled a gorgeous and soft jumper in my washing machine, unfortunately the jumper had grown and grown until it was almost too big for me to wear at all.  Once I had washed it with a couple of pairs of jeans the fibres had come together beautifully and I was able to cut it easily and stitch it up into this practical and fun bag. 

Green and orange upcycled bag

The green cuffs from the jumper were perfect for leaves and the orange flower was wet felted from merino with a piece of cut up nuno felt in the centre!  I stitched some coral coloured beads into the centre for a bit of a lift and then my friend Cathy, director of ArtL!nks snapped it up for her friend!

Simple tutorial for a fun upcycled bag!

Before I give you the low down on this fun and easy upcycled bag please let me stress that if you want to try this project out for yourself you need to use a jumper that is not machine washable and preferrably one that you (or as in this case a friend!) have shrunk by mistake in the washing machine.  The absolute best fabrics are labled hand washable and are either 100% wool, cashmere, mohair or any combination of these together.  Other mixtures with a high content of wool (eg. 80% wool, 20% something else) should probably work but I wouldn’t guarantee without seeing the jumper first and you definitely can’t make this with ‘machine washable’ wool.  Use something that you already have in your wardrobe or else try the second hand and thrift stores.  These are great places to pick up a bargain and you can be happy in the knowledge that you are helping a cause whilst also benefitting the environment by upcycling!  Now for the tutorial ………

Wash your jumper at 60 degrees and throw a couple of towels or jeans in the machine at the same time to help with the agitation.  You may need to put it through a couple of cycles to get the shrinkage you require, the aim is for a strong flexible fabric that doesn’t unravel when cut with a sissors. 

Taking a bit more off the neck area

Lay out your jumper and remove the sleeves and the neck.  Every jumper may be shaped a little differently but in this example I left the ribbing on the bottom to seam for the base, keep the sewing to a minimum is my motto!  Place the side seams together and hold the shoulder area, see how the bag is shaping up already? 

Corners removed and deciding on embellishments

Snip out a square from both bottom corners and then turn the jumper inside out in preparation for seaming. Stitch a straight line across the bottom of the jumper and then pinch the corners in and stitch them as well.  You don’t actually have to cut out corners and do this bit of fussing at all but even for a no hoper like me in the sewing department it is actually very easy and creates a nice gusset for the bag!  I do have some more pictures of the process over at Flickr so if you are not sure what I am talking about have a look or leave me a comment.

Pinching corners together before stitching


All that remains now is to turn the bag right side out and decide do you need to embellish it, line it, do both or do neither!  I decided not to add any lining (why bother???) but instead to add one of my wet felted flowers for a fun jaunty feel.  Hopefully my friend will be surprised and happy when I present her with her upcycled bag as a surprise later today! 

The finished upcycled bag with felt flower embellishment!

Truthfully it took me longer to stitch the felt flower together than seam the bag so I can definitely guarantee this design is now firmly in my list for potential hand made gifts for the future.  Anyone got any jumpers to spare??