Here is my own design of the lovely market bag from the wonderful Alabama Studio Style Book by Natalie Chanin. I love the designs from this book and the previous one, aptly named Alabama Stitch Project.
The work is slow and therapeutic and uses old gently used cotton t-shirts. I had originally thought I would be making the skirt from the first book (ASP) when I designed this stencil pattern. But on closer inspection I decided that the pattern for the skirt would not fit me! So the fabric with the stencil painted on languished in the corner of my sewing area for a REALLY long time! Finally I hauled it out and planned a market bag shape and used the sewing instructions from the second book (ASS)
I will have used three t-shirts in total, one turquoise, one pumpkin with a Pennsylvania logo, and one for the lining. At this time I am not sure what colour I will use for the lining but I am leaning towards green, always one of my favourite colours. I do have leftover turquoise pieces from the skirt but I would have to piece them as I did for the front of the bag and I would rather not have to piece the lining, you will have to wait and see what I do! I still need to make handles for the bag BUT I am almost finished. Just a little note about thread, I used jeans thread which comes in a lovely array of colours, it is polyester and is made by YLI corp and comes in 200yard / 180m spools and is called Jeans Stitch.
As you can see from the photos I also made a hat band in the same method using small scraps of leftover t-shirting. I think the process so far as taken me about a month. But I also knit in between!
I have knitted up a green shrug to go with my blue dress that I made a little while ago. I didn’t use the Alabama style completely for the dress. I did however use the spiral designs in green and the rosebud stitching and I added pewter grey beads around the swirls. I am hoping to add more spirals and stitching to the dress before I wear it again. The shrug came about because the dress is sleeveless and I sometimes need a little extra warmth. I had thought I would make just a pair of knitted long sleeves but it morphed into a shrug. I have to say it is very cosy.
At last I am wearing my creation. Although with all the work and effort I am a little dissatisfied with the end result. I really do believe that I enjoy the process far better than the results. Funny ‘eh!
I know that there are things I would change, for example one sleeve is slightly longer than the other and the same goes for the front bands which I knitted in moss stitch. I think if I knitted the front bands with a slightly smaller needle then I would not get the “drag or pull” on the front. The reason the sleeve is longer is that I knitted one sleeve separately because I wanted to be sure I had enough of the different yarn choices included in it. I should have transferred the knitted sleeve stitches again as I added it to the last side. Instead I just joined it on with a three needle cast off. Experiments….that’s what this is all about.
The cardigan is lovely and warm and I love the colours. I used two yarns that I would not use again or better still I should have used doubled, they were to thin on their own. I love the moss stitch collar front bands BUT not the way it drags downwards. On my next one I will change this part of the design and only use the moss stitch for part of the collar and front.
I look forward to the next one or even two !
The many yarns that I used in this project : Cascade 220 Heathers and Plain. Chunky Mochi by Crystal Palace Yarns. Ella Rae Classic. Patons Classic Wool. Ultra Alpaca from Berroco. Tekapo Pure New Zealand Wool by Ashford.
Have you knitted anything similar? do you have any helpful suggestions?
My latests de-stashing project is a knitted cardigan using various odd balls of yarn. I used to buy yarn one ball at a time, I would see something great and think OH! goody what can I make with one ball from this gorgeous colour. Also it was affordable BUT not very economical or smart. Nevertheless I have a few balls to use! so begins my side to side knitted cardigan. I have admired other knitted side to side projects that I have found on Ravelry and thought surely I can do this too ! I have knitted from the top down, making a sweater with Barbara Walker’s helpful guidance. So I felt sure I could use a little help from Debbie Bliss to make my side to side cardigan. This is it so far…
Are you inspired by your surroundings ? what have you made ? would you like to share ?
I have been feeling the urge to Spring clean lately…how about you ? I know this is the sort of thing one expects at this time of year but I am a great saver of things, hoarder! …we don’t use that word in our home. All my “saves” have wonderful plans, right! So I knew I was having a moment when I found myself checking out my fabric stash, I was just looking for the ” just right fabric” you know the one your sure you have somewhere if only you could find it !
Then my daughter and some of her friends came over for a night of …just chillin’. They started to look at the fabric stash as well and started to put different colour combinations together. I said please go ahead and have fun, well they had loads of fun and started to make piles of their favourite colour mixes. I was thrilled with all the choices they had made for me, sometimes I find a new set of eyes can produce wonderful and exciting results. They all enjoyed themselves and left with their personal choices listed on paper with small snippets of each fabric choice taped in order of preference.
Consequently I have been busy making many variations of my small string quilted purses. Each one a designer original.
As you can tell by the pictures they really are unique and fun. When I made each of these purses I cut small strips of cotton fabrics in varying widths and stitched them at an angle onto a base fabric. After this I made up the purse shape as I do with my other designs. How do you like the colour combinations? please leave us a comment we would love to hear from you. Maybe you have been stash busting too!
So here we are my Earth Day slippers. I did not end up using the tie, it was not the look I wanted but I do think that the bias binding idea from old ties is a very workable option. I will work on it at a later date.
For now though I am working on some small eco friendly change purses. I am using small scraps of handmade, hand dyed fabrics using the string quilting process. I think they have turned out really well, I love the more muted tones. I believe this is from using plants such as madder,indigo and marigold. No matter which fabrics I put together they all look lovely. Such is the way of nature….I really must pay more attention to her !
Still cool and blustery here but I have at last managed to get my laundry to dry outside on the washing line, how I love that smell when I bring it in to the house nothing beats it for me.
Here is the project I am working on for this Earth Day Challenge, so far so good but I am not sure about the tie! I read an article in the latest Threads Magazine about using old ties for bias binding. I found this lovely greenish one at the local thrift shop. ( See in the previous post pics) I noticed it is made of silk so I am not sure how I will incorporate it into my design ….I am thinking over the exposed seams. Hope you are able to make something too.
So here is the plan, take three items of clothing and use all of them or parts of them to re-create a new item. This is my challenge, would you like to join me ?
For example: take an old wool sweater ( no surprise there! ) one used cotton T- shirt and one no longer “cool” tie. Now get creative and see what you can come up with. Some ideas to get you started might include, hats, scarves, mittens, pillows, toys, games, bags, purses, slippers etc.
A few titles of books that may help spark your creativity:
Sewing Green and Warm Fuzzies both by Betz White
Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt By Megan Nicolay
The Sweater Chop Shop: Sewing One-of-a-kind C… by Crispina ffrench
Heartfelt: 25 Projects for Stitched and Felted Accessories By
If you would like to participate just send me a note and if we have enough people we can set up a flickr page for all to see!
See if you can get it done by April 22nd Earth Day.
Good Luck and have FUN 🙂
Eggless Sugarless Carrot Cake
1/2 cup of crated carrots – I often use 1 cup
1 1/4 cup of chopped dates
2 cups of raisins/and or chopped apricots
1 1/3 cup of water
1/4 cup butter /or olive oil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon and ground nutmeg- use more if you like more flavour.
2 cups of flour….I use gluten free flour here
1 teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup of chopped nuts
Place carrots, dates, raisins, apricots, butter, water and spices in a large pan . Bring slowly to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes; cool. Meanwhile stir together the dry ingredients and add with nuts to the first mixture. Stir until blended. Pour into a well greased pan 9 inch ring mould. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 -60 minutes. To fill a large Bundt pan double the recipe.
****This Part Makes It……Not Sugarless !
*Honey could be used in place of icing sugar for a healthy option !
If you like cream cheese icing. Use a small package of cream cheese and mix with *icing sugar until you have the right consistency. I also add a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
Great after a hard day of knitting and felting! goes well with a good cup of tea or coffee.
As promised a little felting project, a lovely warm scarf or wall hanging. I love it when a project can be something other than your original thought. Hence the wall hanging idea for this …scarf ! Imagine if you will, a small piece of driftwood attached to one of the short ends of the scarf. Perfect to hang in one of those small spaces in your home a stairwell or hallway for example.
Anyway moving on with the felted scarf, I used a few different types of wool. Merino wool from Knitopia Wools for the base which was in dark and light shades of turquoise blues. The next layer was made up of Louet Karaoke Angelfish which is 50% wool and 50% soysilk in pale blue and lime green colours. (This can be viewed here: http://www.suzooswoolworks.com) and for the final layer I added some teal and chartreuse mohair locks from Aurelia Wool and Weaving.
All in all it took me about four hours to complete the project from start to finish. My arms ached from all the rolling back and forth but I love the end result. I already have another two projects on the go…felting with different types of wool and silk hankies. More to come for sure.
I basically draw out a shape on paper that I think will work for a felted purse, I sometimes cut out a cardboard copy of this if I think I will make more than one.
Then you need to find a sweater of your choice from the thrift store…go for 100% wool whenever possible they felt up a lot better than other types. Take this cool find to your washing machine and do all the things you have been told not to do to wash your wool sweater! Hot water, lots of soap and agitate! when you have done this rinse out the soap using cold water, spin and place in the drier…this should now be a few sizes smaller ! and felted. Once your sweater is felted you can cut open the seams, now you have your working fabric. Your decision as to where to place your pattern happens now. Choose a part of the design you like and see how it will look folded or turned the other way. When you are happy with your choice, cut out and hand sew the side seams. I use strong buttonhole thread which comes in a mass of different colours.
I use an easy envelope style flap on the front of the purse. This design lends it’s self to a few variations, make a point like a regular envelope, angle up to the left or right side and round out the point as seen in the pictures. I sew on a large snap closure making sure to sew a small piece of felt underneath each part of the snap. This gives stability to the closure. Decorate the top if desired, I used a knitted, crochet and felted flower with two wool leaves. You could use recycled buttons, embroidery, loops, lace or whatever comes to mind. Let your creative juices flow.
If you are unable to find a wool sweater try making a swatch from your many scrap pieces of yarn. The multi coloured purse with the gold coloured flower was actually a test swatch that I made to see if I could knit with two yarns. I knitted in a round and found that the join looked kind of nasty so I decided to felt it. After this I cut it open were the join was and TA DA! a lovely working fabric to design with. If you need to flatten it out, just use an iron on hot and steam for a few seconds.
I love the versatility of this project. I am sure that I will be making more. I hope you will give this a try and if it helps.. you are making an eco friendly project by saving sweaters from the land fill.