Sweater Purse

So the latest crafty book I've been looking at is Alterknits by Leigh Radford and John Rizzo.  This book is full of interesting stuff that I would have never thought of.  Most of the knitting is probably way too advanced for me, but it's great inspiration, and I have one project that I've tried and a few others I'd like to attempt.  The one I did today was the Recycled Sweater Tote.  I started with a women's medium sweater that I got from the thrift store:

 sweater-purse-2.jpg 

I felted it and it shrunk down to a boy's size 4.  I know this because in the heat of summer, my little T kept putting it on.  He really LOVES sweaters and would wear them everyday if he could.  He says he likes them because they're soft.  I followed the instructions for turning it into a bag which involved cutting off the sleeves.  Well, T asked if he could wear the sleeves.  "Sure", I said, and I helped him put them on.

 esau-arms-2-s.JPG 

He started calling them Esau arms after the guy in the Bible who has hairy arms.  Funny boy.  I told him they were actually Jacob arms because Jacob was Esau's brother who put fuzzy sleeves on his arms so that he could feel like Esau, but the name "Esau arms" stuck.  And when you have 3 boys, you can't just have one boy wearing Esau arms, you must have at least two.

esau-arms-3-s.JPG

And you can't just have Esau arms, you MUST have Esau legs!

esau-legs-s.JPG

Well, I decided I wanted to line the bag because there was a small hole in the wool.  Easier said than done – I had issues with the straps.  Issues that I can't even explain.  Well, here she is.  She needed some sprucing up so I put a bicycle on the pocket.  The pocket fabric is actually from the neckline.  See the ribbing?

  sweater-purse-s.JPG

Okay, here is where I 'fess up.  This bag is sooo NOT me.  It's going to be one of those, "I'm glad I learned something new, but what am I going to do with this one" purses.  And up close, it has issues.   

Alterknits Dress Form

This is another picture from the book.  The dress form is decoupaged in yarn labels – pretty, isn't it?  I can't do this project because 1) I don't have a dress form (and even if I did, I don't think I would cover it in yarn labels), and 2) I'm a new knitter and don't have that many yarn labels.  I'd like some cool yarn labels to decoupage a canvas.  I was thinking that maybe someone out there has some they might want to share with me.  Maybe I could do a few swaps?  What would be a good swap?  Notecards?  Or if you have a bunch, maybe a gray recycled sweater tote with a bicycle on the pocket?  Any ideas?

UPDATE:  And the winner of the bag is…Sandrine.  I'm so glad someone likes this little purse and that it will get some good use.  It'll be on it's way to Belgium sometime this week.

16 Responses to “Sweater Purse”


  1. 1 Megan June 17, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    I quite like the bag Linda, though it is quite different from your usual style. A lot of my things have issues up close! I’ve seen a similar idea for a pillow cover made from a felted jersey that I am planning to try one day. My planning to try one day list keeps getting longer and longer and longer!

  2. 2 Adrienne June 18, 2006 at 12:52 am

    Man, that bag is so me, if it didn’t have the bicycle on it!🙂 Me and my bicycle don’t get along too well, I leave it to Cay. I am with T, I LOVE sweaters!!!

    I LOVE the Esau arms, and legs. It started reading like, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie there for a minute! Very cute! Love those boys!

  3. 3 rebecca June 18, 2006 at 6:44 am

    I agree with Megan, it is quite different from your usual style, but “signature” Linda with the pink bike patch!!!! So it is kind of you. And love seeing the pics of the boys. It is quite warm where I am, so all I could think of is how hot they must be!!!! I’d love to do a swap for the cool felted bag, but I am leaving in a week, and not sure I can pull together a swap thing good enough for you!!! Lets see if any better crafty people have more to offer! :o) I love the bag though, and knowing you made it and you learned something new would be the special part of it.

  4. 4 autum June 18, 2006 at 7:19 am

    I love it Linda! Nice touch with the bicycle patch. I don’t knit so I have nothing to offer for a swap😦
    The boys are too cute with the sweater sleeves.

  5. 5 Sandrine (alias Didine ♥ ) June 18, 2006 at 7:47 am

    OOOOh ! I’m in love with your bag !! I’m mad about it ! I’d be the most happier girl of the world to have this bag but I don’t have yarns labels LOL Do you want something else🙂 Congratulations for your new blog ! Smooches

  6. 6 Gina June 18, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    What a great idea, and your photo’s of the boys are so cute! Love your bag with the outer pocket and sweet little applique.

  7. 7 capello June 18, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    The purse came out cute; perhaps you’d be more likely to use it during colder weather.

    Sorry, no labels here. Now, if you wanted scrapbook labels I could help you out.

  8. 8 rachel June 18, 2006 at 10:08 pm

    I love the story about the “Esau arms”. And I completely understand about the “glad I learned something new…”. My daughter (or her dolls)ends up with the somewhat rejected projects. She loves the idea for now, but in a few years, she may turn them down. I can hear her now-“Mom, this is weird…you can keep it.” :o) Cute post-it made me laugh.

  9. 9 Kimberly June 18, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    That story about the arms is adorable. Your kids are funny.
    I can understand the purse issues. I make so many things just for the learning experience.
    I don’t have yarn labels because I staple them on a picture of my finished project for further reference. If you want I could start a collection of doubles from now on. Remind me when I get back in a month. 🙂

  10. 10 wendy June 19, 2006 at 10:12 am

    your bag looks great – iv seen a similar decoupage folding screen covered with vintage knitting and sewing patterns.Thats on my one day soon list..

  11. 11 quenna June 19, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    Kudos for trying something new! Your pics of your “hairy” boys were hilarious — it’s cool when they start acting out what they’ve learned during Sunday school and etc.

  12. 12 weirdbunny June 19, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Hey the bag is funky, but I know what it’s like to make something that doesn’t suit your personality!

  13. 13 Cathy June 20, 2006 at 8:53 am

    Even though it didn’t suit you, the bag definitely has your stamp on it! I love the fabric patch… it perked up the gray perfectly.

    I have a lot of labels… not many fancy ones but if you want my extras you are welcome to them.

  14. 14 lera June 21, 2006 at 11:57 am

    I like your bag. Sometimes it’s good to experiment! Spenser is always my guinea pig. She gets all my bag failures!

  15. 15 coxicreations June 22, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    love it!!! really

  16. 16 vintage dress January 3, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    With the 70s and 80s back in style, I just loving vintage clothing from the thrift shops. You can find designers like Chanel and Armani for cheap there. Ebay is great too!


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Craft Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, crafting is my apple. It's what I do to maintain my sanity while taking care of my family. I homeschool my three boys, ages 12, 13, and 14), am a quilter, a bagaholic, and a pattern designer.
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