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Archive for February, 2010

Since I have been doing so many projects with felted wool lately, I thought it might be time to learn another new skill – knitting.  I’ve tried learning how to crochet in the past, but I’ve learned that I learn best from teaching, not from a book.  I figure if I learn to knit, I can knit things to the shape/style I want, and then felt them – and use it as a way to supplement and enhance my bags.

 So, of course, the first thing I had to do was get some knitting needles.  My new favorite hunting ground for these type of things is www.shopgoodwill.com.  It lists goodwill items from all across the country.  It is auction style, like ebay, but all the proceeds go to goodwill.  The shipping can be high, so keep that in mind when you are bidding.  I managed to get an assorted lot of knitting needles for a steal, and I supplemented with a pair or two from my local yarn shop.

The next step was making a cute case for all my needles.  I’ve been making projects from Betz White’s Warm Fuzzies.

Warm Fuzzies by Betz White

Lucky for me her book happens to have a great project for a felted knitting needle case.

Felted knitting needle case

Even luckier for me was that I had a sweater in my felted stash that almost matched exactly the sweater she used in a book.  Not that I had to use a sweater that matched, but it was pretty cool to have it look similar.  The sweater I used happens to be a Benetton sweater that I got from a local Goodwill.  Here is my finished case. 

Wool felt knitting needles case

I was amazed how quickly and easily the project came together.  A word of advice – when making projects that involve felt (like craft felt), pay attention to how the felt will be used.  In her book, she has you use a thin strip of felt for the tie of the case.  But, if you use craft felt, it pretty much breaks and falls apart after you tie it once.  Unfortunately, this happened after I had already sewn the project.  Thankfully, the sweater had a very wide collar, with great detailing, so I cut that off the sweater, and used it to wrap around the case like a huge rubber band.  The flower detail was from a ruffle cuff on another sweater that I had felted.  Think outside the box when looking at your sweaters.  You never know what part of a sweater might be perfect for some future project you will be working on.

wool felt needle case - closed

Now that I have the tools, and the cute carrying case, I’m ready to learn.  Lucky for me my local yarn shop has a special $15 class for first-timers.  Wish me luck!  I think I’m going to start with a basic scarf, or maybe a cute coin purse.

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So much has been happening in the past month or so.  I have been sewing like crazy.

First, the big news…I will finally be selling my bags (not only on etsy), but as a vendor at my first craft show.  Introducing Allison Kapner Originals:

Allison Kapner Originals Logo

I will be a vendor at the Black n Bleu Festival in Downtown Delray Beach on Sunday, March 14th (http://www.blacknbleu.com/) from 12:00pm until 6:00pm.  If you are in the area, please come by to show your support – you don’t have to buy anything, but I’d love it for people to say “Hi.”

In addition to my regular big totes and purses I’ll be showcasing craft items like my adorable ice cream cone and cupcake pincushions made from upcycled recycles wool sweaters that I have felted. 

ice cream cone pincushions

Cupcake pincushions

And, bigger news, I will be launching my NEW LINE.  I have fallen in love with felting wool, and turning it into bags (I try and let the sweaters tell me what they want to be when they grow up), and love matching them with bold linings, and whimsical appliqués.  I love how each sweater felts differently, and seems to call out to be made into a specific bag. 

Here are just a few of the bags I have completed, but more will be made as it gets closer to the show. 

pale green sweater, chocolates lining

red sweater, red tulip lining

peach/grey sweater, peach Heather Ross tadpoles lining

And this bag, I just had to keep for myself.  I made it specifically to be able to hold a legal pad and magazine inside – the perfect business size for me.

yellow sweater, pink floral lining

The good, and the bad, about using old sweaters is that once the sweater is gone, that’s it – so the bags truly are one-of-a-kind.  But, then again, that’s part of the fun for me – that I can never exactly repeat what I’ve done before. 

I hope other people like my bags as much as I do – if not – more bags for me!

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