Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Recycling at its best!

Here is a little spring color, compliments of Hockeyboy. He's found a sudden passion for photographing the flowers in our garden, so you'll probably be treated to more floral photography over the next few weeks. This is the red bomb peony in my front yard. It is the first of the peonies in my garden to bloom and my favorite.

Now, for my favorite recycling project of 2007 . . . The completed Maude Tote.

This tote started out as a sweater that originally was made in an attempt to use up leftover Mission Falls Cotton yarn. Although I loved the sweater on paper, it looked horrible on me. Thus the recycling project began. I've already explained in a previous post how the bag was formed from the sweater. But the incredibly soft, floppy nature of the fabric had me stymied as to how to make it into a usable tote.

Then, I saw this episode of Knitty Gritty and the ideas started flowing. At first, I considered using ultrasuede but when I played around with it, the fabric was too flexible to reinforce the structure of the tote. Then, out of nowhere came the idea to try naugahyde. Not only is it stiffer but it is water resistant and it can be wiped down with a damp cloth, making it easy to clean. Had this not been a recycling project, I would have matched the yarn to the naugahyde, to make the seams less obtrusive. But the goal was to use up the leftover scraps of yarn from the original sweater, so my crocheted edging and seams become a decorative element instead (in a retro, beer-can-hat kind of way).

The naugahyde liner was fully constructed first, then I stitched it to the bag at all the seam lines, to hold everything together. Then I hand-sewed the cotton web handles to the bag and added a loop closure and an antique Mother-of-Pearl button. It took me about 8 hours to make the lining and do the finishing work, so this is not a quickie project but the results were exactly what I was looking for.

When all was said and done, this is how much yarn I had leftover from the unraveled top of the sweater. Now that's what I call recycling.

Next challenge - what can I do with those leftovers?


Guinifer said...

I vote some BIG Kumihomo!

Rani said...

COOL! Do you have a cat? Make little cat toys from the yarn. oop there go the tornado sirens - time for a little excitement around here!!

Sheepish Annie said...

Wow! Great bag! What a nice way to take a knitting defeat and craft it into success.

I'm with guinifer...kumihimo!!!

livnletlrn said...

That bag looks like the perfect size for carrying around your favorite....oh, I don't adorable gray kitten, maybe? Please?! As others have said, he or she could play with the yarn scraps. Hey, I'm only trying to help *you* out with your dilemma about what to do with the yarn scraps. Really, I am!