Archives for posts with tag: felted purse

Picture of purseLast month, I wrote about my new Autumn Cabled Purse pattern. I’ve been thrilled with the response to this pattern – many of you have downloaded it, queued it in Ravelry, or told me in person how much you like it. Thank you, all!

Since then, I’ve been reflecting on my design process for this pattern. It all began when I decided to work with a spool of 100% wool from my stash. The wool  was too scratchy to be made into a wearable garment, so I decided to knit a felted something. Its rusty color made me think of autumn, which made me think of cabled sweaters. With these design constraints — make a felted something with cables — I began the design process.

The worst thing a designer can hear is an offhand “Just do whatever you want.” That’s because designers understand the power of limits. Constraint offers an unparalleled opportunity for growth and innovation.” — Scott Dadich, Creative Director of Wired Magazine, Design Under Constraint: How Limits Boost Creativity

I know that I need limits to boost my creativity. In fact, I’m planning to dig through my stash for yarn that will provide me with design constraints for my next project. Stay tuned!


Ever since I was asked to make a purse from an accidentally felted Eileen Fisher sweater last year, I’ve been thinking about making more “upcycled” sweater purses. I’ve been seeing really cute ones on Pinterest, and spotted this one at a high school basketball game:

Photo of an upcycled sweater purse

I know I want to make some!

To get started, I created an Upcycled Sweater Purses Pinterest board to collect  ideas. I have a couple of wool sweaters that were headed to the thrift store, but are now in a plastic tote, waiting to be upcycled.  I just need some time to dig in and have fun!

Accessories, especially purses, are always popular items at my fundraising boutique sales, and I think upcycled sweater purses would be a big hit. Do you agree?

I’ll admit it. About ten years ago, I became severely addicted to making felted purses. I made over a hundred of them, and I sold them at holiday boutiques, gave them as gifts, and kept a few for myself. It was crazy. At some point, though, I got bored with making them and stopped cold turkey. I was done with making felted purses.

Or, perhaps I was just on a hiatus?

I recently dug out my old stash of felting yarns, determined to use some of it up for Stash-n-Burn’s 2013 “Use It Or Lose It” Challenge. I found a beautiful cone of rust-colored tweedy wool yarn, and decided to knit it into a felted purse. Because of the autumn colors, I started thinking of cooler weather and cabled aran sweaters, and created a design with columns of cables that are carried over to the straps. Here’s what it looked like before I put it in the washing machine:

Knitted purse before felting

And here is how it looks finished, with wooden buckles attaching the straps to the purse.

Photo of Autumn Aran Purse

I lined the purse, adding interior pockets, my personalized label, and a magnetic snap closure. It looks “legit,” as my teens would say.

Picture of the inside of the purse

You can download my free Autumn Cabled Purse pattern. If you make one, please post a photo on Ravelry. I’d love to see yours!

At our church coffee hour earlier this month, I saw a woman carrying a felted purse I made a few years ago. Assuming she would remember buying it from me, I said something like,  “I like your purse.”  She thanked me, and as we introduced ourselves, it became clear that she didn’t know I had made her purse. When I told her, her eyes completely lit up. It turns out that she had been looking for me to propose a special project.

Elizabeth’s mother had passed away this year, and in going through her things, Elizabeth found an Eileen Fisher sweater that she had given to her mother a few years ago. Unfortunately, her mother had washed and dried the wool sweater, and it was now a felted child-sized version of its former self.

Elizabeth asked if I could turn the sweater into an evening purse. It would be a Christmas gift to her daughter, as a memory of her grandmother.

I told Elizabeth that, although I had never done something like this before, I would like to give it a try. We agreed to meet the following week so that I could see the sweater and brainstorm ideas for the purse.

Well, I finished the purse in time for Christmas, and Elizabeth loves it. Phew! To thank me, she will be making a donation to our church’s scholarship fund for girl acolytes. (I support this fund with my boutique sales at our coffee hour each December.) Thank you, Elizabeth.

Picture of the finished purse