Friday, 30 September 2016

Clutch bag recycled from an old knit

Saving an old piece of knitting and turning it into a little clutch was a bit of a fiddle but I think, well worth it.
Clutch recycled from an old knit
Photo Credit Carla Nyanyo
Today is a tutorial of sorts with a bit of a personal story attached. It's not a tutorial you could follow exactly as you are very unlikely to have exactly the same sort of knit that you want to recycle but hopefully you might be able to follow the steps and improvise to suit what you have.
I'd had this beautiful piece of hand knit for ages.
It was one of the things I had kept from my Mum's house when we cleared her house after she passed away.
I remember this project well, the pattern is from a book of mine that mum had borrowed, Great Knits for Kids by Debbie Bliss. It was going to be a cardigan for one of her granddaughters, my niece and it's a toddler size. Said niece is now 18 so this was made a LONG time ago. The yarn is a beautiful soft cotton, but no ball bands remain so I've no idea exactly what it is. I think it just got too difficult for mum to keep the Fair Isle pattern and do the decreases so it just got buried at the bottom of her knitting bag as an embarrassment/annoyance. When I found it I just couldn't throw it away but it took a while to decide what I could do with it. Not enough yarn remained to try to finish it and I knit to a different tension than my mum had anyway.

The piece measured approx 70cm (27") by 18cm (7") with just a little extra bit which I think would be one front. The cardigan pattern is one where the main bit is worked all in one and then it splits at the arm holes, that's why it's such a long thin piece.

To form it into a rectangle I undid the little extra bit and a couple more rows so I had a nice even row of loops.
Then chopped the moss stitch border from the bottom...

...and unpicked all the bitty bits to end up with another nice row of loops on the other long side.

So at this point I have a long thin piece of knitting that's all loops along both long edges.
I folded it in half, wrong sides together, so the long sides were basically doubled up. Then, starting from the unfolded edge, I crocheted the loops together using UK double crochet, that's single crochet in US terms. Hopefully the photos show it better than I can explain.
crocheting knit together
I had to be really careful not to pull the knit or it would unravel but other than that this was really simple. I then repeated along the other long side forming a long thin 'bag'.
Next I joined the open short sides together, closing the 'bag" using a simple slip stitch.
At this point I had a piece of knit, double sided, joined all the way round that was approx 35cm (14") x 20cm (8') and it seems I stopped taking photos at this point. I think you can work out from the finished photos how this bit went.
I folded one short edge up by just over 1/3 and then stitched up both side seams. 
Clutch bag recycled from an old knit
Photo Credit Carla Nyanyo
I added a button and a loop closure and that was it. The piece of precious knit was saved. Phew! I now confess as I chopped into the knitting with my scissors early on I did hope I was doing the right thing!
Clutch bag recycled from an old knit
Photo Credit Carla Nyanyo
I'm calling it a clutch, it is pretty small, so maybe more of a pouch. Anyway whatever it is I am happy that this little bit of knitting is no longer sitting in a paper bag. I'm sure mum would have been pleased all the hard work she did wasn't wasted either, I know the fact she gave up on it had frustrated her.

Just to finish the story, I gave this clutch/pouch to my niece, the same person the toddler cardigan had been intended for in the beginning. I think mum would have been really pleased about that.

As I said at the beginning this is a very specific tale of saving a specific piece of knitting but I think the idea of fashioning a bit of lovely knitting into something else is probably transferrable. Do you have any old knits that you could imagine saving in a similar way?
You might also be interested in:
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I'll be linking up at these great link parties
Julie Nyanyo
Julie Nyanyo

Hello, I'm Julie. I love making things and this is where I share my enthusiasm.

16 comments:

  1. Your Mum's knitting is beautiful.That first cut must have been difficult, Julie - but the end result is so special. Your niece must treasure it!!!

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  2. It was just too special to leave in a bag but it did take a long time to be brave enough to chop into it that's for sure!

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  3. I just chopped up my daughter's favorite toddler dress the other day to repurpose it and it took some internal coaxing to make that first cut! What a great way to keep a memory alive by giving it a new purpose. Visiting from Happiness Is Homemade party.

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    1. It's hard isn't it... making that first cut!? Worth it though I think, much better than leaving precious things in bags not being used.

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  4. lovely story and a lovely keepsake

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  5. Super job on "rescuing" and passing on your Mom's "Legacy" to whom it was intended. And, seeing as your Niece is old enough to appreciate EVERYONE's "efforts", I'm sure that it'll end up getting passed on even more Future Generations!
    :-D

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    1. Hopefully Auntie Shan, that would be nice. For now I think I'm just relieved I didn't mess it up and ruin it!

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  6. What a gorgeous little purse. Very brave to cut into the knitting.

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    1. Thanks, only another knitter would understand quite how hard that was!

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  7. The knitted pattern of your Mum's is beautiful and I am sure she would have loved your niece to get the bag made from it.

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  8. It looks great, and is a lovely reminder of your mum.

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  9. the clutch is gorgeous, the story behind it very special. #RealCraftyLinkParty

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  10. What a great way to re-use that lovely knit, and keep the memories too. Thank you so much for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party this week. Pinned!

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  11. Wow, this is a great idea! I love how you reused it. Thanks for sharing at the Wednesday showcase party.

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  12. Lovely story and a great project! I'm glad you were able to restore your mother's project into something useful. :) Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg

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