How To Recycle A Sweater Into A Purse

CoverCreating something new out of something old is a great way to get what you need and want while also reusing what you have on hand. If you have an old pullover sweater that has seen better days, you can keep it out of the landfill and make yourself a new purse!

This tutorial includes:

  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Color photograph illustrations
  • 9 pages
  • Downloadable and printable PDF format

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How To: Coffee Dyed Fabric

I wanted new curtains for my windows, ones that matched the new covers I made for my throw pillows. As always, I wanted to recycle what I already had, if possible. Taking a look at my fabric stash, I pulled out a flat sheet that was getting too thin to use on the bed. It was white, with small pink flowers on it and in good shape with no rips or tears. Unfortunately, the white was too bright for the room. I needed something beige or tan.

Since the sheet was 100% cotton, I decided to dye it. I first consider tea dyeing, but after some online research decided coffee dyeing would produce a darker color, more what I was looking for.

What I really liked was I could reuse the coffee grounds that I normally threw away each day. Recycled sheet and recycled coffee grounds – win, win!

I found these instructions online – http://www.marthabeth.com/dye.html and used them to base my instructions on.

Supplies:

Used coffee grounds. The more fabric, the more grounds you will need. I collected mine daily in a plastic container that I stored in the refrigerator. If I had a bit of black coffee left, I poured that in as well. When it was full, it was time to dye the fabric.

Plastic container large enough to hold the fabric and the dye, allowing plenty of room to move around. DO NOT USE YOUR WASHING MACHINE since there are coffee grounds in the water; you don’t want them in your machine.

Vinegar

A place outside to do the dyeing and hang the fabric to dry.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS MESSY! You will need to do everything outside until the fabric is dry and you have gotten all the coffee grounds off.

How To:

1.Into the old storage container, add in the coffee grounds, leftover sludge, and cold water to fill the container about ½ full.

2.Mix it well and add the fabric, making sure there is enough liquid to cover the sheet. If not, add more cold water, but only enough to cover the fabric.

3.Mix it around and rub the grounds into the fabric to get a bit more color.

4.Let soak. After about 15 minutes, gently stir the fabric around. Check color to see if it is dark enough for you. If not, let soak another 15 minutes, then check again. Repeat every 15 minutes until the color is where you want it. I needed to let mine soak over an hour to get the color dark enough.

5.Add vinegar to the water. I didn’t really measure it, just poured some in – probably about 1/3 cup and let it soak about 15 more minutes.

6.Remove the sheet, wringing out as much liquid as possible.

7.DO NOT RINSE THE FABRIC! Otherwise, you will remove some of the color you dyed in.

8.Hang the sheet outside and out of the sun to dry. I draped the sheet over my patio table and chairs to dry. Since the fabric has not been rinsed there will be a lot of coffee grounds stuck to it. Many will fall off as the fabric dries which is why you need to dry it outside.

9.Shake the fabric to remove any remaining coffee grounds that remain on it.

10.Iron the fabric with a dry iron to help set the color.

11.If you now want to wash the fabric, test a small section to see if the color bleeds out. Even if it does not, I recommend washing it separately just to be sure.

There you have it – coffee dyed fabric!

If you try this, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

 

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How To: Crochet A Granny Square Christmas Stocking

Here’s an idea to use your leftover pieces of yarn, especially if they are in holiday colors. Crochet a granny square then sew together and add a way to hang. You have a small Christmas stocking to decorate your tree or home.

Granny squares are easy to make, making them the perfect project for someone who has learned the basic crochet stitches. They are a great project to carry around with you because they are small and easily transported.

Granny squares can be joined to make scarves, blankets, and wraps. An internet search for “crochet granny squares instructions” will turn up many results, often with pictures, so I’ll only cover the basics here.

SUPPLIES:

Yarn
Crochet hook
You can select any yarn and hook size you want. The larger the hook, the larger the final square will be. Play around with different yarns and hooks to find the look you like best.


INSTRUCTIONS:

To make the Granny Square, Chain 4. Join the last loop to the first chain with a slip stitch and pull through to make the foundation ring.
Round 1: *3 double crochet in ring, chain 2; repeat from * 3 times. 
Round 2: *3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet in the 2 chain space, chain 1; repeat from * 3 times
Round 3: *3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet in the 2 chain space, chain 1, 3 double crochet in next space, chain 1; repeat from * 4 times
Round 4: *3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet in the 2 chain space, chain 1, 3 double crochet in the next space twice, chain 1; repeat from * 3 times.

(You can use the same yarn throughout, or you can change – with each round, only on one round, or for the single crochet edging. Play around with it and see which look you like. This is also a great way to use up leftover bits of yarn you have around. If you have enough for two rounds, use it, then switch over to another. Experiment, play, and see what you create!

The granny square is now finished! 

TO MAKE THE STOCKING

1. Fold the square in half.

2. With the same hook and same or different yarn, join the bottom and side together with a single crochet stitch. Put the hook through a chain on both layers; pull yarn through both layers and finish stitch. 

3. When you reach the top of the “stocking” continue with the single crochet stitches, but only go through one layer (so you will need to circle around the top of the stocking.

4. When you complete the round, join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet. 5. If you want a hanging loop, then chain stitch to twice the desired length of the loop you want; bring hook down and slip stitch next two first chain of the loop. Finish off. 

You can also thread a needle with yarn and sew the edges together. 

You now have a granny square stocking! Isn’t it cute! 

And now – what can you do with these?

They look really cute hanging from the Christmas tree:

They can also be used to hold the To/From cards on holiday packages:

As well as place card holders for your holiday dinner table. Add a few pieces of candy and let the guest takes these home.

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How To: Crochet A Wire Hanger

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I am all about reusing things rather than throwing them out. Reusing means you aren’t buying something new, saving resources AND money – a win-win situation! With this in mind, I created this tutorial for crocheting yarn around wire hangers to make them non-slip.

I’ve had great luck with these for wide-neck tops as well as spaghetti straps and tank tops. It also greatly reduces the wire hanger pushing through knits that are hung. However, if you really need a padded hanger, these probably won’t work. 

These are the basic instructions – feel free to play around with the yarn, the size crochet hook, and the stitch you use. Change things around and see which results you like the best.

For this project you will need:

Wire hangers like you get from the dry cleaner. (We could have an entire discussion on the hazards of dry cleaning, but we’ll save that for another time.) If you don’t dry clean or have no wire hangers, ask around. Most people simply throw them away. You can also order some from Amazon

Leftover yarn. I use about 15 yards per hanger, but what you need will vary depending on the yarn, the size hook, and the stitch you use. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough – simply switch to a different yarn part way through. Don’t have leftover yarn – ask anyone who knits or crochets for some leftover bits (and offer to make a hanger or two for them in return). Check out thrift stores. Any type of yarn will work; thicker yarn will give you more padding. For this project, I used leftover acrylic yarn.

Crochet hook. Pick a size you are comfortable with and see how it goes. Switch around to get the look you like best. I used a size G/6 (4,5 mm) crochet hook because of the type of yarn, and I also wanted a fairly tight stitch. If you need crochet hooks, Amazon has a wide selection to choose from.

Instructions:

 

 

Attach yarn to hook with a slipknot.

 

 

Place hook, with yarn attached, in center of hanger with yarn going over the TOP of the wire. Reach UNDER the wire with the crochet hook and pull up. Two loops on crochet hook.

 

Next, reach hook over TOP of hanger wire and pick up yarn with hook and pull through FIRST loop on the hook; two loops will then be on the crochet hook:

 

 

Again, reach hook behind top wire of hanger and pull up yarn and pull it through both loops on the crochet hook:

 

One stitch made.

 

You continue making stitches by reaching to the FRONT of the wire to pull up first loop; then reach to the BACK to pull up yarn and go through first loop; reach to BACK again, pull up yarn and go through both oops on hanger. If you crochet, this is a single crochet stitch, but instead of pulling the yarn through the stitch on the previous row, you are doing it around the wire hanger.

Repeat around hanger to where two ends of wire are twisted together to begin the hanging hook.

You can end here by cutting the yarn and tying off. If you wish, you can continue in the same stitch around the hook (carefully work over area where wires are twisted). Work around hook almost to end. Cut yarn, leaving long tail, and pull through loop on hook. Take remaining yarn tail, wrap around end of wire hook and glue in place. I prefer to work around the hanging hook because I believe it gives a more finished look – although when I’m short on yarn and this is just for me, I won’t!

 

There you have it – a crocheted wire hanger!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

 

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