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Friday, April 21, 2006

A Piece of Sheet Project

Had to get this one done before Ms. Hillary completes her project. Although she says it will be an apron, you never know with that crafty chica...

I found these two sheets at the thrift store a couple of months ago




I've seen some great clothes crafts with sheets (here and here), but in general thrift store sheets still give me the heebie jeebies. I know what happens on our sheets, and I'm not really tempted to wear somebody else's on my person. But, the patterns are so great, it is really hard to not snatch them up.

It's amazing how expensive these were by thrift store terms ($4 apiece). Does anybody actually use thrift store sheets on their bed? Sorry if you do - I just can't really imagine doing that personally. I know - you sleep on used sheets all the time at hotels, but 1) it's pretty amazing how few times sheets are used by hotels before they are sold to a rag company, whereas these could have been used every single day without washing until someone died on 'em - who knows?, 2) hotel sheets are almost always white so they can bleach the sh*t out of them every day and kill any creepy crawlies left behind, and 3) at a hotel you have to sleep on used sheets, at home it's your choice.


So, brainstorming on what to do with thrifty sheets that does not involve clothing, I figured why not make a purse? This saves me from touching old bed sheet funk by most of my body, but hopefully will generate a few conversations about the fabric's origin. The one on the left, furthermore, seemed like a good one to use for rag knitting.


My original interest in rag knitting came from this book. The Japanese craft books refer to it as "cotton tape," which sounds a little nicer than rag knitting. So, I set to ripping and tearing my cotton tape from the floral sheet. I took a couple of pictures, but they don't really show what's going on. I'll try my best to describe the process...

So, you have your sheet laid out in front of you (or a piece of fabric, if you are even more squeamish than me). If it is a sheet, cut the lower hem off. On one side, cut a slit about half an inch long starting half an inch up from the cut off edge. Tear that piece all the way over within half an inch of the other side. If you are using a sheet, the edges are not hemmed, but finished in such a way that you can tear all the way to the finished edge. With a piece of unfinished fabric you would have to be careful to not tear all the way off the side.

Now, half an inch up from the end of your tear line, cut a slit coming back the other direction. Tear back to the side you started with. The end that forms where the original torn strip ends and the next ones starts leaves this I_I kind of shape with the tear down the center. You need to clip the corners of the I_I shape so it is a little more rounded. Otherwise little tags will stick out all over your knitted piece.


Time for an hour or so of fun ripping your sheet/fabric back and forth until you have a ball like this




No sewing required! (Unless you accidentally rip through a strip) Don't worry if every strip is not the same width. Your first strip may not be even, but once you've torn one you should be on track.

I then used size 10 circular needles and a moss stitch (cast on 61 stitches) to knit a bag 12 X 10 inches



The bag was lined with more sheet fabric (sorry for the crappy pic - hard to get an inside shot) with part of the top hem and trim (cute crocheted pink lace) used as a pocket



I also used the yellow part for handles, but not really happy with these. Think I replace with store-bought handles today...

Another paranoid tip for making your cotton tape. I didn't do it myself, but wish I had. It may be good to wear a mask while you are ripping the fabric. No, not 'cause of the skin cells and crap that may be floating around - I'm over that. But the little fibers that are released were very irritating to my lungs. I kinda felt yucky after making the tape, and I think (hope) it was because of the fibers.

12 comments:

telfair said...

The scene in our house when I read this:
"OH MY FREAKING GOD, honey. LOOK at what the Felt Mouse made out of a SHEET! Can you believe that girl?!?"
(GB & I both leaning over your blog with expressions of rapt, utter disbelief on our faces)

I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU MADE SUCH A CUTE PURSE OUT OF A SHEET.

I've seen some super cute "sheet crafts" lately too but haven't been particularly covetous of any of them for the hygienic "used sheet" concerns that you sketch out here. A purse, though...that I could get behind...

Emy said...

Wow, you must knit fast!! It looks great. I think we had those sheets growing up! What kind of handles are you going to buy? I think bamboo would look great.

I used to work in a thrift store and my allergies were always going nuts. Even now, around fabric fibers I sneeze a lot.

I never worry too much about the sheets being gross. Most people was their sheets in hot water to kill germs. What gets me though is the underwear!!! Yuck. I guess there is a fine line between underwear and say a vintage slip or bathing suit. Why does being vintage make it less gross? (To be clear, i own a vintage swimsuit but I threw away the nasty bottoms a long time ago. The top makes an awesome shirt though!)

tuscanycastlegirl said...

That purse is darling!
And I agree....bamboo or wooden handles for sure.
Breath of fresh air - a job well done !

Archimedes24 said...

Yeah FM,

And now I've been tasked with dragging home "some cute sheets" so Red can try her hand at this too. (Which of course, I'm WAY TOOO HAPPY TO DO because it justifies more trips to the op shops!!! Woohoo!)

Thanks Felt Mouse!

Barb said...

That bag is seriously amazing. I've found sheets at thrift stores where it was obvious they had never been used. I think there are lots of people out there like my mom (who learned it from her mom) who have a cupboard full of items "too good" to use. What are they waiting for?!

Caitlin said...

This is the cutest little handbag EVAH! No way would I have guessed it was from thrifted sheets - you ROCK!

betsy said...

i wonder if maybe there would be less fibers (although less fun) if you used scissors to cut the sheets?

i recently made a rug out of shirts and cutting them didn't present too many weird fiber-y bits floating in the air...

anyway, super cute purse! i love the idea!

Jennifer said...

that is absolutely adorable. i have to agree with the sheet issue - so the purse is a great idea!

Barb said...

Yay, you made whip-up! You're all famous now and stuff :)

elizabeth said...

oh i friggin' love it. i will def. have to come back and reread those instructions about a hundred more times (i'm one of those "its easier to show me then read instructions" gals ;)

hannah said...

thank goodness im not the only one with old sheet heebie jeebies! would people really sleep on those? and whats with the old underware at the trift store? seriously???

oh, and your purse is so very lovely!

Alicia P. said...

Jennifer, that bag totally kicks buttocks!!!