Stripey Sweaters, Redux

comments: 53

Sweaterreduxbag4The laundry basket full of thrifted, hot-washed, fluffy felted sweaters. I collect them all year in anticipation of colder weather and autumn Sundays' Christmas crafts. I often wonder if this year I'll be "over" felt, and then they start showing previews for the fall television line-up and I'm like, "No, I love felt."

Sweaterreduxbag5Right. That's what I say. How those two things are connected for me is hard to say, but they are — I woke up this morning chuckling at the memory of this post, too. It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I love TV. I love TV. If I wasn't already married to Andy, Blair, Ina's shrimp salad, and Lisa, I would marry it. And TiVo. I know it's very, very wrong and everything, but if I didn't have TV I think I'd go completely mad and I can't see how an even more-bonkers version of myself would be helpful to the world, so I watch. And in fall and winter, I mess about with felt.

Sweaterreduxbag7It happened again this weekend — the delicious anticipation of some new shows and, concurrently, my awareness of the potential in a basket of wool, especially rescued wool and linings made from my fabric stash and leftover patches for the quilt (which, ahem, still needs to have its back put on and, oh why oh why oh WHY did I not do this when I was in the full-on Yellow/Gray Quilt Zone??? agh). Anyway, these bags, of which I'm trying to do a limited edition of fifteen, will be up on the Posie site in several weeks with some other new things for fall. I've got a lot to do, along with my other new web site — I hope I get it all done, eek. Pacing, here.

My little product line is changing, and it feels good, I think. I'm focusing less on quantity, less on desperately trying to figure out how to make enough of the same thing before I get burnt out; and more on quality, more on infusing each item with its own specialness, whatever that is, whatever it takes, however long. That's more important to me now, as I consider the world and how I want to live in it, how I see others wanting to live in it, with deliberateness and considered attention. I want the things I make to be what they need to be, not what the "market" needs them to be. It's funny how things have come full-circle in that way — when I first started designing, I worked that way, the "whatever it takes" way; then I clambered onto a small wave of wholesale/retail/sales reps/meeting those demands, and all that stuff changed things, as it will. It changed me, too, and I wasn't happy.

Now I'm sort of back where I started, but of course I had to get my feet wet in wavy waters a bit before coming back to the start made sense again, I guess. I see it that way now, but you always do, in retrospect, no? Not while it's happening, necessarily. While it's happening it feels more like playing dodgeball in fourth grade (switching-sporty-metaphors alert) — I'll throw this one, I'll dodge this one, yikes, bonk, ouch, oh crap! I always sucked at that game, routinely got bonked in the face with those mottled, red balls; my glasses would go flying, I'd sit on the sideline with the other uncoordinated schmoes, chin in hand, chanting, "I hate gym! I hate Mrs. Beaudoin [substitute gym teacher]!" to myself. I'm better at croquet.

These bags take longer to make than anything I've ever sold; I worked on them for two intense days and only finished four. But hand-stitching the lining in without leaving a trace on the outside — that's what I wanted for these. It's what I wanted to have time for. I hung all the ones I'd finished up around my room last night and couldn't stop looking at them, and then I dreamed about them, too. I haven't done that in a long time.


Wow, those are so cute! I keep seeing the neatest felt stuff and I keep resisting the call of the felt... but those may push me over the edge. Yummy!

Well, it's definitely time well spent. They are just gorgeous!

I have a few old sweaters I might have to try to felt...

i have never paired the word cozy with bag before but i am now. right now.

such beauty in this post. to my mind, there's nothing better than living deliberately. cheers to you for spending good time on something you shows!

I LOVE these cuddly sweater purses! They're perfect! I like how you put contrasting pockets and lining details. Yummy.

I know what you mean about there being more to something you create than the actual item itself. I feel like I put a bit of my soul into my creations. And it's wonderful when you love what you've made :)

I LOVE those bags! They are BE-AUTIFUL! They are LOVELY! They are WONDERFUL!

Absolutely beautiful!

They're gorgeous! And they must be magic with so many intention and care going into them.

I've been reading your blog for a while but this is my first post. I understand what you mean about taking your time to do something that you find beautiful. Sometimes people want me to make them certain items in a particular way, and Im cringing inside as they tell me. I really believe you have to find what you are making beautiful and worth the time, otherwise it just feels like you're a production robot. By the way, I dont know how I linked to your shrimp salad and Ina Garten post but I absolutely LOVE her and her show! I can't get much that Im actually getting TIVO primarily for Barefoot Contessa...I feel like a dork.

Amazing, as always! i love the first one.

they're fantastic. each one special. I like that...and I really appreciate your words about doing things the way that makes you happy vs. what the market wants. i feel that way about my pottery. people make requests that aren't my taste, or I have an idea of what might 'sell better', but I'd much rather enjoy what I'm doing than pump out a bunch of crap for the multitudes.

good god, those are incredible! love them!!

Aaaaaaaa they're wonderful!

i would like to crawl into one of those and sleep in it.

I love,love ,love them!I must try this as I'm sure these will either be gone or out of my price league!

I love,love,love the bags! They are so cute. I will definitely be looking out on your posie site for them.

oh, i LOVE that bag!! especially, as there is as much attention paid to the inside as the outside; kind of like a special inside treat for the owner.

i agree with being determined to stay within the realm of what feels right to you when creating. selling directly takes out a number of players who often try to influence direction as you'll deal directly with the customer (us!). it will provide you with total control over the process and the ability to obtain feedback fairly quickly, as well as the ability to adjust before a major investment of time or $$.

Oh -they are so dreamworthy!!!

I love this post. It really makes me think about how important it is to be authentic to ourselves.

Oh, and you're not alone in your love of TV. I am such a TV junkie. I like it all - good TV, bad TV, crap TV, LOVE it. There is always a TV on in my house.

theese bags are just wonderful!
by the way, i do also out myself as beeing addicted to tv... even while sitting at the sewing-machine...

Oh, those are just SO yum - gorgeous. They will fly out of the store. I confess, my name is Joanna and I'm addicted to television - the more dumbed-down, the better - isn't that a terrible admission?!!!

They are gorgeous bags. I especially like the first one with all the stripes. For some reason all those unmatched stripes make me really happy!

I loved this post. It is easy to get caught up in the road race (more sports metaphors) and lose sight of where you really want to be. I think we all fall victim to that. You put it so beautifully!

And isn't tv great? I sat transfixed through all those weeks of So You Think You Dance, just loving every glorious, sweaty, slightly cheesy moment of it. I just wish they'd bring back Firefly!

I love how you're evolving the beautiful things you make, isn't that what it's all about? The bag is so beautiful, and as I've told you before, I love anything with a good story behind it. I'm sure you know I'm not into quantity of anything these days (except my new dishes). This bag fits into my idea of simple, beautiful, unique, and special. That seems like just the kind of creating you do best. xo

btw, I think felted sweater bags are a very appropriate 1st anniversary gift. I'm just sayin...

there have been so many people lately starting to think in this same way; the "making the most of everything and making things simpler but better" way of life is something i've been pondering for a few months now. it's so nice to hear others echoing my thoughts.

stunning bags btw. really!

WEll they are certainly wonderful from what I see here.


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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at