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A good yarn about handbags

Peter Taylor/The Arizona Republic

Megan Finnerty
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 25, 2005 12:00 AM

They're fuzzy, felted and fun -- just what you need to update your wardrobe for spring without looking too trendy.

Paradise Valley handbag-designer Kate Groves, 43, knits joyful, colorful, one-of-a-kind bags.

The bags, which are all named after women close to Groves, are adorned with sequins, fringe, handmade buttons and beaded handles made from stone, glass, crystals or freshwater pearls.

She makes them in four sizes, sometimes using up to 30 kinds of yarn per bag, ranging from the small Sabrina Mini, which takes about three hours to knit, to the Heidi Handbag, which takes about 10 hours.

Groves knits at home, listening to books on tape or watching TiVo-ed episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show and A&E's Biography.

Groves learned to knit from a college roommate and has knit sporadically since, but about a year ago, she saw knitted purses at a craft fair.

"I thought they were so neat, so I bought a book and learned how to make them," she says. "And every time I carried mine, people kept stopping me, asking if I sold them, where to find them."

Groves is now an at-home-mom to Nicholas, 11, and Amelia Meyer, 7, after having worked in marketing for Frito-Lay (she worked on the superyummy Doritos Cooler Ranch account).

She scours the Valley and state for the most interesting, beautiful yarn, and recommends Knitting in Scottsdale as the place to find the coolest yarns.

"I love making them, and I've always loved handbags," she says, adding that she has about 30 she never carries now, because she's always carrying her own bags.

  • Fringed Sabrina mini with agate handle, $100.

  • Amelia tote with agate handle, $160.

  • Amelia tote with handmade button-and-glass-bead handle, $160.

  • Anna pochette with freshwater-pearl handle, $175.

  • Nic Nak tote with glass-bead handle, $200.

  • Heidi handbag with plastic handle, $300.

    Visit buy them or contact Groves about custom colors and styles.

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