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T-Storm’s felted birthday bag

April 10, 2010
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I love felting! I also have discovered that I enjoy knitting bags. So for my friend’s birthday I knit her a bag which was then felted. I had certain criteria that had to be met with this bag for it to fit T’s specifications even though she didn’t know about the present. I searched for patterns but couldn’t really find anything that I really was excited about doing. So I decided that I was going to make one up.

Closure for the bag

I went to the craft store to pick out yarn and some other accessories to jazz up the bag. While roaming around the store I came upon a glass pendant and I loved the colors, shape and thought I need to somehow work this into the bag, so I decided this would be the clasp for the bag. I then found some blue yarn and thought okay, I’m set to do this thing!

I cast on started knitting and decreasing to add some shape. When I had gotten farther along I seamed the bottom so I had a better idea of the shape so far and also just how big the bottom was going to be. I knit some more and decreased a bit more for the top to add a bit more shape to the bag.

Now came the strap which had to be long enough to go over the shoulders and across the chest. This part was a bit tricky because when wool is felted it shrinks and also as the bag is worn it stretches a bit unless it is reinforced or lined. I knew that felting it was going to make it a bit more durable but still stretch some so I kept if a bit shorter than I might’ve normally. I then attached the strap and grafted the stitches so it would appear seamless. I knew I was felting it but I still wanted it to be smooth. I then found a contrasting color to crochet the edge so the bag wouldn’t appear quite so plain and I like the look of a crocheted edge to help it look a bit more finished.

An almost felted bag

Next came the felting process! This is something I enjoy immensely. There are several methods for felting. The easiest way is to put the knitted item in a pillowcase, toss it in the washer with a pair of jeans in hot water and let the agitation and hot water do its thing. However, our apartment building has a coin operated washer/dryer and I’m too cheap to do this method. So I opted instead for hot water, a teensy bit of dish soap and my weird wire tongs utensil (this is used mostly so I don’t have to put my hands in the hot water).

Since I have not perfected the art of hand felting I feel like this is a very long process but I told myself hey this is a nice workout for my arms. Soon I began to see results and I proudly took out my felted bag wrung it out and set it to dry! After about a day or so I then attached the closure and eagerly awaited to present my gift to my friend!

T modeling her birthday bag!

Of course I played up the present and T actually does a little knitting herself so she was very excited about her present. Luckily she loved it and proudly modeled it for me!

This came out pretty much how I envisioned it to and I think I will probably even try making one for myself with some awesome yarn that T brought back for me from Oaxaca, Mexico from the weaving village. I do love hand dyed yarn and it is always awesome to support those who put so much work into creating beautiful yarn for me to knit!

– S

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