Striped Felted Bag

I may need to have a new series called “Felting Fanatic.” Since raiding my mom’s stash of yarn over the Christmas holidays, I’ve been so excited to try making some felted projects. The first was a felted basket to my knitting. Steve calls it “Knitting Inception,” because of the yarn within the yarn thing… he’s a bit quirky that way. The next project was this felted shoulder bag.

Knitted felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

I was having a lot of fun with the big needles and chunky yarn, because everything came together so quickly. I had learned a little bit about the proportions from making the basket, and so I adapted my plans for this bag a little bit. It’s a simple shoulder bag. The main color is dark blue, and I used a mix of many colors for the stripes in between. Like the basket, I was able to mix different types of yarn by doubling or tripling the ones that were thinner.

Like with the basket, I knit on my chunky needles with a gauge of 3 stitches per inch.  I cast on 90 stitches and knit in the round with stocking stitch until the bag was 22″ high, finishing with 4 rows of garter stitch at the top of the bag, so it wouldn’t roll over.  The shoulder strap is 8 stitches wide in garter stitch, and I sewed this onto the top outside edge of the bag and started as 47″ long.

To assemble the bag, I sewed the handle onto the sides of the bag, overlapping the pieces by about an inch.  I used a whip stitch to close the bottom of the bag from the inside.

Before felting, the bag was 21″ wide by 22″ long, and the handle was 47″ long. It was comically enormous, as the boys modeled. K said, I should go into business making bags for giants. If I ever meet a giant, I’ll think about it.

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Thankfully, the finished bag is a much more comfortable 13.5″ wide by 11″ high, and the strap turned out about 30″ long.

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

As a finishing touch, I made a lining for the bag out of some vintage fabric, also from my mom’s stash.  I sewed a simple rectangular lining, with some pockets on one side.  I then folded down a hem along the top and hand-sewed it into the felted bag.Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes, lined in vintage fabric | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes, lined in vintage fabric | Jewels at Home

I’m excited to use my new one-of-a-kind bag with all its fun colors!

“Jewels”

Felted Wool Storage Basket

I’ve been admiring felted wool bags and projects for some time now, and I was finally inspired to take the leap into felting after unearthing old sweaters and knitting wool at my parents’ place.

My first project was this felted basket that I’m using for my knitting projects. Steve calls this “Knitting Inception,” because of the knitting within the knitting… you know… well, there’s a reason we were meant for each other, and it may be because I’m the only one who appreciates his humor.

Felted wool storage basket with instructions | Jewels at Home

I used this pattern as a foundation for my basket. I wanted to make my basket larger, so I experimented with the dimensions.

To knit the base of the basket, I cast on 35 stitches of 100% wool “Iceland Lopi.” From that, I knit a square in garter stitch (about 45 rows) that is 14″ by 14″, leaving the stitches on the needle.

Knitted and felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

Knitting the base of the basket.

The next step is to pick up stitches from the other three sides of the square. I found it easier to pick up the stitches on separate knitting needles (or in this case, chopsticks!) and then join them as I knit the first row of the sides of the basket.

Knitted and felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

Picking up the stitches to knit the sides of the basket.

To create the sides of the basket, I continued to knit a large circle in stocking stitch, switching colors every 2-6 rows. I knit 14″ of stocking stitch and then cast off.

Knitted and felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

Before felting

Knitted and felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

Before felting

Now the part I was waiting for: felting! There are lots of tips on felting available, and I found a good summary of felting techniques on the Lion Brand website. I found I needed very hot water (used the “sanitize” cycle on my machine, after “hot” only partially felted the basket), and I preferred to felt the items loose, rather than in a bag, because I found that they felted more evenly.

As for proportions, I’m sure these will vary greatly with each wool and machine, but as a guideline, the garter stitch shrank to about 60% the original dimensions and shrank evenly in length and width. The texture of the garter stitch was still noticeable after felting.  The stocking stitch shrank to 50% its original height – actually, even a little shorter because the top folded over. The width of the stocking stitch shrank to about 60% the original size.  Overall, the basket held it’s shape very well.

Pretty knitted and felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

The last step on the basket was to sew on handles. These are cut from an old scarf I found at my dad’s that was accidentally felted. Cutting into the felted material was the weirdest sensation – like defying a basic law of physics! I sewed on the handles using embroidery floss.

Instructions for knitting a pretty felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

Instructions for knitting a pretty felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

Instructions for knitting a pretty felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

Instructions for knitting a pretty felted wool storage basket | Jewels at Home

My sister asked if I’m pleased with my first felting project, and I am. It takes a little bit of letting go of expectations, because you can’t control the outcome that precisely, but I am happy with the result, and I’m using my new basket already!

I promise more felting ideas will be posted soon!

“Jewels”