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Knitting to felt

My maiden voyage into the world of knitting began last autumn with 5 introductory classes. I started with scarves then turned to a tiny baby cap when my niece had her first child. Then with nimble fingers, a willing heart and a lot of aplomb, I moved on to sweaters with a lovely white cotton yarn that was intended for a sleeveless knitted-tee. Oh, but that garment was not to be . . . after umpteen attempts I set it aside for another day.

My next project:
I've been interested in felting for quite a long while but since I didn't knit . . . well . . . knitting is necessary to the felting process. So, once I got some simple stitches under my belt -- or my fingers ......

. . . in late winter, I bought a Berroco pattern booklet of beautiful purses and some richly colored yarn and began knitting a wool purse to felt.

The knitting was accomplished without any angst at all. Once the knitting is complete the finished bag is machine laundered in the hottest water you can muster. Agitation is important to the process so I put the shoes I wear to Curves in with the bag.

At this juncture, I admit to a certain trepidation at putting my purse in the machine but ....... I did it. The first go-round in the washer didn't quite do the job but the second wash worked like magic. The felting process created an entirely new fabric, deep and thick and dense; the stitches had all disappeared. The spin cycle took most of the water so all it needed was air drying and a little (well, a lot) of attention was needed to preserve the desired shape.

I went shopping for lining fabric one evening with my friend Vary. This thick home-dec fabric was love-at-first-sight. At $24 a yard it sounded price-y but with a 50% off sale and a quarter yard@ 60 inches to line the bag, it was perfection.

The completed purse is 9 inches deep and 32 inches in circumference. I like the way the two sides naturally bend in towards the center. There is a long brown felted cord that will become handles.
It is to be a birthday present for my daughter.


Celeste Maia said...

What a lovely birthday present for your daughter, I am sure she will love it. The color combination you put together is great, the mustard yellow with the deep purple. I was also very interested in the process to "felt" your knitting. It made me realize that I have inadvertently "felted" a sweater which was not supposed to be thrown into the washing machine. It came out thick like your bag, and shrunk to fit a 5 year old...

Pat said...

Ha! Even mistakes can have a re-birth. There is a trend to purposely felt woolens and then make purses and bags. I have even seen several sweaters cut apart and artistically re-configured into new sweaters. It intrigues me.....its on my list of things to do.....

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