(Thanks to Bella for the pun…)
Making felt is a dark and mysterious art. Turning raw fleece into fabric involves a lot of water, soap and elbow grease. But felting knitting is easy. I’ve even done it inadvertently a number of times by putting woolly jumpers in a hot wash by accident.
When you’re felting on purpose, you knit something in pure wool on big needles, then send it for a trip through the washing machine. I love it, because not only does felted fabric have a lovely thick texture, but it also covers up a multitude of minor mistakes.
On my trip to Toronto I picked up a couple of skeins of Lamb’s Pride in Romni Wool, including some lovely pink stuff called “Strawberry Smoothie” (I think – I’ve lost the ball band). So I decided to turn it into a bag for my little niece Chloe.
The bag itself is very simple. So simple, in fact, I took absolutely no pattern notes at all. So the following pattern may be a bit sketchy.
Cast on 100st on a big circular needle (errrm 6mm?), knit about 8 rows back and forth (ie garter stitch), then join in the round and knit and knit and knit (ie stocking stitch).
I have no idea how many rows I did (150?) but I carried on until it looked big enough and roughly bag-shaped. Then I turned it inside out, did a three-needle bind off to seal it up, sewed up the garter stitch rows at the top and bunged it in a very hot wash.
On its own it looked a bit plain, so I thought I’d try some needle felting on it. The principle of the thing is this: get some felted knitting, put some fleece on it, get a very sharp barbed needle and stab the hell out of it. I found this handy little tutorial on Youtube, which was helpful.
Here are some action shots:
And the finished artwork:
I think I need a thicker foam block underneath. I was using a (new) carwashing sponge, and bits of yellow sponge kept getting incorporated into the felting. I was tempted to put some more flowers on, but figured I’d only make it look cluttered.
After two attemps at sewing the lovely sparkly handles on (first time I did it the wrong way round – doh!) and a bit of vandalism with a steam iron, here is the finished bag. Hope she likes it!
The purple splodges are a trick o’the light. Perfect for a little girl to put her toys in, I think. I hope it will be a hit at daycare!