Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to Knit and Felt a Small Bag

A knitter of any experience level can use this free pattern to knit and felt this small bag. If you haven't felted before, it is so amazing. Before my first felting experience, I was horrified at thought of "ruining" beautiful wool in a bath of hot water. After taking the plunge and felting my first bag many moons ago, I now love the magic of turning knitted fabric into felt.

For this project, you will need 100g (3.5 oz.) of 100% wool yarn, four 5.5 mm (US 9) double pointed needles, 1 button and the usual suspects being scissors, a wool needle and stitch marker.

I used Patons Merino wool knitting with 2 strands throughout the project.

To begin, set up your work to be knit in the round on the double pointed needles. Using two strands of yarn, cast on 42 stitches dividing them evenly around the three needles using your stitch marker to mark the end of each round. I use a fancy key ring for my marker!

Knit in stocking stitch until you have a 7 inches (18 cm) tube.

Next row: *K2 tog. K 10*. Repeat from * to * to the end of the rnd. 38 sts.
Knit 3 more rnds.
Next row: K2 tog to the end of the rnd. 19 sts.
Knit 3 more rnds.
Next row: K2 tog to the end of the rnd. 10 sts.
Knit 1 row.
Next row: K2 tog to the end of the rnd. 5 sts.

Your work should now look like this.

Cut your yarn leaving enough length to thread it through the remaining stitches. Pull these stitches together and sewn in the end. You are now finished the body of the pouch!

You will now make the flap. With the right side of your work facing you and using 2 strands of yarn, pick up 18 stitches on the back of the pouch at the cast on edge. Make certain your stitches are centered.

Knit in stocking stitch for 4 inches (10 cm) ending with a purl row.

Now you are ready to shape the top of the flap.
Next row: K2 tog. Knit to last 2 sts. K2 tog.
Next row: P2 tog. Purl to last 2 sts. P2 tog.
Repeat these two rows until you have 2 sts remaining.

Use these two remaining stitches to make the button loop closure for the pouch. On these two stitches, knit 3 inches (7.25 cm).

Cast off . Cut your yarn leaving the end long enough to sew the loop into position as seen below.

Make I-cord for the strap of your bag using two of the double pointed needles. With two strands of yarn, cast on 2 sts. Do not turn your work. *Slide stitches to the other end of the needle. Pull yarn to the front of the stitches. Knit 2.* Repeat from * to * until the I-cord measures 48 inches (122 cm). This makes a shorter strap. If you want a longer one, keep sliding those stitches!

Here is the bag and I-cord ready to be felted!

To felt the bag, use the lowest water level and put the hottest water you can into your washer along with a small amount of laundry soap. Place the bag and the I-cord into an old pillowcase tied securely shut with a rubber band. Put the pillowcase and an old pair of jeans (for extra agitation of your wool) into the washer. I set the washer on the highest agitation and the longest cycle.

Check the progress of the felting periodically until the stitching has disappeared and is felted to your liking. I will reset the wash cycle back to the beginning before it goes to the rinse cycle, if my piece needs more time in the washer.

Once you remove your bag from the washer, it should be shaped and left to dry. I put a plastic cup inside mine while it dried to give it shape. I also stretched the length of the I-cord before leaving it to dry.

When dry, position the holes for your strap. Use a knitting needle to poke holes in the side of your bag for the I-cord to be threaded through. Then, choose a pretty button for your closure and enjoy your bag! Happy felting!


Twisted in Texas said...

Love this pattern. Thanks so much for posting it. I am going to make some for my three granddaughters.

Lisa said...

This is such a beautiful cute little bag! I love it. I wish I could knit, but my yarn breaks every time--my tension is way too tight. Maybe I'll try again.

S said...

Thank you for sharing this pattern - it is stunning.