Just a line (ha ha – geddit – line) about my newly published pattern in Knit Now Issue 30; my Line Dancers Bag:
I am a convert to felted bags; I never realised how useful they are, and I like the whole felting process as well – a bit of a mystery outcome always – what is it going to look like when it comes out of the machine? Like most people in the UK, I have a front loading washing machine, so the knitted piece is in there for the duration, and that’s always a bit of a leap into the unknown. I felted these items twice before I was satisfied with the look and dimensions.
I am a convert to felted bags; I never realised how useful they are, and I like the whole felting process as well – it’s a bit of a mystery outcome always – what is it going to look like when it comes out of the machine? Like most people in the UK, I have a front loading washing machine, so the knitted piece is in there for the duration, and that’s always a bit of a leap into the unknown. I felted these items twice before I was satisfied with the look and dimensions.
The thing to remember is that you are in control of the felting process, even if it doesn’t feel like that. A short, hot wash, and a little bit of soap is all that’s needed. If you are very worried about how things will turn out, try felting your swatch first. Measure it before you wash it, and again afterwards, so that you can work out how much your finished bag will alter in size.
If you are very dubious about using the machine, you can always try felting by hand – or foot! Run a shallow bath of hot water – not too hot for your skin – squirt in some liquid soap, get in and make like you are treading grapes. Hold on to something to be sure not to slip. you’ll see the felting process happening under your feet. Remember that the piece will get larger before it gets smaller; this happens because the wool fibres relax before the friction and heat cause them to shrink and felt. Just carry on until you are happy with the finished item, then give it a rinse, spin it in the washing machine or roll it in a towel, then leave it to dry naturally.
The other thing that’s good about felted bags is that any little unevenness in tension is lost in the felting process. That makes this bag an especially good one to try is you are new to stranded knitting.
The Jamieson and Smith 2 ply Jumper Weight is a great yarn for felting; it produces and thick, bouncy and sturdy fabric.
The bag shouldn’t stretch when it’s used to carry a laptop around in, because the handle is reinforced with running stitches before felting. The top edge is also reinforced with running stitches too, to stop it stretching when felted.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will also notice a little mobile phone cosy too; there is the male dancer on one side, and the female dancer on the other side. this takes just one ball of each colour of yarn, but you do need to remember to hold three ends of yarn together whilst knitting.
The pattern of the dancing figures, and the little leaf border is an old pattern that comes from the Faroe Islands. I love being able to keep these old patterns alive by using them in new ways.