Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's in the bag

When a friend and I were at Klose Knits in Urbana the other day, we saw Brigette had some felted bags for sale that were made from old wool sweaters. They were so cute but I had to ask myself, how hard could that be. I hadn’t actually thought I would do it until I drove by a Salvation Army store and, on a whim, thought, “Why not!”

I found 2 sweaters that I thought could work – a whole $3 each – and brought them home. I threw the 2 of them into the washer with some hot water and soap (one of them was rather nasty dirty) and let the washer, water and soap do their thing. About 15 minutes later I ended up with 2 nicely felted woolen sweaters – much cleaner as well, might I add.

Last night I got the bug so went to town with the old scissors and here’s what I came up with. The great thing is that the sides are already sewn together – no seaming there. I just need to stitch up the bottom, hem the flap, matress stitch the raw edges and figure out the strap. All I did for the flap is fold the extra part from the front part of the sweater to the inside as a lining and then bring the back part over for the front flap. For the strap, I have the sleeve material and I may try to do something with that, although that will take considerably more seaming. With the way the fair isle is worked, however, I think I would still have a good flow of the pattern if I do use those pieces. The other possibility would be to buy a ready made strap. Honestly, I can’t remember now what the others looked like. Anyway, here’s my $3 felted fair isle bag!

Mine won't be nearly so well-finished as the ones in the shop but, I like to try almost anything once!

How fun and easy is that!

By the way, there's no point of reference for size but it comes out as a messenger bag sort of size. If you want to try this remember the felting rule of thumb (it may only be my thumb but it has worked for me): a knitted item will tend to felt about 5-10% width-wise and about 30% lengthwise. In other words, don't expect the width of the bag to be that much less than the original sweater. If you want it smaller, just cut the side seams and sew around the both sides and the bottom.

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