Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Felted Hand Bags

Here’s some more background on me:  My grandmother taught me to crochet one summer when I was about 10 years old.  It was completely foreign to me as my mother never knitted/crocheted (she was more of seamstress).  As a result, I was completely frustrated by it.  I remember going into my grandmother’s guest room, slamming the door and did not come out until I mastered my task.  I did come out after some time, and of course, my face was blotchy from the crying but I was triumphant!

Fast-forward 25 years and one weekend while Olive and I were in Williamsburg, Virginia for a quilt faire, we went looking for a wine shop and next door was a “local yarn shop.”  (Odd how yarn shops are near wine shops …)  Olive said she could teach me.  Of course I was thinking about my experience of crocheting with my grandmother and I never did tell Olive until this blog! I bought some yarn to make a scarf and Sally Melville’s book The Knitting Experience Book 1: The Knit Stitch.  Because my grandmother taught me to crochet all those years ago, I felt comfortable carrying the working yarn through my left hand; and as a result, I am continental knitter. 

Again, fast-forward through several knitted scarves and advice from Olive and Christina (who teaches classes at Nine Rubies) to work on my tension and finally I am ready for my first non-scarf project.  Christina suggested, “felted knitting.”

In enters Bev Beattie’s book, Knit ‘N Felt Bags.  Not knowing about Ravelry at this time, I did an Amazon book search and up popped this book.  Christina said felting was a good project to start with because of all knitting projects, it was the most forgiving towards mistakes.  Bev’s directions and advice are perfect!  She explains everything from what yarn to use, the needle size, mistakes in knitting – it’s all covered.

This blue bag (above) was my first introduction to circular needles and circular knitting.  I put down my knitting for the night and came back to it the next day.  I accidently reverse the spiral effect of circular knitting; it went in the opposite direction. Of course, it was towards the beginning.  Again, Bev’s advice was “don’t panic.” So I put it in the washing machine.  After it came out, you couldn’t see the mistake. 

Bev Beattie’s book explains simply the do’s and don’ts of felting.  I have followed her advice and I haven’t had a problem.  It has photos for every project.  She also has her own website for you to purchase felting yarn and at the back of the book she has suggestions for substitute yarns.  I have used her yarn, Brown Sheep and Cascade 220 worsted weights for felting – every time coming out beautifully. 
I dropped a stitch and didn’t notice it until it
after the bind off was completed.
The Bag was originally 30%-40% larger than
the finished size in the photo

Bev's website even sells hand bag handles
The Martini Knitter


Nanatucket knitter said...

The story about your grandmother teaching you to crochet is great!
That explains your drive when it comes to knitting - the research and
determination! And felting is a great way to start knitting.

Anonymous said...

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