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Monday, October 11, 2010

Knitted "Felted" Tote

Way back in March I started knitting this tote bag. Well, after making small dents in it over the past few months, I sucked it up the last 2 weeks and got all the parts knit up. I even bought nice bamboo handles for it:

Fig. 1: All the parts knitted, ready to be felted.

As the caption for Figure 1 says, all I had to do was felt the pieces, then sew them together. One felts a piece by putting it through a hot cycle in a washing machine. This causes the stitches to blend together and the piece to shrink.

Usually a top loading washing machine is recommended, but I have a front loader. So, I Googled how to felt in a front loader, followed the directions, and after four permutations, nothing was happening to my bag!

After posting my mishaps on Facebook and Raverly, asking advice from my knitter friends, I figured out that I had used the wrong type of yarn. Apparently acrylic yarn can't be felted - one is supposed to use, you know, real wool. Duh.

Well, I certainly wasn't going to let almost 8 months of work go down the drain. So, I decided to knit up the bag as-is, but with knitted handles (I figured I would save the nice bamboo handles for when I totally don't screw up a project). Figure 2 below shows the final product - not bad, I suppose. It is cute, but it's not very sturdy. So, I will have to figure out what I can tote around in my tote bag that's not too heavy.

Fig. 2: The "finished" product (or as finished as it will ever be).

Next project: a baby hat for Baby G, using this pattern as recommended by Wool Free and Lovin' Knit!