Saturday, 2 February 2008

B Is For Bag

This is NOT the bag for the Australian Knitters group’s Bag Swap (on Ravelry).

But as I hadn’t knitted a bag before, I thought I should at least try one before choosing a pattern for the swap. Neither the colours nor the style are what I think my swapee would like (but I could be wrong)

I started this on Boxing Day and finished on 3rd Jan.

This IS my first ever bit of (deliberate) felting.

The yarn is Cleckheaton Vintage Hues.

The base was knitted in the round on circular needles; I used two circs when the centre diameter was small. An increase of 8 stitches every second row makes a flat circular base.

I made a welt of three rows of reverse stocking stitch, for the turn for the side.

I then knitted the side, and the second-last row has eyelets. I threaded a non-felting nylon cord through the eyelets before felting, to preserve the holes.
The unfelted diameter was 27 cm (10.5 inches) before felting, and 22 cm (8.5 inches) after felting. The height was 18 cm (7 inches) and shrank to 11.5 cm (4.25 inches).

I gave the bag a very light rinse before felting, checking for colour run. It didn’t seem too bad – a slight red tinge in the water. I have a front-loader washing machine, so it really was a case of "chuck it in and hope for the best”. I was pleased with how it felted.

I popped it on the open-mouth end of a bucket to dry it.

While it was drying, I knit the top part longways like a scarf.

I was going to pick up stitches and knit upwards, but decided against that. The felted part was a bit heavy and bulky, especially for the hot weather we've been having.

It is kind of like a sampler; I was experimenting with different stitch patterns and tried to make the panel lengths match the colour changes. I only had to undo one panel to get the colour right, and one other because I didn’t like how the stitches looked.

I joined the "scarf" with a three needle bind-off, seam to the back. Then I sewed the top to the felted side. The finished height of the bag is 25.5 cm (10 inches)

I didn’t felt the top part. I wanted it to stay soft and flexible for ease of opening. Both edges had a row (column) of eyelets. One row was to make it easier to sew the top to the bottom, the other became the casing for the drawstring cords.

Each drawstring cord has two wooden beads – different colours on each cord. These make it easy to close, and easier to open. Instead of having to push or pull apart the top to open it, a gentle pull on the beads will loosen the top enough for an easy opening. A pull on the opposite beads will close it again.

One thing I didn’t take into account was the height or width needed for stowing straight needles. You see, I usually use circs, even when doing straight knitting. Doh. Currently a pair of straights is poking out the top – dangerous! The bag is big enough for one project, because I usually knit smaller items, or part of a jumper project.

The design of the bag is my own, although I’m sure you knitters out there will see similarities with other bags out there. I thought it looked a bit like a circus tent, but Mr M called it a yurt as soon as he saw it, so Yurt Bag it is!


2paw said...

Oh that is just fantastic!! I love your bag!! I agree that it needs to be taller, unless you are using it as a secret weapon!!!

Marg B said...

Love the colours and the idea of knitting a soft top. My first felted bag also ended up a bit on the short side; I didn't appreciate that it would shrink far more in height than width.

Vicki Knitorious said...

Love it. What a great bag!

PA Fiber Artist said...

Hi Susie,

I love your Yurt Bag - it is very clever. You are a great knitter!
Check out my blog and etsy store too. and

Best regards,

Sonia said...

I love your bag, what a great idea! I love the fact that part of it is felted and unfelted; form follows function.