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Dianne

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Felted Tote Bag

 After the knitting is finished this bag is thoroughly felted by a simple washing then it is stretched to dry.  This perfect bag is washable and no lining is required!

Materials

2 Balls 100% wool (185yds/170m per 100grms)
1 Ball yarn for handles
Several legths cord to embelish
Size 6.5mm (10.5 us) needles or size to obtain guage
Felting needle

Finished measurements

Unfelted: 59''x 19''
Felted: 39'' x 13''

Gauge:
15 sts and 20 rows over 4'' (10cm) in Stocking stitch

Bag

Cast on 75 stitches and work st st for 300 rows or 60''
Cast off loosely.
Fold knitting in half and sew seams.

Felting the Bag

Note: weave in any loosed ends before felting.
 Set washing machine to hot on a low water, high agitation cycle (80-90)C and use a little detergent.
The felting process can take anywhere from four to twenty minutes. Check frequently, if cycle is complete and the piece isn't felted to your satisfaction reset the machine and start again.
 Rinse under cool running water.
Squeeze out excess water by rolling the piece in a terry cloth towel.
Arrange into shape and pin to a dry towel and leave to dry.

Dry felting, creating designs with a felting needle

The first thing to note about a felting needle is that it is long, barbed and extremely sharp. Therefore care needs to be taken when working to avoid injury. The process of holding and using a felting needle is very different to using a sewing needle. The felting needle punches through the fabric from top to bottom.  Whether working with a single needle or a needle felt tool, the principle is the same and that is to push or punch the needle through layers of fiber or fabric. This means that it is important to do this on a surface which the needle can sink into.
With a marker or chalk draw whatever design you want on the bag.
Place a foam block or a felting block (looks like upside down yard sweeping brush) inside the bag.
Being careful not to jab your fingers place the yarn along the drawn shape then jab with the felting needle to secure to the bag.
Holding the felting needle or tool in the hand, punch the needle through the layers of fabric and fibers. Work on a small area at a time, until the layers start to mesh and then move onto the next area. Continue needle felting until all shapes have been filled and firmly compacted.
Fold over 4'' at top of bag.
 Monks Cord straps
Sraps are made by over twisting yarn then folding it in half, this allows the opposite twist to lock strands of yarn together making a stable simple braid.
Make 2 as follows:
Cut 6 legths of yarn 5rds (60'') long, holding each of thecut ends twist the yarn (this maybe easier with another person helping) after twisting find the centre point and putting the cut ends together fold in half. Don't let go of the ends! The yarn will seem to untwist a little but will settle into a cord. 
Tie a knot in the cut ends.
Sew the ends securely in place onto the bag.

Tote it around wherever you go!

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