Felted bag - can I cut it?

I just finished a felted bag - its beautiful but too deep. I made a swatch and should have realized it would not shrink as much in depth as the pattern indicated but didn’t adjust - I’ll learn. But now I am thinking about cutting it off, sewing across the bottom and squaring the corners using my sewing machine. I am pretty sure my machine can handle that thickness but will check with my swatch first - but I don’t want to ruin my bag. What do you think?

I think that would work. A woman I work with cut up an accidentally felted sweater and made it into a purse…

yes do it! it won’t unravel; the fibers are so layered together that nothing can undo it. I cut my swatches all the time. You might need to use a denim needle on your sewing machine.

I did it! And it worked beautifully. Now I have the bag I had envisioned. It probably won’t be as strong as it would have been - so I may sew a liner that will take some of the stress - but I hadn’t planned to carry books in it anyway - mostly yarn! Slicing into my knitting took some courage - thanks for helping me get up the nerve. I wouldn’t have been happy with the result had I not done it.

I’m trying to get the hang of this knitting thing a little better before I try a felted project, but am very excited to do so. I’d love to see a picture of your purse. :smiley:

Felting has been my newest frontier and I’m having a ton of fun with it. Because I live in an appartment building with one coin oporated washing machine, I’ve tried hand felting my stuff in the bathtub as well as a few experiments with the washer when I had a few things to felt that would be worth scrounging $1.75 in quarters.

My ultimate goal is a custom felted knitting bag that will be large enough for my 14" strait neeldes, has pockets and pockets and pockets for notions, is deep enough to hold the large print knitting books I’ve got, and that will hold all the other crap I carry around in my purse… sort of a combo knitting/messenger bag. (Since I have crazy commutes and what not, I usually carry a bunch of stuff with me where ever I go.)

To anyone who is waiting to try felting, I say why wait? Felting hides all sorts of funky things, and lets you practice knitting in the round, seaming, swatching, checking gage, weaving in ends, etc, and the final felted project will hide many sins.

Also, since you should usually be working with large needles, things knit up really quick so you have an instant gratification factor :slight_smile:

Simple felting project for beginners that uses many important skills to practice: Basic bag (No pattern really needed!)

Use large neeldes and 100%, not super-wash wool (I’m using size 15 needles and Cascade bulky weight yarn - very inexpensive and comes in lots of great colors)

Cast on a bunch of stitches onto circular needles - doesn’t matter how many as long as you get a finished tube that is reasonably sized… my tester bag I’m finishing up is just over a foot wide when laid flat. Join, and work in the round - stockenette is easy, just knit all stitches.

When you’ve got a tube that is somewhat taller than wide, since stockinete tends to felt more vertically than horizontally, BO. Seam the bottom shut by just doing a simple whip stitch, or whatever type of seaming you need to practice.

For a pocket, use the same color (or a color that will felt the same) and knit a rectangle based on a porportion of the bag… So, about this much of the front should be pocket. This is not an exact science at all. Sew on the front.

Knit a long strip a few inches wide (three inches? four?) for the handel. Sew on corners of the bag.

Toss in a mesh bag, or zippered pillow case and throw it in the washer. Add a small ammount of detergent, or wool wash - there are some great washes that don’t need to be rinsed that you LYS can point you to. Set your washer to a small, hot load and start. Check in 5 minutes, then every few minutes after that to see how it is going.

Pull out of the water (it is suggested that you shouldn’t let it go through a spin cycle) and squeeze the water out. Lay flat to dry.

VERY EASY. It could be scaled down and finished up in a day if you were determined.

Point being? Beginning knitters felt on! And who needs a pattern?


Can you sew pocket on before felting? I was afraid it would felt shut??? Just checking.


Yeah, you just want to separate the sides when you are checking on it in the wash. Just like with the bag itself… Also, it’s pretty pliable when it comes out. The tester bag I first made felted shut a bit at the corners, and I just stuck my fingers in them to pull the sides apart.

Not that I have ever felted before (but I decided just yesterday it is my next project!), but I was looking at a catalog today and there is a felted purse in there that has felted flowers on it. The description said that the flowers and leaves were knit separately in squares, felted, and then cut into the desired shapes…so I agree, that even though it would be scary, it can be done! The purse I am talking about is on page 20 of the patternworks catalog.



I love the idea of a circular patternless bag, but I think I would rather have one with a “bottom”. Is making a round bottom for the tube just way too complicated for a beginner?

I wanted one with a bottom too, so I picked up some stitches along the bottom and knit a narrow swath. As it got longer, I sewed it to the bottom’s edges to figure out how much longer it needed to be… I literally sewed as I went to figure out the “measurement”. Well, I sewed every few inches. Once it was long enough I just cast off and sewed that down too. I hadn’t been exact with my “measurement” and the last little bit of sewing had some puckering, but I just sort of evenly squidged it out and it disapeared in the felting.

I suppose it would be equally possible to knit a round bottom by knitting top down and then decreaseing sharply like for a tam… I’d have to pull out a pattern for a tam to figure out how to do that, though, which sort of defeats the paternless patern :slight_smile:

I’ve made and felted the bag I described, and I’ll show you all once I get some pictures… I took some before it felted, and I’ll get some now, complete with a crocchet hook “ruler” to show how much it shunk.

I am really curious to hear how much your bags shrink. Mine never shrink nearly as much as the patterns suggest. And seem to felt less vertically instead of more. Why would this be?

And I am going to try hand felting next time as I have a front load washer. So I would like to hear about hand felting experiences too.

My, I’d say mine shrunk nearly half… I felted it until the stitch pattern was almost fully obscured. However, the strap I knit up got narrower, but longer, which was unexpected, though I should have guessed so (the weight of the length vs. width pulled it longer, I think).

It seems, from the research I’ve done, that a great deal depends on the type of yarn you’re using, the color of yarn you’re using, and the shape and stitch pattern you knit. I don’t know if you were using the brand AND colors suggested in your patterns… That could make all the difference in the world.

Some yarns felt better or more rapidly than others. Also, lighter yarns that were bleached during the dyeing process tend to not felt as well, owing to the degredation of the fibers in the bleaching - so it’s particularly important to test-felt a swatch (even in the same brand yarn!!) with lighter colors. I have read that a brand of yarn that felts at this rate in dark purple will felt much slower in pale yellow (for example).

Also, it seems that st st felted more in one direction than the other (more length than width), but that’s mostly just my testing.

The shape certainly affectrs felting… Longer strips get pulled in various directions due to the weight of the strip being more in one direction than the other. I’ve noticed a tendency for certain height/width combinations having less felted corners, which I’m guessing also has to do with weight.

I’ve done as much hand felting as machine, because I don’t want to pay $1.75 every time I’ve got something else to test felt. It is… not as neat (as in tidy). I certainly wouldn’t reccomend it for larger projects. Trying to get each part equally rubbed/frictioned is very difficult, and pretty much every piece I’ve done has had some parts that just don’t want to felt well because I couln’t get a good grip on them. Also, it takes for ever. I was working in the bathtub, and the hunched over position, with the lip of the tub digging into my sternum for a while, sort of sucked. I used an old, relatively clean cutting board as a friction board to knead the fabric against, but it was large and sort of unweildly. And looks really funny in my bathroom (where it still resides, of course).

It was, however, REALLY NEAT to see things felting under my very fingers.

I’ve scored an old shool wash board, so I’m hoping that hand felting small projects/pieces will work better on that, and that maybe I can work in my kitchen sink where I’ll have better leverage, and where my back won’t be so badly abused :slight_smile:

I’d say it’s certainly worth trying hand felting, but I’d start with small pieces until you figure out what works and doesn’t work for you… And every book, artical, web-site etc that I’ve read re: hand felting has suggested not doing large pieces by hand. I can second that with my own experience.

I read Knit One, Felt Too at the library (again) yesterday. The author (whose name I can never remember) suggests placing your item in a mesh lingerie bag, to keep it from getting hung up on the agitator and stretched out, esp. straps. She gives sound theory for what happens during felting.

The strap was in a bag in the washer… though that was to protect the washer from the wool fuzz that would otherwise clog the moter. So who knows…