Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pattern: Felted Social Bags

I was putting together my outfit for a recent social event (and if you know me, you'll know how often THAT happens) when I had this idea. Or actually, I had: (1) smoke-blue wool left over from Lydia's socks which tied in nicely to the colors I was wearing; (2) blue ribbon yarn called "sari" which was not actual sari yarn but was left over from my experiment with knitted I-cord necklaces; and (3) a few yards some rather busy silver-plated chain bought in bulk, which I'd decided was not going to work with a certain pendant after all. That, combined with the number of mitred triangle shawls I've done over the last few years, got me started, and the end result was the little purse shown at the top right of the photo.

I wore the purse and liked it, mostly. However, I still think it needs a little magnetic closure or hook or something for when it somehow gets turned upside down. (Don't ask me how. I don't know how. But somehow, this happens to all my purses on a regular basis.) And Kate suggested that I should try making one in a shorter profile, more wide than square, for the teenie-bopper crowd at this summer's market . . . which is how I ended up with the second little blue bag (on the left). I have a bronze-colored chain for that one.

Then I started thinking about all those fancy washcloth patterns I've collected, and I started playing. I pulled out a remnant of Colinette ribbon and some olive-green wool, made a flap from half of a round washcloth pattern, and ended up with the (so far unfelted) bag you see at the bottom. I love how two of the points from the flap line up perfectly with the corners of the bag. I'm thinking bronze chain again.

There's no telling where this will lead . . . .

Blue Mitred-Flap Bag

Size 9 (or so) needles
90 yards or so of bulky wool (NOT superwash!)
90 yards or so of novelty yarn (optional)
2 lanyard clips
Approximately 30" of chain
1 marker

Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1: increase 1 stitch in each of first two stitches, place marker, knit to end.
Row 2: increase 1 stitch in each of first two stitches, knit to end.
Row 3: knit 1, increase 1 stitch in next stitch, knit to last stitch before marker, increase 1 stitch, slide marker, knit to end.

Repeat Row 3 until you have 40 stitches on your needle. Optional: hold novelty yarn with wool and knit as 1 for every other pair of rows. i.e., novelty yarn is included for rows 1 & 2, hangs loose for 3 & 4, included for rows 5 & 6, etc.

Bind off all stitches except last stitch. Using last live loop as first loop of next row, pick up approximately 20 stitches across the base of your triangle.

Knit in stockinette stitch for approximately 18" or to your preferred length, keeping in mind that your work will shrink during the felting process. Bind off, spacing 4 "knit 2 together" stitches across the bound-off edge to reduce stretching.

Fold the stockinette portion of your work in half and stitch edges with wool yarn. Weave in ends, paying special attention to secure the novelty yarn. Wash with hot water, cold rinse in your washing machine with a few pairs of jeans. Lay flat and shape to dry.

Trim any remaining ends of wool yarn. Add magnetic closure if desired.
Add lanyard clips to ends of your chain "strap" and then clip through the sewn edges on the inside of your bag. Enjoy!

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