Monday, April 25, 2005

Pleased as punch

I'm so happy...thrilled, actually, to have finally finished the felted bag I've had in the works for a while. I'd grown so weary of working on the monotonous strap, I'd almost given up on the idea of ever having this done.

This project is one I found in the book, Simple Knits, many weeks ago. I loved the design and colors. The yarn specified in the pattern was Fiesta Kokopelli, which I haven't ever seen in any of my LYS. I checked online to see what the yarn looked like, as well as the cost. When I found it was nearly $20 per skein, I decided that Lamb's Pride could be a nice substitute.

But just before I settled on that decision, one of my knitting cohorts, Gretchen, found it online at Knit Picks. The only color they had was the exact color I needed (Turquoise Trail)--AND, it was on sale for about the price of Lamb's Pride. Decision made! I ordered the yarn then and there, and was not disappointed. Isn't it lovely?

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This yarn is very fuzzy, as it's 60 percent mohair! I could tell as I was knitting it that it would felt very well, mostly because it was almost impossible to rip back. I'm not sure I could ever wear it as a garment, but for felting purposes, it's perfect.

The bag itself was very straightforward to knit, and didn't take too long. I was a little slowed down by the slipping of stitches on the corners on every other row. I had a hard time remembering whether I was on a slip or a knit row, so I had to stop for corrections fairly often. What I learned--store away for future reference!--is that it made not ONE bit of difference once felted. I had supposed it would give the bag some structure on the sides, but I didn't see evidence of that when it came out of the wash.

Anyway, here's the droopy bag before its bath.

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And here is my sophisticated blocking tool at work. (O.K., I actually photographed this after the bag was done...but you get the idea.)

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At this point, I'm excited...feeling as if I'm almost done, ready to carry the bag. After all, the only thing left was to knit the strap, right?

Yikes. This was the most boring piece of knitting I've ever encountered. I actually like the finished product, but knitting more than 70 inches of this became torture for me. You have the option to felt, or not felt, the strap. I opted for the non-felted version, so as to have a contrast with the bag, and to showcase the braid-like pattern.

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And anyway, if you were to felt this...there would be another 20 inches or more to knit first!

I have to tell you, at one point I made the mistake of taking the stitches off the needles, and could never get going again in the right direction. For this strap, you cast on seven stitches, knit four, bring the yarn forward, then slip three. Turn your work, repeat a million times, and you're done.

Well, I split a stitch at one point, decided to rip back, and could never get it right again. I finally left that section on some scrap yarn, started a new section, and grafted them together at the end. The grafted section doesn't look the best, since I didn't know how to graft "in pattern."

But at least it's done! And here it is, ready for action.

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Was it worth it? I think so. But don't ask me to make one again any time soon.


Rossana said...

I really like your felted bag! So pretty!

ttbookjunkie said...

Oh it came out so nice, I love the size!


Holly said...

Fabulous bag. I love the colors. Way to hang in there for the boring parts!

goodkarma said...

I *love* that turquoise color. And I agree, the non-felted braidiness of the strap is a beautiful contrast.

Vicki said...

It's perfect! I love the nice big size and the strap looks great. I would have felted it for uniformity, but I love the combo of it and the bag. Good stuff! :)

lcord said...

I love it, and the turquoise is great!

zibibbo said...

Bellissima! Great bag! Lovely colors!

PlazaJen said...

I love it! It's very snazzy. And the cord is really cool, even though it sucked to knit it. Great color, too. I feel a need for a quick felting gratification project coming on.... ;)

maryse said...

that turned out really nicely. i love the colors.

amy said...

ever since you posted about this bag awhile back i have been awaiting the fo! yeah! it is awesome. the color combination is great. i also really love the shape. i think the handle is the same as i had to do on the basket i recently made. double i-cord - yuck. thanks for sharing, it is really great!

amanda said...

i love love love it! it came out well...isn't that the pattern you found from the library book? it really is the perfect size.

Carole said...

Awesome bag, Leslie. Love the color combo. So, what's next?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Love the color, and the handle!

Anonymous said...

Bummer I got this book from the library and decided not to make the bag...Cuz like I need another felted to the library! I love it. I have crocheted the handles on previous bags because I can not stand to do the stupid I-cord! Great bag!!

Pamela said...

Your bag is great! The colors are fabulous. Looks like a great bag to travel with.

laura said...

That bag is so gorgeous! Love the colors! I'm just about to felt a knitting bag for myself. I hope it looks half as good as yours. Can't wait!

General Ginger said...

I love it! It is nice and roomy and the colors are delicious. Great job! I've been on a crazy felting kick myself lately and I can't seem to stop myself from making more and more bags.