Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Felted Bags, Leftovers and Distractions

Since my friend Kim at Knitch sucked me back into working with yarn, I’ve been creating many crocheted and felted projects. In the past I’ve shown you some of the bowls and other home décor pieces. However, as someone with no less than half a dozen projects going at once, I had a real need for project bags. The goal was to keep everything organized in one place, and ready to grab when I needed an on-the-go project. I also had a basket full of yarn left over from other projects – not enough to make anything in any one color, but all similar fiber content and weight.

The perfect synthesis of wet felting, the experience making fabric project bags for sale, and leftovers led me to experiment with crocheted and felted project bags. The first piece was designed "on the fly" while I was traveling home to visit family last fall. I didn’t really have a project in mind, so I threw all my half balls of left over yarn, a few crochet hooks and a pair of embroidery scissors into my carry-on bag. Yes – we can carry scissors on airplanes now as long as they aren’t more than 4 inches long.

The result was this striped bag which was crocheted with no seams. Because I was feeling a bit whimsical, I made the strap a möbius strip. Remember those from school? If not, take a strip of paper and join the ends in a loop after giving one end a half-twist so it joins with the other upside-down. Now try to decide which edge is up and which is down. Fun right? The möbius strip has many applications in crochet and knitting, especially for scarves and shrugs. As a purse strap, it’s a bit impractical, because the strap can’t hang flat on your shoulder – it has a half-twist in it. Still, it was fun to play with in the design.

I’ve also, been experimenting with incorporating hardware into some of the designs – as with this grey bag. I used D-rings to attach the straps to the bag after felting – rather than integrating them into the crocheted design. This bag is big and roomy, and I find myself carrying it as a handbag more than a project bag. It works will with all those black clothes I have to wear to hide the black dog hair!

Magnetic snap closures and metal purse feet are also great additions. The snaps and the feet (these are from the Clover Bag's & Tote's accessories line), are very easy to install. 

The back of the snap, which will show on the front of the flap, can easily be covered by a decorative button, as I have done with this bag.

Crochet hooks have been accumulating around the house at an alarming rate – I now have all but the very largest sizes (N, O, P, Q & S which corresponds to 10.00, 12, 15, 16 and 19 mm respectively). 

Again trying to use up small bits of leftover yarn I started creating some felted hook cases. Here are a couple that hold my aluminum hooks sizes B-K, and the bamboo hooks up to size M (9 mm). I still need a good case for the tiny steel hooks (.9 mm up to 2.55). I think those are going to have to go in something made of fabric though. Otherwise they would always be poking through and tangling up in the felt.

I’m making progress documenting the patterns for all of these and hope to have them in the shop by early next week. My real problem is that a friend has been hosting a “woodworking for ladies” class. It’s hard to stay focused on stitchery when I can be in the shop working on something like this. None of these are mine, but I hope to finish up two boxes tonight, so will have to post some pictures soon. Naturally one of my boxes features scissors and the other one is all about Lady.

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