After weeks of photoless whining and teasing, I can finally share Anne's Felted Bag with you. She knew I was her spoiler as she was the lone hostess for this swap , and it feels as though a lot of October has been devoted to this project. I had hoped to have it done so it would arrive in her hands on her birthday, but such is life, and lucky, the Bag Lady knows how these things go.
Firstly, I must apologize to my friend. The bag did look better when it left here, but the photo on Anne's blog just turns my stomach. Pout. I hope she knows I honestly wouldn't have sent her such a train wreck of a bag, and I hope her Bag Lady skills will allow her to restore it to something more akin to what left here. Obviously, my concerns about it still being damp within somewhere were well-founded.
We'll start at the end and work our way back. There's the finished product, which pleases me more than I thought it would. This is the Plymouth blah blah pattern, and let me be clear; I CANNOT recommend this pattern to anyone. Awful ain't the word. There are errors in the chart and no errata to be found, although I think I was able to figure out how to make the assorted cables mirror each other, within the rows and top to bottom.
The little pop of green at the top? Yeah, well, pictured on the pattern photo, but NOT written into the pattern, so I kinda' guessed, and made the green wider than I really wanted it, but it's all good. The straps? Um, yeah. I made them THREE times as long as the pattern called for. Who on earth does a 35 row strap on a felted bag?! Also, a bag this size really should be done in a bulky yarn or two strands of worsted, and I'll know better in the future, not that I'll do this pattern again. No way. I hope Anne finds it acceptable and can use it to store yarn in or something, but it's not even worth trying to modify for future use.
Yarn: Patons Wool. Six balls of dark grey, and two balls of bottle green, with the last ball of each barely getting used. I did have to buy an extra ball of the grey, as the pattern called for five, and I have this annoying habit of knitting VERY loosely for felted projects. Loved the way this felted up, with more heft than I would have predicted, but DANG this stuff sheds. In desperation, I did run it through the dryer on no heat for a few minutes, which helped tremendously. I also ran one of those shaver muh-bobs over it.
Needles: Knitpicks Options, in both metal and the sweet Harmonys. My knitting did tighten up some with the Harmonys, and I'm liking those very much. Size #10.5, 32 inch circs.
Pattern: Plymouth Celtic Felted Tote, #P635
New skills: You can't see it in the final product, but I will likely take the time (and it is laborious) to do an i-cord bind-off on all my felted bags in the future. Great little trick, that.
This is also my first cabled project, and I enjoyed cables, but not the way this pattern was written. The bottoms and tops of the diamonds were sloppy, and I don't know that I did anything wrong. (Really don't like this pattern, just in case you missed that.) I'm looking forward to doing a cabled headband and other cables very soon.
I also had to do an infinite amount of seaming. Each corner and each cable, inside and out, had to be drawn together to give it that little bit of texture. I like it, and had the bag not felted from 34"x 24" to 17" x 13" , I think it would have shown up a bit better.
The handles were a neat trick. Each one is two straps, with different yarn-over patterns, so that they easily weave together. The end result is beautiful, I think, and it makes a solid, double-thick handle for this still very large tote.
This monster was truly a labor of love, and I'm sorry to tell any future felted bag pals that I don't think you should count on a tote. I enjoy smaller bags a lot more. Mugsy was kinda' hoping it would be his new bed, and had it not felted better than expected, that was a serious possibility. Some orthopedic foam shoved in there with the top stitched shut, and he would have had labor-intensive dog bed.
Also, can anyone tell me why most of my bags have such a floppy, stretched-out top? We didn't tug on this one much at all, except to widen it at the center, where the cable drew in so much, but all of my felted bags have this ruffly top, to some degree.
The promised how big is it really shot. Folks, I'm 5'3" if that helps you wrap your mind around how big this was prior to felting.
Anners, I wish it had turned out more like the photo on the pattern, and I hope again you can restore it to what it looked like when it left here. Pout.