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Flower Basket Bag

flower bag

Some of you may have recognized the stack of unfelted flowers I showed a few weeks ago as part of the Flower Basket Bag (Vogue Knitting Winter 2005, I think) that made the rounds on the knitting blogs earlier this year. To fit with Mom's being a busy "Red Hatter," I wanted to do the bag in coordinating colors of purple and red. Because the pattern is shown worked in black with a green trellis, I spent a lot of time deciding what combination to use. I had enough purple in my stash for the base of the bag (and it was the perfect bright purple shade), but I needed to order leaf and flower colors. I considered shades of green for the trellis, but it just seemed like it would have the wrong "feel" to it (lime and purple). I also toyed with the idea of a red trellis, but that, too, didn't thrill me. The light purple for the trellis was sort of a last-minute decision, but I think it was the perfect choice. I love the combination, and it sets off the red and fucshia flowers really well.

This was a fun knit, but I do have to say the trellis pattern gave me some fits to start. When you hit the first decrease, there is no information about how each line of the trellis pattern has to be altered. Determining where I was as I began each row took me some time, and I quickly realized I needed to write down the "new" beginning of each row so that I had a record of how I had to start each (since the bag decreases steadily down). Boy was I glad I'd taken time to make those notes. When I began the second side, later, the knitting was a relative breeze because I'd already figured out what I needed to do. I just had to refer to my notes as I began each row, and things were smooth sailing.

It does take a while to make all those leaves, and all those flowers. If you decide to make this bag, be forewarned! And, when I felted mine, my flowers ALL FELL APART. It was really disconcerting. I was able to flip them around and neaten them up, but I was really upset when I first pulled them out and saw that they had not held their shape at all even though I'd carefully seamed them up before felting. I ended up using a few less flowers and many less leaves than the pattern calls for. (I made them all, they just didn't really fit.) The final assembly of the bag is also tedious. It's tough to sew those flowers and leaves in place, but the end result was totally worth it.

I think the bag turned out beautifully. Matthew deemed it "Adorable." And Mom opened it last night and was really tickled, I think.

The Felted Bags

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As I mentioned on Sunday, I felted the green novelty bag over the weekend. Then, Monday, I finished up and felted the red novelty bag. The pre-felting moment is always exciting. Post-felting is sometimes a letdown. In this case, the bags turned out really cool. But neither felted as much as I expected.

The purple bag I saw in the store which made me want to buy the pattern and make these bags for the school auction was a small bag . My finished green bag is small but it's wider than I expected. When I was making it, I was worried about how small the dimensions say it ends up being post-felting, so for the red one, I made the next larger size. It is a good size, but it's much larger than I expected.

It seems to me that my felted items always end up shorter and wider than I expect. The knitted piece seems to be knit to allow more shrinkage in width and less in height, and I always get the opposite.

(Not that I've made a ton of felted items. I haven't. But the few I've done have shown an identifiable trend.)

While sizing puzzles and often frustrates me, handles may be the bane of the felting process for me. They invariably don't felt enough, or felt unevenly so that parts are skinny and parts or not, and they tend to end up longer than I expect. Pre-felting, I always worry that they'll be too short, and they seem to somehow grow in the felting process.

In this case, the green ones are very long; the red ones did okay.

I think part of the issue with the sizing discrepancies for these particular bags is the presence of the novelty yarns. After all, those yarns aren't going to felt, so the size of the bag can only change so much. At least that's my theory.

The red bag did do one really odd and unexpected thing... I used chenille with the wool throughout the bag. So, I'd do one chunk of a more overt novelty yarn and the wool and then add a section of chenille and wool. In felting, the chenille got loopy. There are places where there are rubber band sized loops of chenille hanging off the bag now. I'm going to go through and trim them. It's just odd that it happened.

(Then again, my Touch Me scarf has so many loops now that it looks too bad to even wear.)

I still have buttons to sew on these and i-cords to make and attach, but here they are.

bag
bag
(Bag before felting.)

bag

(Bag after felting.)


Pretty cute, don't you think?

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