About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Freebie Pattern: Plaid + Felt = Bag

Since I've been all 'bout the plaid, I've decided to share this pattern for a simple plaid-effect felted bag which was a class I taught at Knitche in Downers Grove, Illinois.  The bag uses self-striping yarn to create horizontal stripes and the surface crochet technique to create the vertical stripes.  Enjoy!

Plaid + Felt = Bag

Noro Kureyon (MC), 100m/50g, (color #236 shown), or other worsted weight, feltable, self-striping yarn, two balls
Cascade 220 (CC), 100gr/ 220yds, (color #2410 shown), or other worsted weight, solid-colored, feltable yarn, one ball
24” circular needle, U.S. size 10/6 mm
Crochet hook, size J/6 mm
4 stitch markers (3 the same, one different), tapestry needle, magnetic bag closure

SIZES (approximate)

Alternate color way
bag: 12” across by 3¼” deep by 10½” high
strap:  2” wide by 24” long
closure w/ I-cord: 2 ¾” wide by 6½” long 

bag:  11” across by 3” deep by 8” high
strap:  1½” wide by 18” long
closure w/ I-cord:  2¼” wide by  5½” long
Approximately 16 sts and x 24 rows over 10 cm/4 in

Bag Bottom
With CC, cast on 50 sts.  Work in garter stitch (knit every row) for 16 ridges or 32 rows.  Pick up sts around garter bottom:  Change to MC.  Knit one row, placing a marker before last stitch.  Continuing on to adjacent short side, pick up and knit 15 sts.  Place marker and then turn and pick up and knit 50 sts along long side, placing a marker before picking up last st.   Pick up and knit 15 sts along remaining short side – 130 sts total.  Place the different marker at end of row to indicate the beginning of the round. 

Bag Body
With MC, join to work in the round and begin pattern stitch:

Rounds 1 – 5: With MC, * p1, k4, p1, k5; rep from * to 5 sts before next marker ending with p1, k4. Repeat 3 more times, one for each side of bag.  (The short sides will only have one repeat of pattern.)
Round 6: As in Rows 1 – 5, only using CC. 

Repeat Rounds 1 – 6 until 9 full repeats have been worked, and then work one more repeat ending with Row 5.  Change to CC and knit one row, keeping only the 1 st after markers in purl.  Continuing to keep the 1 st after the markers in purl, purl one row and then knit one row.   Bind off all sts in purl.  Weave in ends.

Applied Crochet Chain (see sidebar for link to a photo tutorial of this technique)
Note:  the applied crochet chain stitch is worked into all the columns of purl sts, except for the four corners of the bag.  With CC, make a slipknot, leaving about a 5” tail.  Work crochet chain stitch as follows: with RS facing, insert crochet hook through the fabric of the bag into the center of a purl column just above bag bottom.  With other hand and working yarn inside bag, place the slip knot on hook and pull through to RS.  *Advance hook over next purl bump in vertical column and insert through bag.  Wrap yarn around hook and pull through to RS.  Pull new loop through old loop on hook.  Repeat from * until top of bag is reached.  Then break yarn and pull through remaining loop.
Note:  As you work, the yarn ends from previously completed crochet chains may tangle in your working yarn.  If this happens, you should stop and weave in all ends before continuing.

Bag Handles (make 2)
With CC, cast on 11 sts.  *K8, bring yarn forward between the two needles, slip the last 3 sts; repeat from * until piece measures 24”.  Bind off. 

Bag Flap with I-cord Edging (make 1)
With MC, cast on 8 sts.  Knit every row until piece measures 6”.  With CC, cast on 3 sts.  *K2, ssk, slip 3 sts back to left hand needle; repeat from * to last st.  Work corner: K3, slip 3 sts back to left needle, k2, ssk, slip 3 sts back to left needle, k3.  Turn piece and with MC pick up 1 st for every ridge along side.  Slip picked up sts back to left needle and continue with I-cord edging, including turning corner.  Turn and with MC pick up 8 sts along short end.  Slip picked up sts back to left needle and continue with I-cord edging, including turning corner.  Turn and pick up 1 st for every ridge along last side and then continue with I-cord edging.  When you reach cast on edge of I-cord, graft the last sts to the cast on sts.  Closure backing:  With CC, cast on 8 sts.  Work in st st for 2”.  Bind off.  Weave in all ends.

Note:  all pieces (bag, handles, flap) are felted separately and then sew together after drying.
The felting process interlocks the wool fibers so that the fabric is thicker and less elastic.  Put the pieces in a lingerie bag or pillow case and close it (use safety pins on pillowcase).  Place the bag in the washing machine with a load of washable, lint-free, heavy-weight items to increase agitation.  Well-laundered jeans are ideal.   Try adding a pair of sneakers or tennis balls to the felting load to increase the agitation.   Since the plaid bag has color contrast, you may want to add a dye magnet sheet to prevent bleeding.  Set the machine for hottest water, cold rinse.  (The shock of the difference in water temperatures also promotes felting.)  Use a little bit of your normal detergent, but no bleach or fabric softener.  Check your bag frequently for signs of shrinkage, and then more frequently as it begins to felt.  Your bag is finished felting when it has reached the final dimensions, or you are happy with its size and appearance. 

Your bag’s shape may distort in the felting process.  Pull it back into shape and stuff with plastic bags or set it over a square object of the right size to set while drying.  Shape flap by folding in half.  Allow all pieces to dry completely.


Sew handles to inside of bag.  Attach one side of magnetic closure to backing piece and sew the piece to one end of reverse side of flap.  Sew the other end of flap to bag.  Position other half of closure on bag and attach.  

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