Sarah Edwards demonstrates how to knit then felt an ice cream sundae-inspired tote bag.
Thanks to Sarah Edwards of Chicago, IL for this project.
Materials and Tools:
size 13, 16-inch circular needles or double-pointed needles, if preferred
any 100% wool yarn that is 2-1/2 sts to the inch on #13 needles *
small amount of any eyelash yarn that has some nylon or polyester in it **
This example uses Rowan big wool (100g, 87 yards, each skein): color #27 dk brown (2 skeins) (YARN A) and color #18 beige (1 skein) (YARN B) and Crystal Palace Yarns Shag (YARN C) color 7207.
Note: Before you begin, it is wise to make a gauge swatch and then felt it to make sure that the yarn you choose will felt about the same and the bag will end up with the same dimensions. My bag’s dimensions are about 26" x 8-1/2" inches. The 12 sts by 12 rows swatch I knit measured 4-3/4" x 4-1/2". After I felted it, it was 4" x 2-3/4". Therefore, I did some math and figured out that in order to have 26 inches after felting for the bag width, then I needed to cast on about 80 stitches.
1. Measure 100 inches with Yarn A and make a slipknot.
2. Cast on 80 sts. (long tail cast on), place marker, and join.
3. Knit 2 rounds.
4. Add Yarn C, knit both A and C together for 1 round.
5. Drop Yarn C, and continue knitting with A until piece measure about 9 inches from the top (the true edge, not the rolled edge)--about 26 rows.
6. For next row, start counting from marker. *knit 19, knit 2 together* (3 times), knit 17--should have 76 sts.
7. Knit 2 rows.
8. Counting from marker, *knit 15, knit 2 together*(4 times), knit 8--should have 72 sts.
9. Continue knitting each row until piece measures about 10 to 10-1/2 inches from top.
10. At marker, drop Yarn A, and add Yarn B and C. Knit 2 rows with these yarns.
11. Drop Yarn C and knit 1 round with Yarn B.
12. From marker, *knit 10, knit 2 together* repeat this until the you reach the marker.
13. Repeat step 12 until the light brown piece measures about 4.5 inches (about 9 rows).
14. From marker, *knit 5, knit 2 together* and repeat this until you reach the marker.
15. Repeat #14 one time.
16. Knit continuous for next 2 rows.
17. *knit 5, knit 2 together* from marker to marker for 2 rows.
18. You should have about 20 sts. If not, repeat another row and decrease until you have 20 sts.
19. Using the darning needle, pull the thread through all the remaining stitches and up through the middle of the bag, knotting it on the inside. It will seem really oversized, but after felting, it will shrink down.
20. For the handles (make two): Cast on 7 sts.
21. Using the I-cord technique, slide the 7 sts to the opposite end of the circular needles; do not turn the row. Knit
as usual until each handle measures 19 inches long.
22. Attach handles with remaining yarn (I used the dark brown) to the purse, making sure to make them even.
23. For the felting: Place handbag in washing machine with a couple of pairs of jeans to help agitate. Use a small amount of laundry detergent. Set the cycle to HOT water and the load size to small (if applicable). Start the washing machine and be sure to monitor it so you stop the cycle before it goes to the spin cycle.
24. Check the bag and see if it has felted enough; it is done when you can no longer see the defined knitting stitches. If necessary, run the wash cycle again until you get the size you like.
25. After felting, wring out the excess water and lay on a drying rack. I use a small mixing bowl to provide shape to the bag while it is drying. Be creative and stretch and form the bag however you choose.