26 August, 2011

Shibori Wet-felted Bag


Here is my first wet felting project, a felted bag.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed scrubbing away at knitted fabric and making it change.  This bag works as a cover for a stainless water bottle.  It's just sturdy enough to stand up on its own.  It has bobbles where I did some Shibori.

To start with, I knit a tube.  Made the fabric more loose than I normally would because I read that as a rule you go up two needle sizes for knitted fabric you're going to felt.


I gave the fabric four unusual columns of stitches, creating the effect of squared-off corners.  The phoney seam technique comes from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears, where she drops a stitch, then does the ladder back up again by successively pulling one strand through the open loop as for normal knitting, then two strands through the loop just formed.  She uses it to create the appearance of a seam on a sweater knit seamlessly in the round.  I know I've said so before, but it's good to take a technique in a book that you understand intellectually and actually try it out.  With practice, I got faster at making the ladder run and doing up the stitches, and that was satisfying.  I like the appearance of the column of stitches, the way it stands out.


I didn't know it at the time but there really wasn't any point dropping the stitches and making phoney seams.  Wet-felting obliterated all traces of them.

Here is the Shibori I did, tying buttons under the fabric.  I forgot to cover the surface with plastic wrap to keep the surfaces from felting.  While felting, I had to rescue popped buttons and tie them back in.


The yarn that I made the felted bag out of was a skein I spun a couple of years ago.  I used hand dyed wool roving from Scarlet Fleece, a piece of roving she tested colours on and not a particular colourway.

I gave the skein away, then got it back, and then it lingered around because there was such a small amount of yardage and I couldn't think of what to make.  I even set the ball out at a guild meeting with a plea for suggestions but even though the ideas were well-considered, I felt fussy and disinclined to go with any of them.  I made a few false starts with the handspun but nothing stuck until now.

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