Knitted felted bags a re a great way to use up leftover yarn from other projects but they also make good presents and so you might use custom made yarn. You can add buttons, beans and other embellishments so it is a good way to use those things you might have at home too. We tend to make big roomy bags. They are sturdy and strong when you make them with handspun yarn and so good for projects and shopping! We avoid plastic bags as much as possible and handknitted felted bags look so good! As you can see from the pictures, choosing colours is important. You can do colour work or just simple stripes. They are going to look really big when they are knitted but shrink in the washing machine. You can wash them with your other things as long as the yarn is colourfast. It may take two washes to make the stitch definition disappear so that it becomes felted fabric. Allfreeknitting has some good felted bag patterns to try. Deb’s bag this week(top left) was knitted from her handspun wool and is ready to go into the washing machine. It will look good!
*** There is nothing to stop you crocheting and felting a wool bag. ***
There are all sorts of ways of making your own buttons. Christine reminded us in our last meeting that we could make our own and even use avocado pits! That was worth knowing. You need steady hands and courage to cut the pits which you have left drying. Joyfuel has shared her way of making avocado pit buttons.
You can use other hard plant seeds like hakea pods or just go the easier way and use a tree branch and saw. Some older roses get such thick, woody stems they can be used. This wikihow shows you , in steps, how to make your own buttons from branches. This You Tube clip shows you quickly how it can be done so you can work out for yourself whether you are up for a wooden button challenge or not.
John is one of our weavers and he is constantly giving himself challenges. He enjoys it, knows a lot about it and has the skills to repair looms so they work well. He encourages others and helps them to improve. Today we are showing you a sample of the sorts of weaving he does. He is always keen to try our new patterns. He likes the brain workout it gives him. Top right, the green and fawn fabric is thick and solid enough to be a mat. Second from left he has woven some fabric which he wants to turn into some sort of garment. His other fabrics make nice bags, scarves, shawls , runners. He uses different fibres to see what effects he can get. Once you know how to set up a heddle loom, then you just need to give yourself some challenges. Tess Earle explains things clearly. If you can do basic weaving you can progress to her houndstooth pattern because she makes it accessible.
We saw some lovely ideas with regards to felting boots and slippers this week. Sue and Fay were felting some very colourful boots in our session. They will finish them at home. To get them this far in the time was impressive. You use one template for both boots and then cut the felting in half when it is time to make the two boots. In the video it shows you that you can use cardboard but you can use stiffish plastic or big dog or cat food bags. You need something which won’t lose its shape and something which will not allow the felting to attach to it. It is a big job. The first parts are easy and methodical and then it becomes labour intensive work to get all the felting done. You can do it over time. Just wrap your felting up in a plastic bag. Sheralee has made slippers with llama fleece. She has llamas and uses the fleece she combs off them to make things. Her slippers are lovely. She gave us the tip you can use silicon spray on the bottom to make them non slip. Slippers you make one at a time so you need two templates. You can draw around your foot and increase by a good third. Felt Magnet shows you exactly how to do this.