Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Hope On The Rocks Part I

Once upon a time there was an eBay auction to end all eBay auctions: 10 ball of Noro Kureyon in shade 196 for £20 (i.e. the price of 2 balls of Noro Kureyon).  Of course our intrepid hero had to snap them up before the seller knew what he had on his hands, and in due course said 10 balls of Noro Kureyon came to stay in a country far, far away.

nommy noro

But what to do with 10 balls of Noro Kureyon?  I have to admit that at first I thought I had MILES of the stuff, so substantial it seemed, but 1,000 metres of aran-weight wool doesn't actually get you that far in the whole scheme of making things.  Or at least clothing-wise when you have a frame like mine.  So, items of apparel were out.  Household thingies?  Maybe an afghan?  So I had a look around and found the log cabin basic design and thought that the wool and pattern were a match made in heaven.  

The basic log cabin design is very simple: cast on so many stitches (in my case, 12) on a 4mm (US 6) size circular needle and knit a square using stocking stitch, cast-off to the last stitch, then pick up and knit along the next edge.
After turning a few more corners (depending on how big you want the squares)  they end up looking like this:

I was so taken with the method that I had quite a few 7"x7" squares before I stopped knitting for the evening, and then decided that said squares were going to turn not into an afghan, but into a messenger-style bag.

I worked a total of eight 7"x7" squares (front and back), four 6"x6" squares (pockets on the inside and outside), twelve 3"x3" squares (sides and base), four 1"x7" strips (to house the zip on the top) and fourteen 2"x4" (the strap).  

nearly complete
After working all the pieces needed, I started joining it all up together, starting with the front and back, then adding the sides and base to the front of the bag, which laid flat, looked like this:

ready to create the 3D bag

I joined the squares up in two different ways - to create a flat join, I sewed edges together on the flat, on the wrong side, but to create the crisp angled edge I wanted for the corners and joints, I placed them wrong side together and sewed-up the edge on the right side:

angled join
flat join
The bag main, once joined together, does end up floppy and baggy (if you'll forgive the pun), but once felted, the fabric becomes stiffer, stronger, and if blocked correctly, holds its new shape very well.  

baggy... bag
I must add that the short edges of the top zip closure pieces need to remain unattached, so that the strap can be added after felting.

So, after joining all the pieces together (the main bag, plus the length of strap - not joined to the bag) it was time to start testing the felt-meter of the wool.

I tried one of the 6"x6" pockets first, in a hot wash with a couple of towels to add roughage, as suggested by online research.  After one wash it had shrunk a little bit, but there was still discernible stitch definition to be seen, so I tried another hot wash which pretty, but it still wasn't enough, so I figured another wash and all would be grand.

Then it was time for the bag and strap.  Which is when disaster struck. 3 washes (2 hot, one cooler) later it had shrunk by only 1" square and although the fabric was thicker there were still noticeable stitches to be seen.  Be prepared for a dulling-down of the colours, though.  It is one of the side-effects of hot-water felting, I'm guessing.  Sadly I lost most of the colours.  I guess that's a lesson to learn, but I'm really disappointed.
lacklustre lustre
But the show must go on, so to block, I found some hardback books (actually I used some vocal scores) about the size of the felted bag, put them in a plastic bag, then inserted the covered book inside the felted bag for drying.  

They dried.  The bag was 2 inches smaller than it was to begin with, but I was hoping for smaller.  The strap was the same length, though, which wasn't the plan.  The original test pocket?  2 of the edges turned in to lace, which I found bizarre.  I'm too sad about it all to piece it together just now, or try to figure out a way how to make it shrink a bit more without using the washing machine.  

Our intrepid hero will be back, though.  Perhaps armed with fabric paint.


Cassandra Saturday, 3 March 2012 at 09:47:00 GMT  

Weird, man! And yes, so so so disappointing. Fabric paint is a great idea. I'm not sure that's a legit side effect of felting, it didn't happen to my Kureyon. Can you complain to the company?

I'm sure you can save it!

RedScot Friday, 16 March 2012 at 11:28:00 GMT  

We've all decided that it was knock-off Noro. So disappointed, but sadly I bought it so long ago that the seller is no longer an eBay member! Says a lot!

Mair Bloag Weejits

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