Remember washing a favorite wool sweater in water that was too warm and having it shrink to the size of something a doll could wear and just being bummed to no end? Well, now shrinking wool items is an intentional art form with gobs and gobs of patterns available on "felted" items. Who knew that someone would figure out how to take a disasterous moment and making it into art!
I decided I wanted to try my hand at this - it not only produces cool results, its a great little science project and guestimation process of how big (small) will this thing turn out. I wanted to make felted cloggs (house slippers like the pricey ones you can get at REI), but thought it best to start with a less labor intensive felting project first to get the hang of it.
While surfing the www.knitty.com website one day, I cam across a pattern developed by a high schooler for a felted lunch bag. Here's the link http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTbrownbag.html. The idea of a woool felted lunch bag struck me as both unusual and interesting. The felt would serve as a great natural insulator and it sure could be pretty neat to look at.
So off I went to Lakeside Fibers to get some felting yarn. I settled on Cascade 220. After starting to knitt he base, I could see that the original pattern was just going to be too small to hold a kid's lunch - a high schooler's yes, a kid's lunch complete with soy milk carton and a thermos of soup, no way. So I ripped out, increased the number of stitches cast on and the number of rows. As the bag neared completion of the knitting, it was HUGE - like the size of one of those messh eco-shopping bags and I wondered if I'd made a critical error in judgement by increasing the pattern. Here's the bag before felting.
Here's the bag after felting - about 3 sizes smaller than the original knitted size - lovely, soft and thick - a nice thing to hold one's lunch, good and thermal.
It needs a button clusure yet and then it will be ready to hold Rowan's lunch - yes, she's laid dibs on it which is great because her lunch bag needs to desperately e retired!! She's going to use it for a bit and then we'll evaluate whether it needs a handle. I can easily add one if needed.
I've got yarn chosen to make another of these to donate to the Lapham/Marquette Schools silent auction coming up at the end of April. First though I am making a felted eye glass case for Jani's sunglasses.