Wednesday, 2 April 2008

To market, to market

I finished the Embossed Leaves socks just before Easter, and as we were going to visit my parents for a few days (unlimited baby sitting!) I felt needed a project that would work up fairly quickly and not require a whole lot of thought on my part. Relaxing knitting.

Enter a pattern I have long wanted to try out: the French Market Bag. Added bonus: it requires felting which I have also long wanted to have a crack at.

So here it is:

Yarn: Lincraft Cosy Wool (dk), 2 strands held together throughout

Sticks: 6mm straights

Mods: I ignored the yarn weight and gauge recommendations - the finished measurements had the bag quite small, and I wanted mine bigger. I knit the base flat according to the pattern, and picked up the body stitches as stated, but then just knit and knit until I thought the sides were high enough.

Here it is before felting:

Felting: having a front loader machine, and being a felting novice, I wanted to be able to control the process, so I opted for using the dryer. I soaked the bag for an hour or so in warm water with some wool wash added, rinsed it cold water, wrung it out in a towel, tied it in a pillowcase and put it in the dryer with a few beach towels on hot.

I checked it every 20 minutes or so, rewetting it after about an hour and a half. It took about 2 and a half hours to loose stitch definition and get a tight fabric.

I wasn't sure how the Cosy Wool would shrink. It seems to have shrank quite a bit more vertically (the base went from 36 cm wide x 32 cm long to 28 x 22; height went from 30 to 19 cm). Although I had added extra height to the bag sides, I made the handles to the pattern and they seem too short. Lots too short. Even in the unfelted version, I cant see how they would come out as long as those in the "model" bag from the pattern (hindsight is a wonderful thing).

I am considering (credit to Beloved for this idea) knitting and felting two straps, then cutting the existing handles and sewing in the pieces. It may make the handles weak though - your thoughts are welcome!

And finally, this pic is especially for 2paw, who also cant take a photo without the obligatory Lab supermodel hogging the limelight!

15 comments:

Bells said...

George it's fantastic! And the lab really sets it off beautifully.

Good work!

Michelle said...

Nice one, Dr G. I think the handles look fantastic - I'm not sure it's supposed to be a shoulder bag, but rather a knitted version of a basket? I could be wrong though ...

So all round, I think this is 100% success!

Taphophile said...

Looks fabulous - obviously you're a felting natural. :)

Donna Lee said...

I don't think it would weaken the handles if you sewed them on with the yarn and not thread. I think I would prefer longer handles to make it more of a shoulder carrier. I always seem to need my hands free. It looks great.

Rose Red said...

I think it looks great - and I don't think the handles are too short, as long as they fit over your arm, wicker basket style. But if you do want them longer, I think you could definitely make a couple of felted strips and sew them on - very securely!!

TinkingBell said...

Great bag - beautiful supermodel!!!

Yes - my handles always come out heaps shorter than suggested - next time I'm doing them horizontally!

Jejune said...

Oh well done! Your bag has given me HOPE! The French Market Bag was my first 'getting back into knitting' project some years ago, and I used gorgeous expensive Twilley's Freedom yarn, and had to keep buying MORE (did I mention it was expensive?) because I wasn't experienced and not good at substituting yarns, and while it felted nicely, it was basically too shallow and unusable. Sigh.

So yours looks SO much better - very good move to make it deeper. I should make another one...

Maybe make straps that are very long and can be sewn around the entire bag (ie down the sides and under the base) so they completely support the bag?

Olivia said...

Love the lab supermodel!

I've found that anything in stocking stitch shrinks more vertically than horizontally with felting. Garter stitch goes more evenly. So I think it is the shape of the stitches more than the type of wool that does it.

Cutting and adding to the handles shouldn't weaken them. I would sew with wool if you can force it through (maybe finer tapestry wool?) and then felt those parts again - maybe just wet, soap and rub the sewn spots so they adhere. Alternatively, just sew them strongly with thread.

PS it is beautiful! I really like the effect of two strands of varigated.

MadMad said...

Oh, wookie at da puppy! Such a cute doggie! I used to do a lot of felting of bags (I sold them); try throwing them in the washer - even the front loader - even just the one cycle will shorten up that process time a lot. I found that each yarn and each pattern required "testing," making one to see how it went, and then making additional bags as you hone the pattern a bit. I wouldn't do the handles separately, though, because it would make them weaker, if they are sewn. Just make them wider or longer on the next one.

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

Can't help but love the puppy photo!

As for the wool, how much did you use of the DK? I think that bag is just the thing to help out with some stash busting and using leftovers. Mine won't look as great as yours....alas I have no lab supermodel to pose with any FO.

kms said...

very nice, very clever. very francais, even! kisses to brock xx

Em said...

I love the puppy posing with the basket--puppies, much like cats, add a certain piquant charm to any photo shoot! The bag looks fabulous, was the pattern difficult? I'm looking for something re-usable when I go out for groceries, and yours looks perfect!

Lynne said...

Love your market bag - well done!

Note To Self: Must give felting a go...

Trent said...

You're beautiful George and I love reading your blog.

kiss and hugs to all in your house at the Can.

Kate said...

I have a smaller version from pandaknits dot biz that I use as a handbag (4dpns and increases on the base helped the base to sit flat). It's great and I can stuff a lot in it and as a result the handles have stretched over time. I'm thinking that if you continue to use it as a market bag the produce's weight will probably stretch the handles too. I love mine - great from slinging over the brake handle of Til's pram. Hmm, must get it out again : )