For my first attempt at felting a knitted project, I followed the construction method at www.philosopherswool.com/Pages/FeltedBags.htm in general, though using smaller needles and single strand yarn. I added the piano design which I charted myself in Excel. The result was this cute piano bag, which I finished just in time to give to Mom for her birthday.
US 7 Circular needles (I used my Denise interchangeable needles)
Stitch marker for beginning of round
1 skein each of:
- Patons Classic Merino Wool, “Bright Red”
- Patons Classic Merino Wool, “Winter White”
- Bernat Lana, “Ebony”
(at least that’s what I used. Any feltable wool is fine. Do a test swatch first. You’ll note the little miniature piano-patterned wallet/purselet in some of these pictures: That was my test swatch. I did about 2 1/3 repeats of the piano pattern, just enough to be able to get it around the needles. Then I sewed up the bottom of the tube and felted it to figure out how much these yarns would shrink. I sort of neglected to use any red in the test swatch, though. Fortunately it felted as well as the white of the same brand did!)
Before felting: 19″ wide, 20″ long
After felting: 14″ wide, 12″ long. Just perfect for holding Mom’s piano music…
CO 208 in red. Join the round and K 8 rows.
Row 9: K 22, BO 60, K 44, BO 60, K 22
Row 10: K 22, CO 40, K 44, CO 40, K 22: 168 st.
Continue knitting around, alternating colors to create stripes as you like (see below for a picture that specifies how many rows I used in each stripe, if you’re curious). When you reach the point where you want the piano design, work from the chart given below. (Since you knit this purse top-down, you have to just turn the piano chart upside-down and start from what is actually its top left corner…) After the chart, continue working in stripes until the purse is long enough for your taste. At the end, I did a single-crochet bind-off using a crochet hook to join the front and back of the purse. A 3-needle bind off would work too, but when I reached that point all I had was a crochet hook so I improvised! Or you could bind off normally and then use a tapestry needle to sew the bottom closed. The details aren’t going to show after felting, so the method is open to negotiation!
Felt the bag…you can see on the pattern-picture below the felting method I used, or substitute another that you prefer. I let the whole wash/rinse cycle run (hot wash, cold rinse) to felt the bag as much as possible, for maximum strength. After felting, put in a Tupperware or something of the appropriate size to fill the bag out and block it into a neater rectangular shape.
After drying, I found it helped to take a safety razor and shave off some of the fuzz on the outer surface of the felt, especially over the piano design, to let the black/white pattern show through to best effect. And there you have it! One completed piano felted tote! Mom likes hers.
Click any of the images below for a full size version.
The piano chart:
The pattern, picture style: