Felting Queen

I asked my wonderful friend Mary O, otherwise known as the Felting Queen in our Stitch and Bitch, to do a guest post on felting for me. Even though Mary O lives in Massachusetts, she will always be a part of our SnB.

Lets see… what else can I make?
Another felted bag, that sounds like fun. Hi, I’m Mary and I am hooked. Yes I’m totally hooked on felting. This process is one of the most addicting things ever. I’ve been called many things but Kate has dubbed me the "Queen of felting." I’m not so sure that’s true but I sure love to felt. I felt because I’m creative. I felt because it’s such a rush to open that washing machine every few minutes and see the instant (sometimes) transformation. I think I am most famous for my bags, I love to create a really good bag. I like to add pockets and accessories to a bag.

My first bag was a beautiful periwinkle with shockingly bright green eyelash around the top. I use that as my knitting bag and carry it just about everywhere. You can usually find eyelash someplace in your house after I’ve left. For one Christmas I felted coasters for my family and tried my hand at some needle felting. I’ve made and felted a variety of things. I made a hat for my daughter. I call it the Dr Seuss hat, it’s a little crazy looking but very warm, sturdy, bright but above all its fun and it’s felted. My husband said it was a bit much but I love it anyway. I guess the fun fur was a little over the top, we can just call it whimsical.

Let me tell you about myself. My husband and I have been married 21 years and we have a daughter age 8 and son age 5. We recently moved from the DC area to western Massachusetts. We added two cats and a golden retriever to our family in October. We have a happy and very active home with always something going on.

My latest felting project was mittens for my little darlings. Wow, did they turn out great, they have to be the warmest mittens ever and they are pretty much water proof. If you live were there is a lot of snow and you have kids I would definitely recommend knitting and felting a pair of mittens.

I recently took a trip down to visit my friends in Maryland. We got to do Stitch N Bitch! Oh how I miss those Sunday nights. I started a project for my daughter who said that she wanted a pink bag with a red heart. Hmm, I guess I can do that.

Since my daughter is 8 I made the bag medium sized with a flat bottom. If I use two colors I usually use the darker color on the bottom because the bottom can get dirty. I have a terrible habit of just knitting without a plan but for the heart bag I had to draw out the pattern on graph paper. The heart worked out pretty good.

Like I said I usually knit without a plan, so to finish it off I decided to add hearts around the top. Really cute.

I don’t like to use I cord for the straps especially if you plan to carry anything heavy, because I cord is uncomfortable. I like to make a wide flat strap. Using double pointed needle cast on 9 stitches. Row 1: Knit 6, bring yarn forward , and slip the remaining stitches purlwise, then turn. Repeat this row until you have the length you want. I usually use 2 strands of worsted weight yarn and size nine needles. Make the strap about the size you want it because it really won’t shrink that much using this process.

Now for the fun part!!! Into the washing machine with the sacrificial jeans. I have three pairs of jeans that are the felting jeans because I don't mind if they are washed in hot water. Put the jeans and the bag in the wash set on the lowest water level and hot. Add just a little soap and set it on regular wash. After about 5 minutes check its progress. Depending on the yarn it can take up to two to three wash cycles.

Don’t let it spin, if it needs another cycle I let the water drain and then start it again. You are done when the bag is the size and shape you want and the stitches disappear. When it’s done wrap it in a towel and squeeze out all of the water. Then shape it, stretch it and stuff it with something. I find that a square or rectangular Tupperware container works really well. For this bag I wrapped a Harry Potter book in a plastic bag. It worked perfectly. It’s kind of funny since my daughter will probably want to carry a Harry Potter book in this bag. Her wish is my command! This bag was just what she wanted.

Look for Mary O soon to be blogging at Queen of Felting.