Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Noni Bag's Progress

Remember the Noni Bag I started way back when? The one that was for me to keep? Well, I finally finished knitting it and felting it and thought you'd like to see the almost-finished project. Here it is pre-felting (with my trade paperback sized book for scale).

Here it is being blocked:

I have to admit that I had to improvise a bit to block something that is three-dimensional and has folds in it (on the sides). I stuffed it with towels, used giant binder clips for the inside folds (as per the instructions) and then pinned the heck out of the outside. I had to unpin and repin the front edges in order to flip it and change the towels so the bottom side dried more quickly.

Here it is felted (with my book again):

I haven't quite gotten around to sewing the handles on yet (something else I'm doing for the first time) but I placed them on it to give you the general effect. I think the leather handles will jazz it up nicely.

Up close and personal.

Felting still seems almost miraculous to me in the way it changes the texture of the knitting. I love, love, love the colors and feel of the bag. You were all right about the defined bottom: after felting, the stitching blended right in so it looks great. (And couldn't we all use well-defined bottoms?)

The only thing I'm not 100 percent pleased about is the proportions. I think it's a little too wide for its height, something I wouldn't have expected from the pre-felted shape. However, I'm learning that felting tightens more in one direction than the other and I need to adjust accordingly.

Does anybody have any advice about sewing leather handles onto felted knitting? Thread recommendations? I'm learning as I go here and I want my handles to be strong enough to carry lots of knitting and books around.

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Anonymous Tanya said...

I accosted - I mean nicely approached - a lady at JoAnn Fabrics one day to ask if she had made her felted purse. She admitted that she had (all the while looking at me like I was loony). Despite her less than enthusiastic response to my inquiry I forged ahead and asked if she had sewn the leather handles on herself. She said that she took it to a saddle maker in town and that he always did a beautiful job. (She moved very quickly to a different line after that :)). I would shy away from doing it myself if at all possible but maybe someone else has had a good experience sewing leather. I find it difficult to handle on a regular sewing machine.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Linda D said...

Expect 60% shrinkage up and down, 40% across. I have made many many felted bags, and they are used all the time! Blocking on a box of the right shape is the way to go, it will mold that wet mass of wool as it dries. I LOVE your stripes, reminds me of my tabby cat!

7:26 AM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Oh, Nancy, that's a great bag! I don't know anything about sewing leather handles (how classy will that look?!) but, like Linda, I've discovered that felting shrinks objects more in height than width. Good luck. And let us know what you do re the handles.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I usually use metal rings to fasten the leather handle to. I sew the rings in the bag and felt them with the rest of the bag. When done I attach the leather handle and have a very sturdy habdle. I have tried sewing the leather handles on after but it is very hard to sew through felted material.
Holly in CT

9:29 AM  
Blogger Nephele said...

The Noni bag I made had felted handles (and flowers) but they all had to be felted and sewn on afterwards (this is to keep things from getting distorted by the unbalanced weight). I used silk embroidery floss. It's strong and comes in lots of colors making it easy to find a match.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Tanya, your story about the lady switching lines made me chuckle. I'm thinking that taking it to a shoemaker might work as well (since we don't have a lot of saddlemakers in suburban New Jersey, alas).

If I can't find the right shoemaker, I'll try out the embroidery floss, Nephele.

Linda and Fran, thanks so much for clueing me in on the shrinkage patterns of felting. That will help me a lot in future projects. And Linda, the box idea makes perfect sense. Why didn't I think outside the box? (Sorry, bad pun, I know!)

In fact, why I didn't just post my questions here before I felted the bag is beyond me. Then I could have tried Holly's suggestion about the rings. RTY is such a tremendous resource for an amateur like me. You guys are the best!

4:22 PM  
Blogger Kenyetta said...

I think the bag came out nicely.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

It's beautiful, Nancy!

12:14 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Thanks so much!

4:45 PM  

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