There’s not much that I envy in this life, but I must say that I have fallen victim to some pretty serious “purse envy” in recent months……
Still being a fairly new knitter, I just didn’t feel capable of making some of the beautiful felted purse designs that many of my knitting friends had made for themselves and others. Making a really cool felt purse for myself was on my “when I get better at knitting” list.
While at Hobby Lobby one day, I ran across some yarn that just yelled at me from the shelf. Truly, it said “Make a purse out of ME!“.
I loved the colors and noticed that it was 100% wool, recommended for felting. I took a deep breath and decided to give it a shot.
I found these little embellishments at JoAnn Fabrics and with a purse handle as well, I raced home to make my purse.
Many of the purses that I’ve “envied” were lined, so I grabbed a yard of this gorgeous paisley to line my felt purse with.
To be honest, I began to knit the purse, but couldn’t seem to free-style what I had in mind.
Then I just decided to crochet a chain and then just keep circling around, making a simple bag. Towards the top, I combined a few stitches to narrow the opening, but otherwise, it was a very basic stitch and design.
Then for the scary part….I put it in very hot water with a mild yarn soap I purchased. I’ve been told that it could just be washed, but frankly, I was very concerned about ruining it.
After a few minutes in the hot water, I just rinsed and rung it out and proceeded to put it in the dryer. It smelled like a big, wet dog.
What seemed like forever went by before that purse finally dried and here’s what I ended up with….
Why does wool felt? Here’s a great explanation as to why, but I think it was discovered by error, if you know what I mean.
Wool fibers have tiny microscopic scales along their surface. Some types of wool have larger scales than others. The types of wools that are coarser and smoother and have the highest sheen to them (such as Lincoln, Leicester, Wensleydale) have larger scales and reflect more light off their surface leading to the sheen. Finer wools (of which Merino is the main example) have much, much smaller scales and do not reflect light and have a more “matt” look to the surface of the yarn or finished knitting.
When wool fibers are shocked by temperature and rubbing the little scales lift up and as the fibers rub against each other they lock down on nearby fibers and form a tighter and tighter mass and form felt. Felt can be made from “just the fibers” unspun, or as many knitters are discovering, from knit pieces that are felted after knitting. Source
It was at this point that I threaded a needlepoint needle with yarn and simply sewed on my embellishments.
I must say that I was pretty pleased at this point and decided to be finished with my felted purse. Simple but classic.
Now to line it.
Once again, I’m free-styling here without a pattern, so I just measured about an inch less on each side and made the lining that way, with the fold.
I simply cut around my cell phone to make a little pocket for it. I also made a second identical pocket on the other side.
I ironed the edges inward about 1/2″ and pinned.
I no sooner than started to sew the pockets in that my sewing machine needle broke. Isn’t that just how it works when you’re trying to finish something?
Actually, the lining is still laying in the sewing machine, I just haven’t had the time to fool with the needle.
Skip the lining for now.
So, after a few days of enjoying my new (and unlined) purse, I decided that it needed just a bit more “bling”.
After digging around through a few scraps, I found a wonderful yarn and some leftover embellishments from my Christmas hats.
I simply crocheted a chain with the yarn and sewed it on, along with the “curlies” above and whalah! This is what my purse looks like now.
I think I’m finished with it now.
Wasn’t that fun? What made this so enjoyable for me was the fact that it’s so forgiving! The felting process covers a “multitude of sins”, especially for us beginners! :)