Monday, December 6, 2010

A little felted purse KAL, part 3

This is the last installment of the little purse KAL. (Click here for the first part, and here for the second partclick here for the accompanying zipper-installation video tutorial.)  In this final installment, we are going to flatten the bottom of the purse, felt the purse and attach the zipper pull.


Although I have tried very hard to avoid all sewing, there comes a time when even the sew-o-phobic must get out a sewing needle, and so it is for flattening the purse bottom.  But, rest assured--there are only 3 or 4 stitches necessary, and they can be as large, rough and untidy as you like since no one will ever see them, not even you.

The "before" illustration (top) shows the OUTSIDE of the purse when you have finished knitting it.

Next, turn the purse inside out.  Grasp the outside edge of the corners and draw the outer edges of each corner together over the middle of the center seam, as shown in the middle illustration.  Using the length of yarn you left dangling at the corner, tack the corners together with a stitch or two, then--using the same length of yarn--tack the joined corners to the center of the seam, also as shown on the illustration

When you turn the purse right side out again, you will find that you have created a folded-in flat bottom, and that the purls have become the fold line, as shown on the "after" illustration at the bottom.

The next step is to felt the purse, so here's ...


Hand felting allows for greater control than felting in a washing machine, especially for a small object like this purse. Therefore, I highly recommend hand felting for this project.

Felting requires to things two happen simultaneously:  a) temperature change and b) agitation. In hand felting, temperature change is supplied by working at the kitchen sink with first hot, then cold water running on your project.  The agitation is supplied by you. 

Here's how:

Wear rubber dishwashing gloves or your skin could be abraded. Wet item thoroughly with hot water. Add two drops dishwashing detergent (the kind for hand washing of dishes, not the machine kind). Working under a trickle of hot water, knead and rub but do not wring. Try to knead and rub evenly over the entire surface of the purse to avoid distortion of the shape. When most of the detergent is gone, switch water to cold, turning the volume of water up briefly so that the temperature of your project will change quickly.  Once the project has become completely cold (a few moments for such a small project) turn the cold water back to a trickle, add more detergent and again knead and rub until detergent is out. Repeat the same procedure with hot water, then cold again, etc. 

Once every hot/cold cycle, inspect to be sure purse isn't cross-felting closed on inside.  Also, inspect the sides and bottom, and tug as needed to shape them as shown in the photo of the finished purse. 

Felting is a rather random process: sometimes it goes unbelievably quickly--one or two hot/cold cycles. Conversely, sometimes it goes worryingly slowly, but take comfort: all non-superwash sheep's wool will felt eventually although different colors or yarns might felt at different rates. The most amount of felting usually occurs when the cold water hits, but sometimes the hot water is more active.

As you can see from the below photo, the finished purse was felted only lightly--the original stitch definition is still visible.  Even so, however, this purse is stiff enough to easily stand on its own.


Make a little felt marble by taking some scrap strands of yarn in your (dishwashing-glove-clad) hands, then repeatedly rolling them in your hands under hot, then cold water with dishwashing detergent as a lubricant, until the strands cross-felt together and the marble hardens. Attach the marble to the zipper pull with a length of yarn, attached decoratively onto the existing zipper pull.

The finished purse, felted, with zipper pull decoration attached