When I first signed up for an online felting class with Lena Archbold, we were invited to join her Facebook group for her students. It is a very supportive group and Lena cares very much about our learning. During this time of enforced isolation, Lena has been trying to help boost everyone’s morale. Even though she has her own things to deal with, she is still being supportive and helping us by offering up ideas. She has a video that was live where she explained how to make a bag from a piece of felt she had lying around. As one does! I don’t know how many people have a meter square piece of flat felt just lying around. But waste not…
I don’t have a large piece of felt lying around, but I could make a piece of felt, so I decided to have a go at making a bag. It isn’t like I have a lot else to do these days. I made a circular resist 24 inches in diameter. I decided to use some Perendale Batt that I had purchased for needle felting ages ago. It was just sitting around doing nothing and as I am using my stash, I thought I would give it a go. I hadn’t used Perendale before, so I didn’t know how it would felt. This bag was eventually going to be a rectangular shape, so I needed to be careful with placement of the pocket and decoration.
I laid out the pocket first.
I laid out two different colors of the batt, first in Sienna (for the inside) and then in Rust. This is the rust above. When using batts, you are meant to split them and lay out in different directions. I had 4 thin layers of batt. I had to pick out a lot of bits and vegetable matter. It was easier to pick out when the wool was wet and I did that after laying out and wetting each color. You can see how the wool spread past the resist, but this didn’t matter as it was to be a flat piece of felt. I laid out some extra batt in the middle of the circle for the bottom for extra strength.
This is my decoration where the pocket is going to be.
I then decorated the felt with merino wool, locks, threads, strings, and sari silk fibers.
Here we are still wet and after having been in the tumble dryer. This piece was taking a long time to full down. I had sanded it, rolled it, rubbed it, nuked it in the microwave, rolled some more, etc., etc. After a couple of times in the dryer, we had some decent felt.
Here we are all rinsed out, spin dried, and stretched out, waiting to dry.
The next day I made up a felted rope for the bag, poked holes in my felt, gave it a trim to even up the edges and healed the edges and holes before stringing the handles through.
Here is the bag with the pocket. I should have added an extra layer of wool in the pocket area, but it seems to be holding ok.
Front view. I used some buttons from my stash to decorate the bag.
This is only my second bag and first intentional handbag. Although the wool felted to a firm felt, I’m not sure it is as hard as it could be, but that could be the nature of the wool as it is also a bit hairy. Though, if it was too hard, it may not have folded as well as it had. As cute as this bag is, I don’t think I will be making another one like this again. It was one of those things that just had to be done, at least once.
I did learn a couple of things. Firstly, the Perendale batt is hairy and has a lot of VM. I most likely won’t be purchasing this again, but I am happy to use it up in a bag. Secondly, it does take a lot longer to felt than Merino. I still have enough to make another bag, but I will actually make one on a resist, add some extra layers, and keep the decoration simple. So, what have you made with leftover felt?