Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Another French Market Bag on the way

I have been checking on the yellow French Market Bag every now and then to see if the love is still there… because sometimes when the excitement of something being finished wears off, the love somehow disappears and you see the finished object in a different light and very often that light brings to surface few facts that brush off the love. But the love is still strong.

I finished knitting the blue bag (Lett-Lopi number 9418) and it is in the washer while I’m writing this. I’ll take a picture before I sign off. This time I tried to take a more scientific approach, I measured the bag before throwing it into the washer and wrote down all the details and needle sizes used and had full intentions to take a picture before the washing but I forgot. I cleared the table and organized everything for the picture taking, but the bag just flew into the washer without me noticing what I had forgot. This time I used a little bit smaller needle size for the bottom of the bag, I knit the bottom with 4 mm needles and the rest with 4,5 mm. I wonder if I’m able to see any difference. (edited later: no, I can't see any difference where the needle size changes but this bag is a bit smaller than the yellow one, but this might be due to a different colour as well)

I have been thinking this knitting-felting business for the past few days. I suppose that it is possible to get better in this field and to be able to tell prior felting the outcome of the felted object with further practise. It is probably possible to get to know one’s washer and its abilities and it is possible I hope to be able to realize when a good felting fibre crosses one’s path. I guess a few swatches would be a good idea. I have been all over internet searching for felted bags. I came across the Noni bags site and not only the site has beautiful kits but also a very informative pages about the process of felting, finishing and lining the bags. I have ordered one Noni bag from the spring 2007 collection. I just ordered Cascading Fuschias Market Bag so it will take a while before I have it in my hands.

I will take pictures when I get to the lining part of this new bag and can show you what I did, but again, I jump ahead with my projects and when I come across a problem, I try to solve it the best possible way, so my doings might not be the best advise there is.

I have been using Lett-Lopi for these bags. The yarn comes from the stash what makes me very happy. The colour blue is coming off a blue sweater that has been on the making for a long time and thus has been ripped. I’m getting rid of ufos and using stash yarn!!! There are lots of odd balls of yarn and yarn that has not had any appeal to me for a long time in the stash, but at what I’m looking with great interest at the moment thinking maybe it will felt nicely... I don’t think I have knit the last bag yet. Lett-Lopi felts nicely but it has its downsides; it is very hard on my hands and my hands are all sore and itchy again.

I will not cast on anything new before I see what tomorrow’s mail will bring. I ordered HF kit last week and it just might be in tomorrow’s mail. Someone else mentioned the very same kit in her post today! And the design being as beautiful as it is, it would not surprise me to see many more in a few weeks!

The washer seems to be taking forever... First I did a shorter cycle with the bag in a separate little laundry bag with towels but the outcome was not good enough, so I continued the process and threw the bag without the laundry bag into the washer with sheets in a higher temperature and longer cycle. I think this is what I did the first time around as well. I’m poor in keeping notes of my doings thus making it almost impossible to do something similar again. And I can't remember the next day what I have been up to...
I finally finished with the bag one in the morning feeling that it was way too late to post and I was not very pleased how the bag looked after washing and felting. It was way too fuzzy. It did not look at all sophisticated, well, I’m not sure if a felted bag can look sophisticated and chic but this blue bag was looking very homemade last night.

So this morning I got razor and scissors and have been trimming the fuzziness down and now it looks so much better.
What to embroider or what embellishment to use? I’ll be distracted now for the rest of the day, making it difficult to have a conversation with me, because I’m focusing on the bag and the hunt for a perfect item to decorate it with. But my family is used to it by now. They have been looking at me carrying the bag around and looking at it in different places and they have had a few suggestions for embellishments, some of which sound like they are making fun of me and my bag. (Someone even hid it for a while.) I’m fine with it. I do realize that I get carried away sometimes…

And here a picture of a rose that is growing by my main door in a pot, just because I love roses and it is summer and as a reminder to myself that if I raise my eyes from the blue felted bag, there is a whole world out there...

PS. When I dyed with birch leaves as a mordant I used aluna. I will try birch leaves agian later on in the summer to see if the colour stays the same.


  1. The HF sweater is so very pretty.
    The ivory rose is beyond beautiful!

  2. Anonymous16:56

    What a beautiful rose, just perfect white.

    Enjoy your summertime and stop once in awhile to smell that beautiful rose.

  3. Felting - it can become addictive, but it makes us look at our stash with different eyes!
    Lene, that HF sweater will be beautiful on you. Any colours in mind?
    Rose - so beautiful and I can almost smell it from here!

  4. The flowers are lovely, and the bag is wonderful! How about your signature little bird as an embellishment? You could do a little flock of them, or just one among some flowers and vines.
    I must say, I wasn't terribly in love with the bag, but with your lining and little embroidery, it's growing on me.

  5. Hmm, how wonderful?! Can't wait to see what colour you chose.

  6. They both look great! You have inspired me to show my bag a little more love. I'm new to felting and have not been happy with my bag outcome, however... it seems the it just needs a little more love to shine. Even in it's "not so pretty" state, I have been reaching for it non-stop. This bag is so practical!

    What about a forget-me-not themed bag for the blue?

  7. Birds. I see little blue birds decorating your new blue bag.

  8. I love the way you describe the way you work. I always mean to make notes on sizes and rows and stitches too and never quite get round to it. Your blue bag is lovely already, I'm sure you will find the perfect embellishment soon.

    Best wishes from Liverpool

  9. Hi Lene,

    I was going to suggest your sweet birds for the blue bag as Pacalaga mentioned in her comment.

    The color would make a nice background for snowy Japanese mountains, but being that this is a bag, a larger scene would not work so well.

    I'm looking forward to your lining pictures.

  10. What about white roses? They'll remind you of what time of year you made the bag.

  11. Thank you for sharing your process and your flower photos - they are gorgeous!

    That HF sweater looks divine. What color did you choose? I am awaiting yarn for something special too but it is Kauni yarn, so I'll have to wait on an HF kit...

  12. I did also start a French Market bag yesterday, and I blame it/thank you for it. I'll embroider it too, but in a different style from your. Thank you for the inspiration.

  13. marjorie23:53

    I think it's funny that you shaved your bag! Sometimes you just have to try things and see if they work. And if they don't, you just don't tell anyone. I really love your flowers, especially the ivory rose. I can't believe you are in full summer. Is your lake warm enough to swim? And how is Miina? Give her a pat for me.

  14. Looks like I wasn't the only one to spontaneously think about your lovely signature birds as embellishment for the bag!

  15. The fulling is addicting, is it not?

    Unfortunately, also owning a front-loading washer, the only other option is to hand felt. It can take a long time and be hard on the arms, but you can control the density of the fabric.

    Fresh roses now, felted blooms for the winter - enjoy!


  16. I have never tried felting but having seen your bag, then I think that it is a 'must'.
    The rose is lovely. I must take some pictures of my lovely yellow roses before out storms wreck them totally!

  17. Priscilla00:01

    Your lovely birds, with flowers and vines, like the ones from your Finnish lessons, would look wonderful on the bag. It reminds me of a beautiful pair of gloves you knitted and embroidered. You've made me want to try a felted project - thank you!

  18. Nicki04:01

    It sure looks like you'll get a lot in your market bag. Nice. I have felted bags and have used Lett-Lopi as well. I found it to be rough and hairy. I have tried a few different types of yarn and my favorite to felt with is Patons Classic Wool. After felted it is soft and compells me to touch it...a lot.

  19. I too blame/thank you for getting me into doing the French Market Bag. It looks pretty awful right now, so I hope the washing machine works miracles.

    Like Holly, I have a front-loader so it's going to be a Wait-and-See project. But we have a saying in Ireland, 'Ah sure 'twill work out...'

    Motif on bag should be, as Stitchy Fingers suggested, something to remind you of the time of year it came into being.

    (Our roses are battered by rain and winds right now - not a bit like Midsummer!)

  20. I bet the colour will change as the leaves are older. It will be pretty to see.

    I think Garnstudio may have some nice felt patterns, like a wallet and such. I get a mailing from an Icelandic knitting magazine and a lot of them are translated Garnstudio patterns, I just got one that is a wallet and eye glasses case and mobile phone holder.

  21. You might take a look at this site. She knits a swatch and felts that. She uses the swatch for the pocket on the outside of the bag when done. I've made a couple of the bags and they are fun patterns. Yours looks wonderful!

  22. We vote for embroidered "strawberries" on the felted blue bag!!!

    Love the yellow one with embroidered flowers all over. And that ROSE . . . . !

  23. I'm loving these bags.