Ah, remember my plan to knit a messenger bag using Entrelac? Here’s how it looked in April of this year.
The plan was to finish it, then felt it severely, affix a strap and voila, a beautiful, hand-made, unique messenger bag for me. Here’s the bag finished with a lovely flap knit right in, I-cord bind off. Looking good.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men” you say. Indeed. I finished the bag and went off to Spain before I found an opportunity to felt it. It looked bulky but I was looking forward to getting it into the wash and shrinking it down to wearable size.
Hah! Sounds so easy, doesn’t it. A couple of weeks ago, I finally took the plunge and got the bag into the bathtub where I was going to felt it with bath tub temperature water and a broom for agitation. You know how that went, I bet. It didn’t take long to realize that I was not the equal of a good washing machine.
But the problem is that I don’t own a washing machine – we use the machines supplied by our building which are housed in the basement. But since that was the only available machine, I took the soaking wet, heavy-as-lead bag down to the nether reaches of the building and dumped it unceremoniously into the machine, set the dial for hot water, threw in a pair of jeans as extra insurance and turned the thing on, then left it alone for the required half hour. I figured it would never felt to small, so no worries about that.
Back to the basement where I threw the mass into the dryer, set the dial, and let it go for an entire hour of heat pumping in – our dryers really put out heat, so I figured that could only help. Then I did my best to clean the lovely lint off the sides of the washing machine.
After it finished and was indeed bone dry, I took it out, cleaned out the lint trap and took the thing upstairs, where I showed it to my husband. Hmmm, not exactly small, this bag. Here’s what it looked like spread out on the hassock.
It looks a little big, doesn’t it? A little. Here’s a close up of the felting – not quite as good as I’d hoped. But you can see the lovely I-cord bind off really well.
Yes it was bigger than expected. “How big?”, you ask. Really big. Well, my husband demonstrated that for me a couple of days after I did my felting. I was out knitting and when I got home, this is what he showed me.
Yep, this little baby is stuffed with a full-sized pillow, one with a pillow sham on it. And yes, that is a human-sized chair it’s gracing. Big? An understatement. Let’s say I’m not going to be carrying this around slung over my shoulder with a great looking strap. As a matter of fact it is about the right size to be a carpet-bag, which would be great if this was the Dirty 30’s and I was an itinerant salesmen, but it ain’t and I’m not, so there will have to be other solutions.
I have had suggestions – and yes, pillow is one. I polled a few people and asked what they thought of me cutting it down and making it messenger bag sized. But that would mean the edging would be missing from one side. One of my consultees suggested I could do that, then call it a “Deconstructed Aesthetic” (thanks, Rodger). Anyone else with suggestions for this rather large piece of fabric (which took hours of my time, and lots of yarn but not costly stuff, thank heaven) is welcome to comment and give an opinion. I’m looking forward to it as a matter of fact.