Sunday, September 20, 2020

Felted Pin Loom Purses

I am definitely not the first person to discover that pin loom squares can felt up wonderfully. All you need is yarn that is about 95 to 100% wool and some time on your hands and you can make any number of strong, usable felted bags.* 

The bag examples below are the first two in a series of experimental bags that will hopefully encourage you to try an even better one of your own at home. The smaller felted bag on the left was made from a trove of wool squares that someone gifted to me, probably woven by an elderly relative a long time ago. Unfortunately, perhaps because I had not put in the time to weave them myself, I did not take proper care when I felted them, blithely throwing the bag into the washer and dryer with a load of jeans and towels. The result was that the bag is too tightly felted, overworked to the point that it looks weird and fuzzy. 

* A quick footnote (right here in the middle of the page). As any fiber expert will tell you, the process of "felting" a knitted or woven cloth is actually called "fulling". The true definition of felting is making cloth straight from the fiber without spinning or weaving. However the term felting is more understandable and better known, which is why I am using it here. 



Also, I designed the bag to have big hoop handles, thinking that it would be a fun tribute to the 70's style. The problem is that the hoops don't work well. They are awkward to carry and they don't allow easy access to the purse interior. So here is my updated bag with a long, flexible strap that makes the bag work beautifully!
 
The second bag is quite a bit bigger, the finished size is 12" x 12" x 2". I was much more careful when felting it and am pretty happy with the result. I think that when felting, it is optimal to reduce the 4" square to about 3". That gives a nice, sturdy fabric without becoming overly fuzzy. To make sure that I didn't overdo the felting I decided to felt this bag by hand. Which means that I put the bag in a sink with hot water and a little shampoo and agitated it by hand until the squares had shrunk to about 3" across.  


The other thing that made finishing this bag possible was my increased confidence on the sewing machine after making a whole bunch of masks. I had enough confidence in my sewing ability to stitch four loops to the top of the bag. 

These loops, which are just visible in the photo to the left, allow you to turn any type of belt or strap into purse handles. You can use the belt to make two shorter handles or you can slide it through the loops to make one long shoulder strap. 

The top picture shows the bag using a 38" belt for handles. This bottom picture shows the bag with a 50" pink strap forming two long handles. 

The other challenge in creating this bag relates to the yarn choices. I have managed to accrue an incredible selection of really old yarns and decided that it would be fun to make a bag that featured the oldest of the colors, an Iced Coral Heather from about 1967. 

Not only do I have enough of this yarn color to make everyone in my family some sort of bag for Christmas (note to family- be prepared) I also have equally ancient wool yarns for contrast. So this bag has been woven in Pantone Bizarro colors, which means that it is either terribly dated, perfectly in style...or both. 

Be aware, there are more felted items coming. If there is one problem with felting pin loom squares, it is that it is just as addictive as all the other forms of pin loom weaving.  Happy weaving and stay tuned!

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