That's what I think about felting. I think it is magic. First you have the magic of sticks and string, the pleasure of easy, quick, somewhat mindless knitting around and around until you have a bag that you could carry a good sized child in. Then you drop it in the washing machine with some jeans you needed to wash anyway, bash it around for a little while, and presto! What was an enormous and shapeless bag is now a very chic purse.
Wanna see what I did? I'm very pleased with it.
The pattern is the "Elizabeth Bag" from Black Sheep Bags. I used Patons Classic Wool in Black, Old Gold, Rich Red, and Leaf Green. This yarn is very nice (100% Merino) and usually runs less than $9 per 100g ball. It does sort of feel rough in the ball but the drape is lovely and I'm sure it would soften nicely in a gently bath. I'd make a sweater out of this anytime.
This is the second time I've made this bag and I made a teeny modification to the pattern. With about 20 rows to go before top shaping I decided I wanted pockets. I guessed that 20 stitches might be close to the right width, did some quick math, knit from the corner marker, K20 with waste yarn, slipped those stitches back onto the left needle, then knit over them with the black yarn. I did the same on both long sides. When the bag and strap were done I came back and picked up the 20 stitches on above and below the waste yarn. I knit 6 rows of garter stitch (in leaf green) and cast off on the lower edge to form a placket. I knit a pocket flap down from the top edge about 6" long. Then I carefully stitched the placket down in front and the pocket flap to the inside of the bag. Then I worried about what to do if the pocket felted closed. I decided just to watch it and to stick my fingers into the hot wool pocket every once in a while to keep the fibers separate. What we won't do for the craft!
Wonder of wonders - the pockets didn't even try to felt closed! First trip through the machine was 10 minutes, 2nd trip was 6 minutes. Stitch definition was gone in the first trip but I wanted it a little bit smaller. If you look carefully at the wide green band you can see some 4 stitch gold dots in it. I just carried the other yarn across the back when I did those. Even the carried strands are completely felted into the cloth. The pocket looks like a part of the inside not a separate piece. Best of all, it fits my cell phone perfectly!
I still have a plan to do a Celtic motif around this bag. I'd like something wide, like a Saxon Braid, that I could work in a single band right around the middle of the bag. Trouble is I haven't any idea how to chart that despite MANY hours online trying to divine how or to avoid having to do it myself. If anyone knows of a colourwork chart for a celtic border pattern that repeats continuously please please please let me know! I'll give you the first bag!