~ Mimi's Adventures in Crafting ~

The musings and adventures of a "forty-something" wife and mother whose inner-artisan has been reignited. Enter my realm and enjoy....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Felted Purse ~ The Pink Lady

Last fall while visiting my daughter at college we ventured off campus and into Lake Placid for some shopping. The previous week she had gone into a yarn shop with a girlfriend and had seen a felted purse she just had to have. In her minds eye, she thought by bringing me to that very store, she could bat her baby blues at me and give me that “oh-so-forlorn” look and I would then purchase said purse.

Mother’s Please Take Note: Even though they do grow up into young adults they still remain children at heart and look to receive “goodies” from their parents whenever an opportunity might present itself.

In we went and proceeded over to the rack where the purse was hanging amongst the various wool yarns. It was a sweet purse. My daughter just had to inquire with the sales lady as to whether it was being offered for sale. Unfortunately for my daughter, said purse was not for sale. The salesperson directed us to a rack of knitted items for sale that included other felted purses. These purses were beautiful but the price on them was more than I was willing to pay…no matter how beautiful my daughter’s blue eyes are when she is batting them at me in anticipation I was not going to pay that price for something I know I could make for considerably less money and have an end result that would be even better than the store model.

I had always wanted to try felting so we perused the yarn selections and decided we would make one similar to the store model. The sales assistant pulled the pattern for us and guided us to the correct wool yarn. The purse requires a button closure so we made a selection from the beautiful hand blown glass buttons on display.

This is one of the reasons I do love to shop in a “Specialty” yarn shop. You may pay a little bit more for your yarn purchases but the unique items they have are not offered in your big box chain stores.

The pattern is called “The Pink Lady” and is a “Designs by Shelley” pattern. The designer states right from the get go:

“You are going to LOVE this bag! It is so easy, it can be done in one day…done all in one piece, it is a cinch to knit and will make a great gift for that special friend or family member. Make one in all your favorite colors…takes so little time, you’ll be making one for every outfit! Knit Away!”       –Shelley Boardman

I loved this pattern and it was indeed easy and could be completely knit in one day. Following are the materials that I used to make this project:

• Approx. 200 yds. BULKY weight, 100% wool yarn
• Size 13 or 15 – 24” Circular needles
• Button

Note: To create my bulky yarn I used a strand of each of the following knit as one:
2 (50g/109 yd) skeins POEMS 100% wool by Wisdom Yarns, Color 172
1 (4 oz/190 yd) skein of Lambs Pride, worsted weight wool
85% wool/15% mohair, Color M191 Kiwi

The project was completed in no time!!!
Purse prior to being felted.
(Click picture to enlarge)

The part that I was dreading and most anxious about came up next…

I had never felted anything before purposely! Oh Yes…I am one of the “chosen” who have accidentally shrunk wool sweaters to the point of them being made unwearable by its owner. To do this on purpose is a difficult concept to overcome for the fear of ruining the project. I had my reservations as to what the results would be. I dove in and followed the designer’s directions and low and behold a beautifully felted purse appeared as I lifted the washing machine door. It had shrunk down to size rather nicely and had a nice heft to it.

Purse after being machine felted.
(Click picture to enlarge)
In completing this project I made a few modifications. I am one who does not like unfinished looks. For me a purse without a lining is like a flower without its pedals. It has to be as beautiful on the inside as the out.

It doesn’t take much to line the purse and each one will shrink differently so there is no set pattern. I just traced out a lining a little larger than the purse itself plus seam allowances. I added a few pockets and compartments for those necessary things we all like to carry and stitched them on prior to sewing the main lining seam together.

Prior to installing the main purse lining, I also cut a rectangular piece of fabric a little longer than the strap and added seam allowances. I turned under the long edges and hand stitched this in place first. I lined the closure tab as well. Because I was using a glass button I decided there would be less stress on the shank of the button and less chance of it breaking if I just made it more of a decorative closure. Due to this I sewed Velcro to the purse and to the tab lining before sewing in the linings. Install the tab lining and then turn under the edges of the purse lining and hand stitch in place. Sew your glass button on and VOILA one fashionable felted purse.

Purses prior to being felted.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

My daughter loved her purse so much that she wanted me to make two more for her girlfriends as Christmas gifts. Here are the before and after pics of them as well:

Green Purse
• 1 (4 oz./190 yd) skein Lambs Pride, worsted weight, Color M210 Forest Shadows
• 1 (4 oz./190 yd) skein Lambs Pride, worsted weight, Color M120 Limeade

Pink Purse
• 1 (4 oz./190 yd) skein Lambs Pride, worsted weight, Color M200 Strawberry Smoothie
• 1 (4 oz./190 yd) skein Lambs Pride, worsted weight, Color M120 Limeade

The yarn combinations are endless that is what is so great about knitting this purse. At some point I plan on knitting one for myself too. This turned out to be a win-win situation for my daughter and myself; ultimately I did give into the purchase of the purse, in a manner of speaking …in her eyes she scored a purse while I got the opportunity to learn a new concept in the process. No losers there…

Plans for this and many other felted purse projects are found on the designer’s website, “Designs by Shelley”, and can be purchased for a modest fee of $5.

Give this project a shot...you will not be disappointed!

Happy Felting....

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