Monday, April 26, 2010

the brickyard bag - more fun with recycling and felting

Over on Ravelry, I've discovered yet another unlimited time sink.  There is a great forum called Project Yarnway that has been set up to mimic that other Project fashion designer show. Every month is a new challenge to create a knitting design based on a theme.  The April 2010 challenge is to reate a bag and a story for a “client.” I’ve decided to design a bag for a famous actress who just happens to be the wife of IRL race driver and recent winner of the Indianapolis 500.  She needs a bag to take to the track here in Indy in May. - must have a subtle racing theme, be fairly good size for all the stuff she’ll need at the track, and be something I can get done in less than a month!

I started with a bucket bag concept, with straps that can go over the shoulder or be used back pack fashion. Zippered compartment in base for water (try to insulate this somehow), pockets in the inner lining. And a charted design on the section between the base and the top. Base and top are charcoal grey. Mid section background is a lime green, and the chart is black and cream. Everything is felted. Using yarn reclaimed from thrift store sweaters, which is a first for me, and now I must report, another addiction.  Very satisfiying.

Here's the yarn from one sweater - an amazing quantity of fingering/dk weight wool.  I'm using it triple stranded in the bag to simulate bulky weight.  I was going to unravel another sweater for the base, but on closer inspection, the sweater had already felted some, so unraveling was just not going to happen.  So I went ahead and hand felted the whole sweater in the sink and cut it apart for fabric for the base of the bag and other parts.  More on that in a later post when I get to assembly.

Needed a motif, and after much deliberation settled on this.

It seemed straight forward, but I'm really having to slog through the knitting part.  I should have either made is smaller or decided to only put one on the bag instead of three.  Oh well, I'm just going to have to gut it out to get it done this week.

I ended up with the pocket pieces left over from the green sweater, that were just too fiddly to unravel. So I used those for test swatches for microwave felting.  I wet the pieces using cold water (soaked for a few minutes in a very small amount of water (1 cup)) put on a squirt of liquid hand soap, and miked on high for 1 minute (very high powered microwave).   Had to handle with tongs, but dropped it into the sink and proceded to hand felt.  Did not need to use any additional water except to rinse when done.  I need to do a little more research to confirm that microwaving uses less energy than the gas hot water heater, but I know I did not use anywhere near the amout of water.    More tests coming up.


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