Thursday, August 5, 2010

Knitting Project: A Felted Backpack

All knitters know that if you are going on a trip, you need to take a knitting project, something small and not too complicated, enough yarn so you don't run out, and the correct needles. For our trip last week, I decided to knit a backpack-type bag to felt, inspired by a conversation with my oldest daughter -the one who keeps leaving her wallet in her sister's or my handbags when we go out together -who she said she likes backpacks better than handbags.

I am not much of a knitter, so I adapted a pattern that was designed as a child's knitting project. I was hoping that would reduce the number of problems I encountered, but since my math and spatial skills are less than limited, I still made a key mistake (there is a reason the drawstring holes were an uneven number). I had to change the design a bit for it to work out but I am actually pleased with the end result.

Make sure and use a fiber that felts easily. For this project I used handspun Corriedale yarn made from Kia's wool which felts beautifully.

I just finished it last night and here are the directions for anyone wanting a REALLY easy project.

A Felted Backpack
Adapted from Kids knitting by Melanie Falick
300 yards Main Color (MC) -8 wpi Kia dyed Teal
100 yards Contrast Color (CC) -8 wpi Natural Colored Kia with dyed Red and Purple
24 inch US 10 1/2 circular needles

CO 48 st MC and K in garter stitch until it measured 5 inches. This is the bottom of the backpack.

PU end, other side and other end, 105 st and then K in the round to make the body of the backpack. Continue knitting in round until it measures 9-10 inches.

To make drawstring holes, BO 5 st, K 5 st for one round. Knit next round, CO 5 st above the BO 5 of previous row. K 2 rounds. BO 60 st leaving 45 st to make the flap.

Change to CC yarn for flap (I knit both yarns for one row). Continue knitting in garter stitch until flap measures 4 1/2 inches (6 inches if you want a longer flap and have enough yarn). To make buttonhole, K 20 st, BO 5 st, K 20 st. Continue knitting in garter stitch for 1-2 inches more. BO all stitches.

CO 5 st using the CC yarn and knit I-cord until measured 50 -60 inches. I is for idiot but I always have to look up the directions on how to knit one. You pull the needle through and then knit, pulling the yarn from the opposite side to make a tube. Kids Knitting has good pictures and directions.

Thread I-cord through drawstring holes. Crossover or overlap in back so the ends come out and can be drawn down to attach to bottom corners of backpack. Sew cord to bottom corners very securely.

To felt, wash hot and rinse cold in washing machine with detergent and a faded pair of denim jeans (to aid in felting). Dry flat. Sew on button.

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