People, please, remind me that I am felt-challenged. Next time you read or hear my words - "bet that wool'd felt like a bugger" smack me - HARD.
My Bag Swap Pal is going to be a tad disappointed if she thinks she's getting a lovely knitted bag from me.
First I knitted an enormous garter stitch mitred square front. Looks a little large, but this yarn is so sticky, it'll felt like a bugger - no worries.
Then I knitted a matching mitred square back. 400g seems a lot of wool to have used by this point, but, you know - felting shrinks about 30% right? - no worries.
I ran out of garter stitch puff about then, but I only had the long garter stitch band that is the base sides and strap, - no worries.
Over the Canberra Day long weekend I forced myself to knit and knit and knit the garter stitch bloody band and spent 3 hours sewing the thing together. Still, it'd be worth it and I've still got a couple of weeks - no worries.
Then it was chucked in a hot wash with some similar coloured towels and a couple of pairs of jeans. First go around it looked ok, the fibres were matting and the black colour bleeding a little, but within the bounds of reason. Definitely needed another cycle, but I'd come to expect that - no worries.
3 cycles later, a good hard rubbing by hand and some hot/cold shock therapy, the bag had felted beautifully at the bottom of the sqare and along one side, not so much the strap and the other side. Also the top of the bag refused to shrink, leaving me with a fluted top instead of a sturdy square bag. I chucked it into the naughty corner for a while (because that had worked soooo well last time). Am starting to worry, but not much.
I am reminded that I have a clothes dryer, so another hot cycle for luck and into the dryer. Seriously - no change. If anything, the strap was both felting and stretching at the same time. The fibres were matting but it seemed to be getting longer. I stuffed it with a rolled up towel and left it to fully dry.
Easter Monday and mail out was due to start. The way to fix it, I decided, was to cut and sew the strap to a reasonable size and line the bag to try and straighten it up a little - no worries, just oblivious optimism.
Apparently making tomato chutney, supervising two thirteen year old budding knitters and sewing a lining from some rather lovely Indonesian fabric that had been a friend of a friend's dress, are not compatible activities. The lining refused to come together, largely because of the irregularities of the bag, but Jess has the beginnings of her first wash cloth and a few more kilos of tomatoes have been transformed into my second favourite condiment (chilli plum sauce is the most favourite).
In a vain attempt to turn a sow's ear into a felt purse and to stabilise the obvious problem stretch spots, I machine sewed a fancy stitch in a contrast colour around the edges. Not too bad, but still not the thing of beauty of my imagination.
So now it's Thursday night - tomorrow is the last day to post bags and I've begged The Shopping Sherpa to save the day. She generously provided one of her messenger bags in a colour enjoyed by my swap pal. The other little giftees are all packed and ready to go and I'm waiting for some hand-felted i-cord to dry, because the whole package is going to be wrapped in the sad excuse for a bag so that my Pal will at least know that I tried and I'm sorry.