Lesson: Felting
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Speaking Out Without Fear »

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Pattern: Knit Your Mind Felted Bag

Because it's Banned Books Week, I've designed this felted bag to use to carry my book with me, and to promote free speech and the First Amendment.

FeltedBagFront FeltedBagBack  

For those who are not familiar with the United States Constitution, the First Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

This bag allows you to speak your mind visually, by incorporating an intarsia motif representing something you are passionate about. I've included several charts that illustrate my own passions, but you can easily substitute another design.

This is the chart I used on my bag. It means "straight but not narrow" and I'm proud to carry it in support of my gay and lesbian friends who are facing so much discrimination and hate these days.


This peace sign chart speaks for itself. I believe war should always be the last resort, only considered after every other option is exhausted. I also believe that starting a war is always immoral.


This chart is my adaption of the logo from Eve Ensler's V-Day web site, promoting a global movement to stop violence against women and girls.

If you've never read or listened to Eve's Vagina Monologues, you really should. It's educational, enlightening, and entertaining. If you're a woman and you haven't been able to enjoy your sexuality, Eve's message will set you free.


The classic feminist symbol, promoting equal rights for all women. "Feminism is the Radical Notion that Women are People."


In 1978, Gilbert Baker of San Francisco designed and made a flag with six stripes representing the six colors of the rainbow as a symbol of gay and lesbian community pride. Slowly the flag took hold, offering a colorful and optimistic alternative to the more common pink triangle symbol. Today it is recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers, and is flown in lesbian and gay pride marches worldwide. Read more.


Julius Lester, a Newberry award winning children's author, keeps a human skull on his desk to remind him that we are all alike underneath our superficial differences. In his memoir, On Writing for Children and Other People, he says that in our "skullness," we "exist beyond and separate from defintions of gender, race, and all the socio-political definitions which hang from our limbs and rattle like the chains of Jacob Marley's ghost." What a great writer!


Approx 11 inches wide x 12 inches tall before felting

Approx 8 1/2 inches wide x 10 inches tall after felting


Size 11 U.S. straight and 2 double-pointed needles


Color A: Approx 200 yards of worsted or bulky weight yarn in a solid color

Color B: Approx 100 yards of worsted or bulky weight in a contrasting color, or the colors used in your selected chart

Tip: For a larger bag, use a double strand of worsted-weight yarn, and size 13 needles. The peace bag was made with a single strand of yarn on size 11 needles; the skull bag was made with a double strand of yarn on size 13 needles.

I used Plymouth Galway Worsted (100% Wool - Worsted Weight, 5 sts = 1"/US8 needle / 210 yds/100g ball).


Approx 3 sts = 1 inch over stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row) before felting


This bag is knit back-and-forth from the bottom up, using Intarsia color work. The bag is felted after the knitting is complete. See this month's lessons if you are unfamiliar with either of these techniques.

With color A, cast on 67 stitches.

Work 6 rows in stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row).

Change to color B. Work 4 rows in stockinette stitch.

Change to color A. Work 4 rows in stockinette stitch.

Next row (RS), set up chart patterns. Knit 22 sts, place marker, work 23 sts of chart, place marker, knit 22 sts.

Continue following chart and working in stockinette stitch until all rows of chart have been worked. Slip the markers whenever you come to them.

Change to color A. Work 4 rows in stockinette stitch.

Change to color B. Work 4 rows in stockinette stitch.

Change to color A. Work 6 rows in stockinette stitch. Bind off.


Fold bag in half and sew center back seam.

Fold bag so seam is in center back, and sew bottom seam.

Straps (make 2)

With color A and double-pointed needles, cast on 3 sts. Work in I-cord as follows, until strap measures approx 16 inches.

*K3, do not turn. Slide sts to other end of double-pointed needle. Repeat from *.

When strap is desired length, bind off.

Sew straps to bag, weave in ends, and felt in washing machine.

Posted by Donna at 12:07 PM
Categories: Patterns