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Picnic Bag

Knitting
September 2008
Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi) ?
10 stitches and 14 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette stitch before felting
US 15 - 10.0 mm
828 yards (757 m)
Bottom: 13" x 8", Gussets: 5" x 12.5", Sides: 13" x 11"

Calls for one L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag, size medium. Size can be adjusted for using a different canvas bag for the base.



Kay’s felting notes:

The felting is a mite tricky–after knitting the giant bag (which goes quickly on big needles), you “prefelt” it so that it’s easier to do the duplicate-stitch design of the bird, then you felt it down to the size you really want. This requires some fortitude but you get TWICE the felting for your felting dollar. We were so nervous about it that we had someone test knit it twice. Despite some “variations” in the felting time, the bag came out fine both times. We certified it as fit to knit.

Second photo shows bag BEFORE ANY FELTING, compared to canvas tote.

Third photo shows bag AFTER THE FIRST FELTING, compared to the canvas tote. Note that it is not completely shrunk to the size of the canvas tote, but it’s shrunk enough to firm up the stitches for duplicate stitching over them. YOU CAN STILL SEE THE INDIVIDUAL STITCHES. Better to pull it out of the hot water too early than too late, at this phase.

TIP: When the bag is the right size, STOP THE CYCLE. DRAIN THE WATER. DO NOT RINSE, EVEN IN COLD WATER. (If you must rinse, rinse by hand in tepid water. Cold water after hot will cause further felting/shrinkage.) DO NOT AGITATE ANY FURTHER. Spin some of the water out, but do not spin for so long that it gets creased or upset in any way. (Doesn’t this sound like a “Posh Nosh” recipe? “Cudgel your purslane leaves gently, then spin until slightly obstreperous.”)

Be strong, my felting friends. It’s all fun.