Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Felted Bags!


The Autumn Bag: the bag has a base of a pale orange cashmere that I felted after purchase. Needle felted into it are various fibers, including some Cotswold curls and angelina. Sweeps of machine stitching, layers of roving, and hand embroidery stitches all blow across the bag, just like an autumn leaf! French knots became little highlighters and chain and herringbone stitches floated across with the leaves as well.

This all started with some inspiration from the Fiberella website which challenged me to try and make leaves.
Once the leaves were made I had to decide to do something with them., so the Autumn Bag.


My first step was to apply the rovings and needle felt them to the cashmere base with the machine felter. This was my first attempt at needle felting, so getting the rhythm of this took a bit. I found I needed to do this in very light layers to get the best effect. Lay down some wisps, pound away, then lay down another layer.
Using angelina fibers required that they be covered with an almost invisible layer of other fiber. They just would not embed by themselves.

Next I did some free motion stitching across the bag. I used teensy zigzags and a straight stitch. Assorted embroidery stitches were used to also add more texture and color, as if there weren't enough! The sides of the bag were stitched on the diagonal with a tiny zigzag.

Construction thoughts: The cashmere was felted in the washer and dryer last year and was waiting for some attention. It took easily to the needle felting process.

The actual construction of this bag was quite simple. Front and back, then the bottom, then the side seams and done! Because of the felted nature of the wool, I could stitch the seams on the outside of the bag, and add a little more interest. They were stitched a quarter of an inch in.

On the inside guts of the bag, all of the pieces were fused to Decor Bond. I cut them back a hair over the 1/4 inch edge so that when I did the exterior seam nothing would show. The inside bottom of the bag has a piece of cutting board plastic, one of my favorite things, that is covered by a "pillowcase" of the lining fabric. Its a neatly upholstered little thing and lays nicely in the bottom of the bag. It went a far way toward keeping the bag from collapsing, something I have found can easily happen with felted wool bags. Think sweaters!

The handles are faux tortoise shell from Joanns and go perfectly. Loops were made out of the lining fabric and slipped in beyond the edge of the bag so you really don't see them. You just see the handles kind of floating out. Sorry, they don't show very well in the picture. The lining is a simple quilting cotton in a monotone golden sunflower print. It was turned under and simply back stitched to the outer bag. The tiny backstitches made additional texture on the outside upper edge.

This is my very first attempt at really needle felting anything. I know there is much room for improvement. I will continue and have lots of ideas swimming around the ole noggin already. Oh, yes, there was a second needle felted bag!

Sophie's Felted Bag: This past weekend we were blessed with a long weekend visit from DD#2 and her brood. Having Jack and Sophie around was just heaven and we just couldn't have enough fun. My DB was also visiting and he knew I was enjoying them and decided to help with all the feeding and cleaning so I could spend more time with them. They both asked right away if they could go with me down to the sewing room. Both of my grandsons have a real fascination for my machines. Anyone else run into that?

We decided to make Sophie a felted bag and of course Jack wanted to help. I used cheap acrylic felt as a base, a cotton print, roving, and some ribbon. Sophie got to pick everything out by herself. I can so remember my own grandmother encouraging me to do the same. She taught me how to obtain and appreciate a stash at a very tender age. Never too young to start, ya know!
Because we were so involved in our play, we were unable to duplicate our efforts on the other side in the time that we had so that side was relegated to some machine stitches and raw edge applique appliqué. Sophie sat on a bar stool at the machine with me. Jack sat in another chair on the right. After she picked out her fibers or stitches she would yell Ready, Set, Go! That was the signal for Jack to hit the foot pedal at full bore. She got to pick out some stitches on the machine and we stitched those in too with Jack being the "peddler". We did this thru the whole process and laughed and laughed. It was wonderful!

Sophie decided she wanted a ribbon for the handle and picked out a wired taffeta piece. We fitted her to get the bag to be the right length. She loves her bag and never puts it down. She puts leaves in, rocks in it, and other goodies kids like to keepsake. I really liked how her brother was in on the fun of making it too. He is my little Opie.

Now if you only knew what I went thru to get this on the blog! My computer is finally coming together. I am still having problems with the business applications but everything else is finally back to normal. I am glad to be posting again. ....bunny







5 comments:

  1. What a beautiful bag.. just in time for Autumn.

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  2. Thanks, glad you liked it. It is being given to a friend and I hope she likes it.

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  3. Great bag and love that photo of Sophie. How nice that you were able to really spend time with the grandkids.

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  4. Awwww. What fun with the grandchildren! The bags are beautiful, but the memories are more precious. My son likes the sewing machine, too. He can sew better than his sister and has more patience, too.

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  5. My son was fascinated with sewing as a young boy. And why not - it's a big, powerful machine after all! As an adult, he will do the occasional repair (pretty rudimentary).

    My 2-yr-old grandson (child of my daughter) is also fascinated with the machine. He sits on my lap and we watch as the needle "jumps" up and down. Together we've sewn a line or two on his comforter, and he is so proud to have made it. When I visit him next week, "we" are going to sew a simple fleece jacket. He doesn't have the attention span to last for a whole jacket - no matter how simple - but he will enjoy what he does sew very much.

    I love the story of how both your grandchildren helped you make the bag. I look forward to sewing, a la Bunny, with my grandson and infant granddaughter some day.

    Thanks for sharing.

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