Monday, November 12, 2012

Messengar Bag

I wanted something that reminded me of fall. I also wanted to make a bag. The above it what I came up with. It could use some improvement I think. I like the colors, contrary to what others think..ahem. I'm not sure if I like the colour of the embroidery and subsequently the buttons. There they are however, and there they shall remain!
With the thought of fall in mind, I was browsing around Knitpicks. I came across the Wool of the Andes yarn and thought to myself "self, you've not done a felted item, perhaps it's time you tried."
Three colours really stood out to me. The Maple Syrup, Merryweather, and Orange seemed to scream fall. I still think they do even though a certain someone does not...ahem.
Knitting the bag was the easy part. The following is the pattern I came up with. I realize that my note taking was terrible at the time. Writing random numbers on pieces of post-it note paper, not the best of ideas. If you happen across a mistake, please let me know.

Knitted, felted messenger bag

  • 2 balls main color wool yarn (220 yds total)
  • 2 balls CC wool yarn (220 yds total)
  • 2 ball CC 2 wool yarn (220 yds total)
  • US size 10 knitting needles
  • Tapestry needle
  • Buttons and floss for finishing
  • Gauge: not the foggiest of ideas but it was darn near what the gauge was on the label 4.5 sts = 1 inch on 9 needles
CO 150 sts
Remember that the first three and last three stitches are always knit (we don't want to make a tube!). Knit with the main color in stockinette stitch for 6 inches. Switch to the first contrasting color, and knit in stockinette stitch for another 5 1/4 inches. Switch to your final color and knit again in stockinette stitch for 6 inches. BO and weave in the ends. The end dimensions of the bag should be 43 inches long by 17 1/4 inches wide. I know it seems large, but it shrinks drastically when you felt it.

We now need to create two side panels and a handle. For the side panels, CO 20 sts in the main color. The first two and last two stitches are always knit. Knitting in stockinette stitch again, knit for 12 inches. BO and weave in the ends. Your side panel should measure 12 x 4 1/2 inches. Repeat this with the last CC you used in your bag. You now have your side panels.
For the handle, I used the middle color. Remember to always knit the first two and last two sts. CO 16 sts of your CC and knit in stockinette stitch for 50 inches. BO and weave in ends.
Now this is the fun part. We need to mattress stitch in the two side panels and the handle. I used the same color yarn to stitch the bag together i.e. orange for the orange panel and brown for the brown panel. I started with the first side panel (main color). Starting from the bottom of the bag, stitch the side panel to the side. I then repeated this with the second side panel. I then flipped the bag up (so it looks like a bag) and stitched the bottom of the side panel to the bottom of the newly formed bag. Make sure the bottom of the bag measures 4 1/2 inches wide. Next, we stitch the rest of the side panel to the bag. Done!!
For the handle, I used a running stitch in the color of the yarn I was stitching over. I put the end of the handle 2 inches inside the bag and stitched it to the side. I then repeated this with the other side.
I've never felted so I just combined the methods that I heard people use frequently to get good results. I put my bag in a pillowcase and tied the end up. I put the washing machine on hot and small load with a small amount of soap and let it do it's thing. After one wash my bag was as felted as I wanted it. After blocking (putting a book inside and letting it sit), I decided it needed to be embellished.
In the beginning, I used these buttons:
Terrible idea! I fixed it by using these buttons:
 Better. I then decided it was still too boring for me. I stitched a Celtic design in the center using light blue stranded embroidery floss. I used pekinese stitch and heavy chain stitch. A better tutorial for this design is coming soon!
 I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!


  1. What was the size of your final felted bag? Would like to know if it's big enough before I start the project. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cristie! My bag is roughly 11 1/2 inches long and 8 1/2 inches high. This will fit a large college book, a notebook or two and still have room for odds and ends like pencils and pens. You can make the bag a little larger if you need to by felting less than I did. You can also felt more than I did to make the bag a little smaller. I used a large computer programming book to block my bag into shape. Just remember that when you felt don't use cold water until you are happy with the size of your bag. Let me know if you have anymore questions.