The Big Felt!

So about 18 months ago I decided I needed a new laptop bag in my life. I wanted something, big and cablely and fabulous to transport my laptop, notebooks, stationary, documents, books, magazines, lunch, phone….and everything else I always try and cram into my existing one!

With a vague idea of what I wanted I started the Ravelry search and came upon this lovely design Quinn Cabled Bag by Yvonne Kao. Next stop was Hobbycraft to purchase some lovey yarn. After much hmmming and ahhhhing I settled on this – 100% merino Rowan Big Wool in the shade Champion (065)

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And here is the end result.


The plan was to line it all with a heavyweight cotton and I designed the strap so I could find one of those things that makes it adjustable.

And then I just lost all heart…I don’t know why. Maybe it was the thought of sewing all the lining in, or maybe I realised that I was going to need a centre division to separate the laptop from all my books and files, plus extra pockets for the charger and everything else and it just didn’t seem so practical anymore 😦

So it’s been sitting at the bottom of my yarn box for the last year and a half. Every now and then I take it out, sigh, think what a waste and then hide it away again in the hope that one day I will be inspired to finally finish what I started!

And then today, as I was rifling through my yarn box I had a brainwave – why not try and felt it? I have never felted anything before, this was a perfect opportunity to give it a go.

Made from 100% wool, check. Big bag that could do with being smaller, check. Washing machine, check.

Next stop – internet ‘How to felt wool in a front loading washing machine’. Do you ever wish you hadn’t asked something? This is just some of the advice I found – Don’t felt in a front loading washing machine, use a toploader. Don’t add detergent, use wool wash instead. Don’t add anything at all. Use towels. Never use towels but you can use jeans. Put in with rest of washing. Put in on it’s own. Aaaggh! So I am winging it.

I laid the bag out to take the ‘before’ measurements and trotted upstairs to find an old pillowcase. Guess who found himself a comfy spot as soon as my back was turned….Hello Pea!


The machine is now set on hot wash and I am waiting with baited breath.

Oh, and I added a little cube of wool wash, 1 big bath towel and 2 tea towels that needed washing anyway 😉

I’ll let you know how it goes…..

C&G Hand Knit Textiles, knitting

C&G Hand Knit Textiles – Module 1

So module 1 is completed and I passed, yay!

There were 9 activities in this module broken down into 2 sections, Knitting and Underpinning Knowledge.

Activity 1 – Samples of Cast-ons and Cast-offs

In this activity I had to work a number of cast-ons and cast-offs. A real eye opener for me as I had always stuck to the same method for each before.

Sample 1 – Long tail cast-on / Knitted cast-off – these are the 2 methods that I had always used.

Sample 1 - Long Tail Cast on / Knit Cast off

Sample 2 – Knit cast-on / Knit 2 tog cast-off


Sample 3 – Picot stitch cast-on / knit and purl cast-off


Sample 4 – Invisible cast-on / Sewn cast-off / Knit 1 Purl 1 rib


Sample 5 – Knotted edge cast-on / Picot edge cast-off


Sample 6 – Cable cast-on / Double crochet cast-off


Activity 2 – Selvedges

Another new area for me.

Sample 1 – Chain Selvedge


Sample 2 – Double slipped garter selvedge


Sample 3 – Picot selvedge


Sample 4 – Eyelet selvedge


Sample 5 – Double chain selvedge


Activity 3 – Hems and Edgings

In this activity I had to work a number of edgings, hemmed and decorative.

Sample 1 – Hemmed Edge


Sample 2 – Seed stitch ruffle


Sample 3 – Picot wave hem


Sample 4 – Petite Shells Edging


Sample 5 – Scalloped leaves


Sample 6 – Fan edging


Activity 4 – Tension Swatches

This activity explored how to accurately measure tension using different yarns and stitch patterns.

Sample 1 – Smooth Yarn


Sample 2 – Textured Yarn


Sample 3 – Textured stitch


Activity 5 – A Test Sample

Here I used a number of different needles with the same yarn to swatch the best gauge.


Activities 6 and 7 looked at underpinning knowledge. I had to report on any exhibitions, museums or galleries I had visited and take lots of photos for future inspiration and start a reference file of local yarn stores and collect items that I might consider for future use.

Activity 8 looks at Designer Makers – I chose to research Steve Plummer as I was inspired by his ‘Illusion Knitting’ techniques.

Here is a sample I made from Steve Plummers ‘Squares that Look Round’ wall hanging pattern. When viewed straight on the circle cannot be seen, however through the use of raised stitches when viewed from an angle you can clearly see the shape.


Activity 9 – Yarn File

This activity focuses on the properties of pure wool, mohair and silk. A report was written on each fibre detailing how they are produced, their properties and care.

Wool Sample 1 – Chunky wool


Wool sample 2 – Merino wool

Chain Selvedge

Wool sample 3 – Chunky stitches


Wool sample 4 – Fine wool stitch sample


Mohair sample 1 – Basic sample


Mohair sample 2 – loose gauge


Silk sample 1 – Basic sample


Silk sample 2 – Lace


Overall I really enjoyed this module and although it’s only the first one I learnt so much! I have now completed module 2 and will post pictures of this once it has been returned from assessment.

If anyone is considering undertaking this course I would highly recommend it! The course I am doing is run by Fiona Morris at ‘Distance Knitting’. There is a lot of work involved but if you love knitting as much as I do then you will really enjoy it.

Module 1 – Completed!