Felted tablet bag tutorial or My leftovers crochet project

I was always very interested in how the leftovers of yarn can be used. I have really many of them: different types of yarn, different colors and textures. For example I had some pure wool left after making these felted flower brooches. I decided to use them and train once again in felting. And then I thought about writing a kind of tutorial for those of you who are like me only at the entrance to a fantastic felted world.
According to different sources yarn usually felts up to 30%-40%. Of course everything depends on the yarn itself, but also on washing program and the way you crochet. It is believed the looser stitches are made the better felting will be: all the spaces inside the stitches should disappear after felting. It is also said that if the crocheted piece was felted in a right way it can be cut with the scissors without damaging stiches, because stitches themselves don’t exist anymore (well, I have never tried…).
To achieve excellent result it is very important to use right type of yarn for felting. In other words not every yarn will felt. For example, cotton and viscose don’t felt, even pure wool with “super wash” mark will either not be felted. If you have any doubts about the yarn, you’d better ask a seller in a store.
For me the best choice is pure wool. I had some wool “Alaska” by DROPS left, six colors, different length.
I was thinking for a while what I can do of it. And then an idea came to me: this is a great shame of mine, but I still don’t have a proper storage bag for my needles and hooks. I don’t have very many of them as I usually prefer to crochet and knit with one or two sizes. But anyway they needed to be organized in some way.  Well, I chose a hook 3,5 mm and made ch60 (which is approximately 43 cm with my yarn). I decided to change color on every row. To attach new yarn I just pulled it from back to front under both loops of the 1st dc (double crochet stitch) of previous row and made ch2 and 1dc in the same stitch where the yarn was attached.
After making ch60 skip 2 ch from the hook and crochet 1dc in the 3rd ch (these skipped 2 ch will count as a 1st dc of the row), then crochet 1dc in every ch till the end, and the last dc will be made in a sleep knot. So I got 60 dc (the 1st one is ch2). Turn your work, ch2 (will count as a 1st dc of the row), 59 dc. Repeat as many rows as you like.
I decided to keep crocheting as long as I have any yarn left. Few times the yarn was over before I finished the row, so I just joined the yarn of another color as I crocheted. I think for such a project color changes inside one row can look attractive.
When all the yarn was over I got such a piece (43 cm x 29 cm / 17 inches x 11 ½ inches).
Now felting time comes. Can you imagine how excited and nervous I was when putting my new “bag” into washing machine? Be aware that your yarn can lose its color while being washed that’s why it is recommended to put it inside an old pillow cover or just a piece of fabric, and should be washed with similar colors and clothes that will definitely not lose color themselves. Of course it is possible to wash the bag alone, but it sounds not so much earth-friendly to me.

TIP: I was advised to put a large raw towel and few tennis balls together with a felted piece into washing machine. Bumping by balls should help the air to get away from the stitches for better result. I did not do that… But you can try! It would be great to hear about your own experience. I was also advised to check the piece after the first washing cycle, and if it is not felted enough – to repeat. I used 40 degree program for cotton and linen. A little more than hour of waiting and… WOW! This is what I got after felting:
I put my bag into a pillow cover but did not tie it properly so it fell out during washing. Well, it lost a loooot of fibers, and my black socks were completely spoiled! But the bag came out (surprisingly) almost dry, and I did not have to wait for long hours and days, like it was with my flower brooches.
But anyway felted piece should always be shaped when it is wet. After drying you will not be able to change its shape and you will have to put it in the water again! In case with our bag it is important to give it a shape of rectangle. It can be made for example by blocking. Just put your wet crocheted piece onto flat horizontal surface (don’t forget to put some light fabric or towel under it to absorb the moisture), check all the angels, pin it and leave until it dries out.

New size of my bag is 24 cm * 37 cm. It means my bag was felted only at 17% in width and 14% in height. And still the finished piece is very thick with no spaces inside stitches (…hm, and probably it can be cut by scissor without a problem). Maybe it would felt more if I put it to another cycle, but I am quite satisfied with this size as it perfectly suits my needles and hooks’ length.
Did you notice that some stripes are wide and others are narrow?
This is very strange, because I used one and the same yarn (different colors). And the gauge was more or less the same as I had crocheted the whole piece in an hour without stops which could theoretically influence the gauge. This proves that it is not very easy to predict the size of finished product after felting. So if you want to felt something and the size is very important, you’d better train with small motifs first!

And only now I understood I probably made a huge mistake not crocheting sides together before felting. Now the only way I see is to crochet sides together with single crochet stitch. It is really hard to do it as there are no wholes at all. But I think such a border looks quite nice and decorative, and both sides of the bag can serve as right.
The only thing left is to sew a zip and my needles and hooks will find a new cozy home! I went to bed with this thought planning to visit a store in the morning and buy some zip. But suddenly an idea came to my mind! What if I try to put my tablet into this bag! And (great!!!) it perfectly suited the size! So I bought a button instead of zip next morning.

I think my hooks and needles should wait for another storage bag… And this tablet bag can be a nice present for a friend!

P.S. you can use this pattern to make felted flower brooches. Just choose some yarn that will felt, and (!) replace all hdc by dc, and dc by tr in the pattern – in other words make longer and looser stitches! Good luck and have a nice felting time!

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