Constant Vigilance

SWS felts in a HURRY. I timed it, and in a bit over three minutes, the bag was felted, tightly so. Not a stitch defined, anywhere. My hot water is pretty hot, but I can still fish the pillow case out bare-handed, so I think it’s the yarn, I really do. I’m almost tempted to felt it on the delicate cycle next time, just because this way requires constant vigilance!

This is the Sophie pattern, basically. I’m calling it the Not-So Sophie, because I like a shallow, barely bigger than my wallet bag that fits snugly under my arm, on my shoulder. I dropped about 12 rounds, so I decreased at 10, 20, 30, 35 and 40 rounds, and bound off after round 42. It took right at two balls of SWS, or 2oo+ yards. The colorway is Natural Navy, done on #10.5 circs, with the same sized dpns for the i-cord.

I felt in a polyester, king-size pillow case, tied shut, with four of Mugsy’s tennis balls thrown in to beat it up a bit. I add about two tablespoons of soap powder and wash on hot/cold. Then, with the Knight’s help, I stretch and pull it into the shape of choice. Anything in the house can serve as the “form” during the drying phase. If it fits into the bag and looks approximately like what I want in the end, it’s called into action.

I also took this shot for you. SWS is a great yarn for felting, but because of this very trait, I can’t imagine using it for non-felted items. A pal made me a sock bag in SWS – unfelted – and I think I might line it for future use. The early fall edition of Creative Knitting has a cardigan/jacket done in SWS on the cover. No way. It would pill and shed too badly for practical wear, I’m certain! I didn’t do anything but hold that bag in my lap while knitting away on it, and you can see how fuzzy the bottom is, and how that one “blonde” strand pulled itself loose. Of course, thanks to the nature of felting, the finished product reveals none of these little secrets, and is rock solid, tough and ready for my daily use.
I don’t get the names Patons uses for SWS colorways. There’s no navy in this wad of color. Purple (gasp! it’s true!), lots of tan and taupe that thankfully turned a solid, warm brown, a touch of grey, and the black in the unfelted version just felted into a dark grey. Still, even with the purple, I’m very pleased with the results. It’s a bit deeper than my summer Sidekick, and it won’t show dirt. Perfect.

8 comments on “Constant Vigilance

  1. Holly says:

    Love the bag! I have some SWS in my stash. Maybe I need to make my sister a bag for Christmas. Since I have become more into yarn and I can sew now (a little-very basic), she says it will be handmade gifts with a book this year.

  2. Sue J. says:

    I love the bag! If I ever get up the courage to try felting I will use this same yarn. But my ignorance is showing again. What is SWS, and is it readily available?

  3. NH Knitting Mama says:

    I have read on another blog (can’t think of where) that the SWS felts quickly. But, the bag looks good!

  4. Bubblesknits says:

    Very pretty! I love the colors!

  5. Surviving says:

    I like how your bag turned out.

  6. Wendy says:

    I just worked on a SWS felted bag as one of my PIF gifts. I put it in the wash on hot/cold but didn’t put it in a pillow case and didn’t put anything else in the wash with it. One cycle put it at a great size but it looked like maybe it could use just a little more felting in terms of still seeing the stitch defination so I put it in again for 1/2 of a cycle. Now it’s smaller than I would have liked it to be and after both washings the bag was very very fuzzy. I’m going to try again.

  7. Alana - Knit Wit says:

    Your bag turned out great! I’ve used SWS several times, and had good luck with it, too. The bag I’m carrying now is one strand of SWS and another of Lamb’s Pride. It’s got the color stripes from the SWS, and the LP left little “nubbyish” thingys throughout. I really like it.

  8. Nichole says:

    GREAT bag… love the colors!

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