Bag it

sophie postfelt

Finished object: Sophie bag
Yarn: KnitPicks Decadence (100% alpaca, bulky weight), Winter Berry
Needles: US 11 16″ circular and dpns

I bought this yarn because KnitPicks was having a sale on their luxury yarns. So far I haven’t knitted with anything approaching luxury. And I wanted a bag. After much deliberation I settled on MagKnit/Black Sheep Bag’s Sophie. There were two new techniques I needed to learn — picking up and knitting stitches along the bottom’s garter-stitch edge, and I-cord for the handles. But I felt confident I could do them.

And look! I did. It’s beautiful! I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Notes from along the way: I missed a couple of decreases somewhere along the way, and ended up at the top of the bag with a few extra stitches. No problem — just adjusted the bind-off so that the handles were placed correctly. In the girl’s dress I’m knitting next (the good Lord willing), I’ll have to be more careful, though … For the first time I literally broke the yarn — by pulling on it too hard while making I-cord. So I learned a technique I hadn’t expected to learn: the spit-splice. The fact that it was going to be felted gave me confidence that I couldn’t run into too much trouble … I think I’m a bit of a felting coward. I probably didn’t felt this as much as I could have. You can’t see the stitches anymore, but it’s not stiff, and it’s a little pilly and nubby. But it looked so pretty after only 10 minutes in the wash cycle that I could hardly bear to give it more than a couple more minutes.

Here’s what it looked like pre-felting:
Sophie prefelt

Before: H 12.5″, W 13″, D 6″, straps 24″ twisted together
After: H 8″, W 10″, D 4″, straps 25″ twisted together (yes, the straps actually stretched)

It’s something of a miracle to see that shapeless pouch become a sleek trapezoid. I used a beard trimmer (badly) to shave some of the fuzz off (badly), then brushed it with one of Cady Gray’s abandoned baby brush. Even though it’s perfectly lovely, I’ll probably try a sweater stone next time.

Oh, by the way — I figured out what I’m going to do with my beautiful Mogul scarf. It’ll be off to adorn the neck of a collegiate foster child in the fall, courtesy of the Orphan Foundation of America’s Red Scarf Project.

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6 Comments on “Bag it”


  1. The bag came out great! I need to make a mental note to track down that pattern after I’m done working on my current bag project. I think it’s great you’re going to donate the scarf to the Red Scarf Project! When I’m bored, I work on a red scarf for the same purpose.


  2. Great job! As adventurous as you are with learning new things, I just don’t understand what you find so daunting about felting. And just 10 minutes?! With the felted needle rolls I’ve made, I think they’ve gone through two complete wash cycles, mainly because I figure I haven’t felted enough.

    Isn’t the spit splice a really cool trick? I’ve had yarn break on me at inopportune spots or encountered bad spots in the yarn where I have to break it. Granted, not all of those were capable of being fixed with saliva. Too bad, I say.

    Just wait until you get all sorts of compliments on your stylish new bag and you can take all the credit. 🙂

  3. Jenn Says:

    Lovely bag–I’ve really got to felt something neat soon. My friend gave me this great handspun yarn that I might make into a felted bag–I think it would be neat.


  4. Beautiful bag, Donna! I really enjoy felting and making felted bags. Enjoy yours!

  5. ADAllen Says:

    I’ve been eyeballing that pattern for a while. I really want to make it, but I haven’t bought any natural yarn yet.

  6. jsoliver Says:

    Sorry to disagree, but I prefer French New Wave. But admittedly, the last Italian Neorealist movie I saw was the Battle of Algiers, and that was close to three years ago. I appreciate it, but it doesn’t quite strike the same chord with me. I even thought Fellini’s movies got better as he drifted away from neorealism.

    Besides, Godard would hold negatives up to the light to see better…while wearing sunglasses! And trying to make out the images through the smoke of his own cigarette? He practically lived his own brand of contradiction and silliness.


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