In the coming days, this will be a photo storyboard that shows how to finish the Petit Four Bag. If you do not see answered here your burning question about finishing this bag, please post your question in the comment section and I will answer your question (and others are free to suggest answers as wel). I will check the comments often to answer any burning questions. I am working on my bag now and am making this sample bag in Shepherd’s Wool (Stonehedge Fiber Mill) in Misty Blue. My idea is the Spring sky as a canvas against which we see a bouquet of sweetheart rose buds. One 250 yd skein of Shepherd’s Wool is sufficient to make the bag.
1. Bag before felting
2. Bag as it looks when it comes out of the washer
I’ve heard many a knitter/felter say that they don’t spin their bags in the washer because they have heard that this causes set in creases. I’ve never found this to be the case. What I believe (and have seen evidence of time and time again) is that set in creases develop during agitation. This is why it is imperative that you check your felting often, take it out of the washer, move it around, shape it, and then drop it back in the water again. This is the best defense against dasterdly creases.
And have no fear of spin-drying your felting.
3. The felted bag & how to deal with twist in the bag
You may find that, depending on the yarn you use, your bag has a slight twist in it when it comes out of the washer. This is caused by the yarn itself being plied with a twist in it. This is called “unbalanced” yarn. It’s not a terrible thing–we see it often when our t-shirts twist to one side at the bottom. But it is a bit annoying in this bag. It by no means indicates that your bag is ruined. Several of the bags pictured on the pattern have a bit of a twist. You can mitigate the twist with your blocking efforts (see below), and by simply putting your fists in the bottom of the bag, one on each side, and twisting against the twist in the bag. Common sense will, I think, tell you what to do.
4. The Flaps are, well, FLAT before sewing & molding
The molded look of the bag flaps are one of the things I love about this bag. But the bag does NOT come out of the washer looking that way. It is flat as a pancake after you pull it out of its lumpy shape. As you can see in the picture above, the bottom side has been molded –just with my finger tips–and sewn to the frame. The top flap is flat and will remain flat without your manipulation.
In the picture above, you can see from a side angle, and without the interference of the frame, what it looks like when one side is molded (left) and the other unmolded (right). You are, in other words, entirely responsible for the molded look and this can be accomplished fairly easily with determined finger tips and the way you sew the flap to the frame (frames available at your LYS through Noni in four finishes: bronze and gunmetal–these two finishes seem to go with just about anything–and also gold and silver).
5. Sewing the Flaps on the Frame DAMP: How to position the needle/manipulating the felt of the flap to give it a molded look.
In the picture above, I have molded the felt and then inserted the needle through one of the holes in the frame and then through the felt at an angle. In other words, you run your needle through (and thus parallel to) the flap for about a quarter inch before coming out. Turn the needle around and go back into the felt almost where you came out and at the same angle. If this is not yet clear from the pictures, please comment below and I’ll see if I can do better. To help, I have shown below what NOT to do. If I were sewing this on flat, I would go straight through the felt from front to back as the picture below depicts.
I like to finish bags when they are damp. I find this give my finished product a really terrific, crisp look. In this case, it allows you to give the top of the bag the molded look–never fear if you already felted your bag and even sewed it on the frame. Just take off frame, get the bag damp and use your finger tips to mold the tops of the flaps as you sew the flap to the frame.
6. A ball of Galway: The perfect blocking tool
I put a full ball of Plymouth Galway in the bag. I found it to be just the right width and length and it maintained that molded felt look I was going for. A longer skein is, I think, too long. You can find balls of yarn that will work in your stash, most likely.
Here is the bag finished with the ball of Galway inside (above)
7. Sewing on the flowers
I used a double strand of sewing thread and a sharp needle to sew on the flowers. Sew on one at a time or arrange together and hold in place as you sew on as a group. I sewed all the way through flower buds, stems, and bag each time, using long running sts on the inside of the bag and invisible sts on the outside of the bag. If you don’t want your stitches to show on the inside of the bag either, run the thread through the bag fabric itself and poke the needle tip out where you want the next stitch to be (images coming for all these steps!).
8. Stiffener strip in the bottom
Darice Extra Stiff plastic “artist canvas” works well to stiffen the bottom of the bag. I cut to shape and fit and then sew in using long running stitches and a double-strand of sewing thread and a sharp needle. Make invisible stitches on the outside of the bag by coming out and going back in in about the same place–you can work in a crazy color and the felt will hide your stitches. Do your long runs on the inside of the bag. Once the stiffener is tacked in well, put the bag feet on. Your LYS can order this product from Noni for you if you don’t have it or something like it available near you.
9. Tiny bag feet
I used tiny bag feet I got from JULSilver.com. She’s got great stuff for bags. I used the tiny bag feet in the “colors” collection on the Ruby Wine bag and the pale colors bags. I used tiny brass screw-in feet she has listed in the “bag hardware” section on my dark chocolate/aubergine bag. For my Misty blue bag (here), I’ll use the frosted clear tiny bag feet in the colors collection or the brass screw in feet. You’ll want to spend some time looking at all the tasty offerings on the JUL website–the owrner Laura is a metal worker/designer, so most of what you see on the site is her own design and you won’t see the buttons, bag jewelry, and other lovelies anywhere else. BEAUTIFUL stuff. Call her for your local retailers listings if you don’t see anybody close on the store locator.
10. Carry your bag with glee!