Un-Felting: or How to Use Any Noni Bag Pattern to Make a Knitted (not felted) Bag

If you love bags but you’re just not crazy about felting (admittedly, the larger and more structured bags are a lot of work sometimes . . . but worth the effort, I think).  OR you just want to make a knitted but not felted bag for Spring or Summer, here is how to do it using your favorite Noni bag pattern.

It’s actually quite simple. All you have to do is achieve in your knitted bag the “felted” gauge and then follow the instructions in the pattern as written.

Magic Gauge for Double-Strand Felted Bags:

Bags that call for a double-strand of worsted weight feltable yarn using a size 11 (8 mm) needle:  4 sts and 6 rows per inch or 16 sts and 24 rows over 4 inches (10 cm) on a size 9 -10 1/2  (5.5 – 6.5 mm) needle or size to obtain gauge.

Magic Gauge for Single-Strand Felted Bags:

Bags that call for a single-strand of worsted weight feltable yarn using a size 8 (5 mm) needle: 6 sts and 8 rows per inch or 24 sts and 32 rows over 4 inches /10 cm on size 4 (3.5 mm) needle or size to obtain gauge.

Best Choices

If you love fine finishing, the entire Noni pattern collection is your world.  Pick anything and have at it.

If you are less crazy about structuring and finishing, then it’s best to pick the more unstructured bags that don’t require as much work to make them look good.  Here are some of my top picks:

Adventure Bag

Nomad Bag

Flamenco Bag

Bowling Ball Bag

3 Confections

Pretty Bauble

3 Nights in a Row–the flowers also look great unfelted with a little blocking

Little Bags

Sheep Bag

Sunflower Beach Bag (use a very stiff, sturdy fiber, such as linen or raffia)

Perfect Fit Laptop Bag (also use a stiff fiber)

Ok, the list is getting a bit long.  I also like Petit Four Bag, Cherry Blossom Bag, Lattice Bag would be really cool with the cable work and some stiffener in the bottom only and a zipper top closure. Market would be nice, and lots of others. If you make one of these on the list or another of your favorites, please send a picture to me at nora@nonipatterns.com and I’ll put the picture of your bag in this posting. Please include what fiber you used, your needle size, and let us know other details, such as whether you feel it should be lined or can be left unlined.

Yarn Options I’ve Swatched

This is a partial list, of course.  There are LOTS of options in any knitting store and likely some in your existing stash.  I took some time a few days ago to peruse my shelves of yarn, to swatch some things I love, and to try out new fibers. Here are the results of a few hours of swatching.  If you have tried other fibers that work well or find something after reading this posting, please comment below with fibers that work.  Let us know whether you held the yarn double or not, what size needle you used, etc., so we can duplicate your results.

to convert double-strand felted bags . . .

  • Crystal Palace Yarns’ Deco Ribbon single on a US 10/6 mm (70% acrylic 30% nylon) 88 yds/81 m.
  • Frog Tree Yarns’ Picoboo doubled on a US 10/6 mm (60% cotton 40% bamboo) 116 yds/106 m.
  • Louet’s Merlin doubled on a US 9/5.5 mm (70% merino 30% linen) 156 yds/142 m.
  • Plymouth Yarn’s Fantasy Naturale single on a US 9/5.5 mm (100% mercerized cotton) 140 yds/128 m.
  • Schaefer Yarns’ Laurel single on a US 9/5.5 mm (100% mercerized Pima cotton) 400 yds/365 m.
  • Schaefer Yarns’ Sandra single on a US 9/5.5 mm (78% cotton 22% rayon) 225 yds/205 m.
  • Skacel Collection’s Urban Silk doubled on a US 9/5.5 mm (80% silk 20% cotton) 93 yds/85 m.
  • Universal Yarns’ Panda doubled on a US 9/5.5 mm  (100% Bamboo) 98 yds/90 m.

to convert single-strand felted bags . . .

  • ArtYarns’ Beaded Ensemble on a US 4/3.5 mm (85% silk & beads, 35% Cashmere & metallic thread) 125 yds/114 m.
  • Frog Tree Yarns’ Picoboo on a US 4/3.5 mm (60% cotton 40% bamboo) 116 yds/106 m.
  • Louet’s Merlin on a US 4/3.5 mm (70% merino 30% linen) 156 yds/143 m.
  • Schaefer Yarn’s Susan on a US 5/3.75 mm (100% mercerized Pima cotton) 470 yds/430 m.
  • Tilli Tomas’s Disco Lights on a US 4/3.5 mm (100% silk with sequins) 225 yds/206 m.
  • Tilli Tomas’s Plie on a US 4/3.5 mm (100% spun silk, embellished or not) 120 yds/110 m.

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