General Ginger Knits

random thoughts on knitting and the universe

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

advice for front loaders & bag bottoms

Thank you all for your lovely compliments about my felted bags. I highly recommend them to those of you who haven't created one yet. It is so much fun! Its also a fantastic beginner project.

Several of you asked me what the secret is to felting in a front loading washer. Having just completed another couple of bags last night (pictures forthcoming) I think I may have the answer. This time I did not put the tennis ball in with the bags. I did place several towels in with them and used the longest setting. This setting started on prewash with hot water and rinsed in cold. I still found that I had to put the bags in again for a second washing. I have heard that this is not uncommon for top loading washers as well, so expect that to happen. I wanted a really felted look for the bags. Next time around I will place them in a closable pillow case. I didn't really think that much fuzz was released but after a thorough inspection of my machine I spied some loose fuzz down in its innards.

foam core

I've found that the bottom of my bags need some sort of reinforcement. For the longest time I couldn't really figure out what to do about that without having to sew anything. Then I hit upon the idea of foam core board. You buy the stuff poster board size at the craft store for just a couple of dollars. It even comes in a variety of cheery colors. I simply plopped the bag down on the board, whipped out my handy dandy Xacto knife, and cut it to size. I also cut off a bit of the corners so a sharp edge won't poke out. Then I slipped it into the bottom of the bag and presto! A stiff board to keep the bottom of the bag from sagging with a bright color to lift your spirits while you're rifling around for your keys. What do you folks who felt use in the bottom of your bags to dispel the sag?


Blogger amanda said...

ah, the sag. i use that crazy plastic stuff with squares punched into it. i get it at hobby lobby...same stuff as the older ladies make those embroidered tissue box holders out of (yep, the ones they sell at every church craft fair). and if i'm feeling real spunky, i wrap it in coordinating fabric. i'm such a big spender, eh?

9:08 AM  
Blogger Miriam said...

I haven't had a problem with my Oregon Tote bag bottom sagging. It's Lamb's Pride Bulky, knitting in garter stitch and it's completely felted, so it's stuuuuuurdy! But I have heard of using the plastic canvas stuff like Amanda suggested. The fabric is a good idea too. If you line the bags, you could sew the plastic canvas or glue the foam board to the lining. :)

10:04 AM  
Blogger LMH said...

Wonderful bags! They ARE fun to make, aren't they (well, maybe not the knitting-with-huge-needles part, but the felting part). I don't reinforce the bottoms on mine; I felt them really stiffly instead. I also only use them for knitting bags so they don't carry much weight anyway; though I did give one to my sister, which she uses as a purse. I should ask whether the bottom needs to be stiffer & give her your idea of a bottom thing. Also: my very old, decrepit washer has very strong agitation, but I still have to agitate for 45 mins to an hour to get a good, solid felt--and that's with easily felting Lopi.


10:40 AM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Thanks for the felting advice! I'm so excited -- I think I'll give it a try this weekend. Great idea to use foamcore.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Wool Winder said...

I read somewhere to use quilting template plastic. Instead I used a plastic placemat I had a home. I was thinking that those flexible cutting mats would be good too. None of these would give as much support as foam board though.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Valerie said...

I've used the cover of a notebook (cardboard in plastic), and the the plastic mesh, but with a doubled bulky weight garter stitch on the botton of the last piece I made there was no need.

(I just got more Cascade 220 in the mail from the sale at WEBS today, and I'll be felting soon myself.)

5:54 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

You smarty-pants!! That is such a great idea to use the foam board! It makes me want to knit a pocket to slip it into...what do think?

I live in an apartment building and our laundry room only giant front-loading machines. I put it on hot with jeans or towels, I use a mesh bag I got from Patternworks and sometimes I even unplug the machine for a little bit so it can just sit in hot water for a little extra time. I have to be sneaky because my neighbors are not particulary psyched with this behavior!

9:49 AM  

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