This fall, I got hooked on felting knitted hand bags and made two as gifts for our daughters.

Satisfied with the first tries, I’m planning to make more. These purses do save a lot of money, and we are lucky that we prefer unusual designs for handbags.

This is a pattern for one of them. It’s a large hobo handbag, lined and interlined with inside pockets and magnetic snap closure.

Materials:

2.5 skeins Knit Picks Wool of the Andes bulky

Size 13 US 24″ circular needle

less than a yard of lining material, contrast fabric for pockets

magnetic snap

canvas or plastic interlining

Start at the top of the bag on this one. With MC, cast on 100st with circular needle, join to make round, careful not to twist stitches. Knit in stockinette stitch (knit all rows) for 22″.

Bottom:

Next row mark for bottom rectangle: Knit 12st, place marker(pm), knit 38 st, pm, knit 12st, pm, k38st, pm. Dec 1st each side of marker, each corner, until rectangle is complete, approx 32st remain. Pull cord of needle through middle of st, creating 16st on each side of circular points. Use Kitchener stitch or grafting method or knit the two sides together using a third single point needle, casting off knitting both sides together.

I-cord straps:

Make two I-cords for straps: cast on 3st, using both colors together. Work i-cord on the three stitches for 30in. Bind off.
Felting:

Pre-felted handbag will be approximately 22″ long and 15″ wide. Do not sew on straps on the purse until they have been fulled, along with the bag. In order to full the purse, run through hottest wash cycle of machine with a little wool wash and a pair of heavy jeans to agitate. Keep an eye on the felting process. Wool felts at various amounts of time. When purse is felted to your liking, rinse and pat damp dry between towels.

Design, optional:

If you would like to embellish the handbag with a design, do so in the midst of felting. Just before purse is fulled to your liking, remove wet bag and loosely embroider design, return to machine to finish. Design will then be defined, as it will be less felted than the handbag. Fine embroidery, as in the eyes and nut of this squirrel can be done after purse has dried.


Drying your handbag:

After damp drying between towels, shape the purse, as it is drying by stuffing the wet purse with a sturdy gift box for this particular design. You can also use plastic shopping bags. Place on a towel, as it will still be somewhat wet and as the handbag dries, it will weep. Let dry, may take a few days, turning over once a day to dry fully on both sides of the purse.
Lining and interlining the purse:

Before adding lining, reinforce handbag by loosely sewing to the inside interlining pieces cut to fit your bag. Use small stitches on the outside and pull thread through so they won’t show on the outside. For outer lining, fold fabric in half and cut 1/2″ larger than bag on sides for seam allowance. If you want to do an inner pocket for cell phone and/or keys, now is the time. Sew rectangle sides together. Stand lining up and fold triangles to make corners. For more information on lining, I used Laughing Purple Goldfish, great lining tutorial.


Insert magnetic snap to lining, according to package instructions, and sew on straps to the felted bag before securing final stages of lining. Finished bag is 13″ by 14″, which doesn’t include the straps.

This free knitting pattern is meant for personal use only, not for resale or personal gain monetarily. Pattern and photos are owned and copyrighted by Sharon Watterson, 2010. Please do not use them without contacting me. These free patterns are protected under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License. These patterns are for personal and non-profit use only.

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