Bag with integrated handle

Thanks, yet again, to the advice and encouragement from Nicola of Clasheen, I’ve made another bag – this time with an integrated handle to avoid the problems of trying to felt on a separate handle. (Also, if I’m honest, because I find making handles just a teeny bit boring!)

I was also trying out a sample of Icelandic wool I ordered from World of Wool, as it’s supposed to be light and water repellent and – most importantly – to felt easily. The fibres are very long and rather coarser than merino, but the mottled natural shades add a beautiful texture (like the grey hairs I’m starting to get!). They also smell, um, a bit sheepy, especially when wet!

Icelandic wool

So I cut out a rounded A-shaped template and covered it with one layer of pale yellow merino. I was intending to do the other two layers in light grey Icelandic wool, but after the second layer I didn’t think I’d have enough. So I used a pearl-coloured merino for the top layer.

A few of the coarser fibres in the Icelandic wool came off during felting, but most of them felted through the two merino layers on either side of the sandwich, creating an interesting texture that I rather like.

I don’t think the proportions of the bag are quite right – I shall make it narrower at the bottom next time – and I haven’t stitched around the ‘secret pocket’ or the handle. I might also turn up the top of the flap so that some of the yellow shows outside.

Inside the bag, showing the 'secret pocket' (not stitched in yet)

But the principle works, and the handle is just the right length. Thank you Nicola!


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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

2 thoughts on “Bag with integrated handle”

  1. Thanks Nicola! I actually made another one today, in dark brown Icelandic and turqouise merino wool, in proportions I’m happier with. I also stretched the handle more before it hardened (for people who have longer arms than me!) and rubbed it so that the two halves stuck together. It’s hanging up to dry at the moment – will post a pic tomorrow!

    Best of luck with your US workshops – they sound great!

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