Still experimenting with making bags with integral handles. The proportions of this one are more pleasing; the dark brown wool is Icelandic, and the turquoise is merino with wool slubs.
I stretched the handle more on this one before it hardened, and rubbed the two halves so they felted together to make a thicker handle.
Now I have to stop making felt and do some gardening!
Thanks to the kind advice from the wonderful Nicola of Clasheen, I have managed to make a bag with a felted in shoulder strap. It’s not perfect – the strap joins the bag slightly lower on one side than on the other – but I have proved I can do it! Many thanks to Nicola for her help.
As you can see from the photo, I’ve also been experimenting with felting in some wool slubs I ordered from World of Wool. The slubs vary in size, but the longer/larger ones seem to felt more easily – the smaller round ones I added to the bag above just refused to stick, no matter how much I rubbed.
I’ve also made a couple of bags without shoulder straps. On the purple/red one below, I had more luck with the slubs, using them in combination with silk waste fibres.
I also cut up one of the bargain silk scarves I found at Spitalfields market and used scraps to decorate another bag (below). I put some wisps of merino across just in case they didn’t stick, but they felted in really well, except for the bits of hem at the ends, so I just trimmed those off afterwards.
The fabric strips were in straight lines when I laid them on the wool, but I noticed as I was rubbing in a circular motion that they started moving to the left or right (depending on whether I was rubbing clockwise or anti-clockwise). I quite liked the effect, so I left it – it looks like seaweed swaying underwater.