Five years ago, I met an awesome Idaho river guide. Besides being a truly remarkable woman, she was carrying a really nifty bag. It was not knit, but the design was just fabulous—a backpack with straps that also doubled as the closure. She graciously allowed me to examine it, for I had a plan.
After spinning some BFL roving from a local hand dyer, I had the perfect yarn for knitting a bag, and this was going to be it. I drafted a simple pattern, knit and felted the bag, and it has been my daily carrier ever since. It has traveled with me everywhere, from the mountains of Idaho to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and performed admirably along the way.
Did I mention that I LOVE this bag?
Of course, I never wrote down the exact pattern as I made it, and my memory is pretty full, like the 16 GB iPhone I just recently traded in for a super-size model.
Unfortunately, that’s not possible with my head. But, after a little trial and error with the strap, I finally got it, and you can download the free Playday Pack pattern here!
This time, in the interest of creating a project to engage kids in a knitting workshop, the bag is worked in bright colors of Universal Worsted Wool, which is reasonably priced and felts like a charm. I plan on knitting another one before too long out of Plymouth Gina, which has great colors and felts fabulously. Lamb’s Pride Worsted is another choice with great colors, and the mohair blend creates a really durable felt.
The bag itself requires only basic knitting skills. The bottom is knit in garter stitch and then stitches are picked up around the base rectangle to knit the bag in the round up to the top border trim. At this point, every other row is purled to create a garter trim. After creating 8 openings for the straps and a simple bind off, this part of the bag can be thrown in the washer for felting. I ran mine through two cycles in a front loader to get a nice, dense fabric. Block the bag by stuffing it with plastic grocery bags or bubble wrap.
While the bag is drying, you can work on the strap. This was the part where I had all my trial and error in replicating the original. I tried I-cord—not so good—although it might have worked better with hand felting the strap, which is ultimately what I did. Felting the strap in the machine was just too unpredictable; there were gaps where I didn’t want them. So, I just knit the strap flat, seamed it up around some cotton cord, and felted it by hand in the sink. I have to confess that, since it IS gardening season, that was the cleanest my fingernails have been in weeks!
When it dried, I simply stitched it to the bag on one side, wove it through the appropriate openings, and finished by stitching the second strap end in place. My intention is to line the bag with cotton, and maybe put in a zippered pocket. The bag would work fine even without this detail, just throw your littles in a zippered pouch inside! There’s plenty of room.
Next month, I hope to teach this project in a Kid’s Knit Kamp. I’ll let you know how that works out! In the meantime, give it a try. You really do need this bag!
Many of us knit garments and accessories, but not home decor pieces. Kelley is working on her Cable Channel Knit-Along project, which is a pillow cover, and it got me thinking about all of the cool projects you can knit to bring your love of fiber into your home. Get your knit decor on with six of my favorite patterns from Alpaca Direct!
Kelley shows you how to knit the Left Twist. This is a nice complementary stitch to regular cabling, plus you can add these twists without the extra work of using a cable needle. This stitch looks good as a border on the edge of regular cables.
Note: Please use the following sizing chart for general reference only. Sizes between different vendors and manufacturers may vary. Please match your measurements to those in the size chart below.