Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How the Purse Was Made

Unfortunately I only took one picture of the purse in progress... and here it is:

I made the purse inside out, around this piece of plastic, called a resist.  The wool sticks out and I wrap it around the edges so it can felt with the wool on the other side, making the whole thing a pouch.  After three layers of wool are laid down on each side of this plastic, the design layer closest to the plastic, then the outside color, then the inside color last, the whole thing is felted a bit with hot soapy water. Then a slit is cut near the top to pull the plastic out, and a half-moon is cut out of the top part, leaving the handle as an integral part of the purse.  Then lots of felting takes place, involving a tremendous amount of physical labor.  (If I ever take a rug-making class, the physical labor involved is so great that the labor-saving step is to tie it to the back of one's car and drive around.)

I have no idea if this is a common, well-known way to felt, since I knew exactly nothing about felting before Saturday morning.  Now I know nothing plus 24 hours worth!

Here's the finished purse.  Notice the handle was the top edge of what you saw in the previous picture.  There are two half-moon pieces, one is under my keys and the other is still attached to the purse, as the flap.  The piece under my keys is folded over and shows the inside color of the purse - red.  The outside colors are blue and aubergine, which unfortunately look like purple and red in this picture.  The wool in the red basket is my next project, which I'll write about shortly.  (Remember what "shortly" means??)
It turned out completely differently than I imagined it would, which I've been told is one of the charms of this type of work.  It looks better in real life than this picture - I'll try to remember to take a picture of it in natural light one of these days.  Sparky likes it already!


  1. Very nice!
    How fortunate you are to be able to take classes locally. I have to travel at least 60 miles one way to learn wool crafts which explains why I am mostly self taught in fiberarts. =(

  2. Yeah, 60 miles is a long trip. I AM pretty lucky to be fairly close to western Mass, southern Vermont and upstate NY and lucky there's a lot of fiber stuff going on around here!

  3. I am loving this bag! Although I like what we do (CPA-income tax) after Christmas is not winding down time, it is gearing up time and I am more limited on my evening free time. But I make lists and dream about the time after April 15th! The hubby likes a week of golf, just golf and I stay home and enjoy the free time ...the wonderful lull.