Sunday, February 8, 2009

Riding the Ridge Bag Recipe

Okay, so I've been a bad blogger, but I vow here and now to change my ways, and I'm posting my first pattern (okay, recipe) to seal the deal.
I've had quite a number of awesome finished objects, not to mention much inspiration from others in the blogging world. I really need to update my "blogs I read" section. I will be adding in these items a little at a time, to get myself in the habit of regular posting.
In any case, The recipe I'm sharing is for a Riding the Ridge bag. It's sweet, colorful and quick, and makes the beauty of the Lizard Ridge pattern available to those of us with more limited yarn budgets.
I have recently found myself drawn to patterns that incorporate multiple colors of Noro yarns- I’ve knitted Lady Eleanor’s Entrelac Stole and the Noro Striped Scarf, as well as the newer Vortex pattern. I love watching the changing colors come off the needles, as well as the interesting and difficult-looking results. So the Lizard Ridge pattern was a natural attraction for me, but I simply couldn’t afford that much Noro Kureyon yarn (at once). I figured I could at least have the experience of knitting the pattern squares if I turned it into a felted handbag. So here is the Riding the Ridge Bag:

The finished dimensions of my bag is 10.25" wide, 11.5 " tall, and 2" deep. Yours maybe different depending on how much you felt it.

You need:
  • 3 balls of Noro Kureyon yarn in your desired colorways (I failed to write down the info for the colors I used for my bag). Decide if you want the same colors on both sides of your bag. Mine are different.
  • Size 10 needles- Gauge isn’t terribly important as it’s felted. You want a pre-felting fabric that is loose without being limp.
  • The Lizard Ridge Pattern (found here)
  • 1 skein of black feltable yarn in a similar weight to the Noro (I used Cascade 220, but Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted will also work, as will many others)
  • A tapestry needle.
  • A crochet hook of a suitable size.
  • D-rings and Strap, or handles (optional) I got my strap from an old bag. Thrift stores are a great source for bag hardware (still on the bag, of course)
  • Lining fabric (optional)
To Make:
Follow the instructions for the Lizard Ridge Afghan squares, except:
Work rows 1-12 a total of 6 times, instead of the 4 from the original pattern.
If you would like a wider bag, you will need to work out how to add pattern stitches to each row. (If you email me at, I will help you with this)
For a taller bag, add more repeats of rows 1-12.
When you have a size you like, work 4 rows of garter stitch (knit all rows)
so your top edge doesn’t curl, and bind off. If you don't care for the wavy-edge look, work more plain rows before binding off.
Make another just like the one you just did, but vary the colors if you want.

Gusset and Base:
One knitted strip serves as both Side gussets and bag base. Use double strands of yarn but the same needle size- to get a strong and resilient gusset and base-as follows:
With the black yarn, knit a strip 8 stitches wide (or more for a deeper bag) in stockinette stitch, adding in sections of the Noro. I put in the Noro sections randomly, and the number of rows I worked in each color was random also, but you can do this however you like to.
I just compared my strip as I knit it to the sides to figure the length, but you can measure instead, if you prefer.
If you want to attach a strap like mine, add 4 inches to your finished length to sew to the D- rings after felting.

With the purl side facing out, attach your gusset to one side of your bag using single crochet. If you added extra inches to accommodate sewing on hardware later, make sure you leave those inches free at the top of the bag. You will have a little tab of gusset sticking up on either side when this step is done. You will have a line of crotchet chains creating a ridge where the gusset and side of the bag meet. This will help your bag have a more squared off shape. If you would prefer a rounder shape, sew your bag, with seams on the inside, and the knit side facing out.
Repeat the process for the other side. You are ready to felt!

If you don't like a wavy edge, you might try basting a line of stitches into the top edge of your bag, 1/2 an inch or less from the top. I've read that this helps, but I've not tried it personally.
Wash your bag in hot water with some detergent and jeans (to help agitate) Check progress frequently. In my experience, Kureyon felts somewhat slowly. Don’t worry about the sides felting faster- Using double strands and having stripes of the Noro make this issue a non-probem.
I recommend felting until the fabric is dense and the stitches are hard to see. You may want more or less felting. For more felting info, go here.

Once you have it felted how you like it, roll in in towels to push out the water, and then invert it over a cereal box, or other appropriately sized box. Leave it somewhere warm that has decent ventilation, and it will be dry in a day or so.

Sew your D-rings to the tabs you made using matching embroidery floss or tough sewing thread.
(Or sew other handles on your bag).
You can cut into the felt to make an even top edge and then finish it with ribbon, bias tape, blanket stitch, or whatever else you can think of.

I’ve decided to line my bag after using it for a while. There is a tutorial better than anything I can do from future girl

Hope you enjoy!

1 comment:

LauraRose said...

Glad to see you're back! I was just thinking how funny it is that I have never knit myself a knitting bag... I am currently in love with Noro too, so maybe.... How big is the finished bag?
fleece and love,
Laura Rose
p.s. You're on my blogs list :)