My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


It Felted

Yep, the Noni bag felted.


It went from 27 inches long to 16.5 inches long. It is 19.5 inches around.

The pattern directs you to felt it to 16 inches long and 19 inches around, so I got it pretty close.

As you no doubt know, Cascade 220 felts beautifully. Even the natural color, which a number of you warned me about, gave me no cause for complaint. There is very little of the natural in this bag, so it either felted obediently on its own, or it was swept along by the enthusiasm of the other colors.

The hardest part of the felting process was pulling the bag out of the washer from time to time to check on the progress. That water was hot. (It did briefly cross my mind that if I had rubber gloves or used tongs to fish the bag out of the water I’d be much happier. But I didn’t and I didn’t. And I wasn’t.) I’ve felted all sorts of things in my washer using this very same setting and I don’t remember the water being so relentlessly hot.

In the pattern it mentions that the top of the bag where the opening is can flare a bit during felting. I tried to smoosh it down as best I could during the process. After I took the bag out of the washer, I stuffed it with rolled-up towels to shape it. I pinned the top together in a few places, and then sewed it together, with regular sewing thread and needle, to help alleviate any residual flaring.


Sewing through the felted fabric was a bit difficult, made more so by the fact that I wasn’t using a thimble. I poked a hole in my fingers a couple of times pushing the needle through, but no, I did not stop to find a thimble.

So the bag is happily drying. I measured the top opening and ordered a zipper. I think I want to put the zipper in before I line it, so this will go on the back burner until the zipper arrives.

I did knit a flower for an embellishment — from the Noni pattern for camilla flowers. I made the large flower with some smaller petals in the center. Here it is pre-felting.


And after felting.


I think it’s pretty, but it is way too big for the bag, I think. And I felted the living crap out of it.


Then I wasn’t sure if I actually wanted an embellishment on the bag. Then I thought I could knit a smaller flower.

Then it occurred to me — it’s felt. Trim it with scissors. Duh.


That’s much better. Mebbe I’ll make a couple of leaves.

Lucy is thrilled at the idea.



  1. I think it’s adorable. And don’t feel bad – I’m not sure I would have thought right away to cut down the felted flower to size either. It sounded ingenious when I read it.

  2. That is so adorable! Thanks for enabling us all, Wendy.

  3. The flower got a hundred times cuter felted. I love how the yarnovers create little ‘veins’. Could we see a side shot of the bag’s concentric circles post-feling?

  4. I can’t wait to see the completed bag! It’s so cute. It’s also such a happy color combination that you can’t help but be in a good mood looking at it.

  5. Alice in Richmond says:

    Now if you were in Richmond, that original felted flower would have been just right! And hairbows should always be bigger than your child’s head. Not.

  6. I teach at a local yarn store and some of my students have commented that the patterns are tricksy and not as intuitive as some might require. Curious, did you find this easy to follow as written?

  7. That turned out so cute, now I want to make one too!

  8. I would have never thought of cutting the felted flower. I’m an idiot like that.

  9. Your bag looks cute. I am on the last round of pink on my bag. You are such an enabler because I saw the pattern on your blog on a Tuesday and on Wednesday, I was knitting my own Noni bag. Told you. LOL!!!!

  10. Very cute bag…love the colors!

  11. Hi Wendy- Felting is such an inexact science, isn’t it? Your bag came out beautifully, and I really like the flower.
    I made those Fiber Trends Jester hats many eons ago, with NatureSpun Sport, and burned myself too.

  12. Juliette says:

    There is something hiliarious about the term “felted the living crap out of it”.

    Love the bag — very inspired to do one of my own. I also love that the colors are Knit Happens colors (even though I’ve never been there)

  13. Great bag!!

  14. What a great bag – glad you thought to cut the flower. It might not have occurred to me!

  15. It’s probably one of those lines that only a knitter (or felter!) can appreciate, but I find your line “I felted the living crap out of it” hysterical! I can’t stop chuckling about it.

  16. Annie Driscoll says:

    I often sew the zipper directly to the lining, and then slip stitch the whole thing in. I have a similar shaped knitting bag that I used this technique on. It certainly holds up, provided the slip stitching is nice and tight.

  17. OMH! That? is absolutely adorable!

    Jeez. Now I have to make one.

  18. I can never find a thimble, and if I do, my fingers are too big for it. I use a balloon-the rubber grips the needle and can pull it through anything.

    As for me, the only thing that bothers me while felting is not the hot water, but the overwhelming scent of wet wool. It probably doesn’t help that the first few times I stuck my head in the washer when I was reaching in to readjust the bag. So. Bad.

  19. I’ve always wanted to felt, but have a front-loading washing machine and I’ve heard that one can’t felt with a front-loader. Do you have any suggestions, other than hand-felting? I tried felting mittens by hand once, and it was a pain in the *** to do so I have given up felting ever since.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions/help.

  20. martha in mobile says:

    That bag is fabulous! It would be perfect in Mobile, except it is made out of some strange, warm fiber with which we are unfamiliar down here, y’all.

    And Alice in Richmond very well knows that the bow on your child’s head is to be the size of a salad plate (dessert plate if the child is so young you have to velcro it to her wispy tufts). That flower would be the perfect introduction to Southern Oversized Hair Ornamentation.

  21. So go do something nice for your poor scalded, needle-pricked hands! And maybe pick up some rubber gloves next time you buy groceries.

  22. I just got three of those patterns in the mail today, but of course I forgot to buy the flower pattern! Oh well, I’ll order it by the time I actually want to make the bag (which will be after the weather cools down a little bit–it’s too darn hot to felt in Oklahoma right now!).

    I can’t wait to see the bag when it’s dry. Please give us some tips on putting the zipper in–I think it would be hard!

  23. Hi Wendy

    Just popped by to say that I am enjoying reading your book at the moment. I am a fairly new blogger but have knitted now for nearly 50 years. Ouch!! Has it been that long. Learnt at 6 so that is a give away to age.:)

    I too have been into knitted bags lately. [ Shetland knitting used to be my thing ] I haven’t as yet felted one tho. Bag is looking great. Interested to see it finished.

    I was wondering if you minded if I asked a question? I have the book “Magical Knitting” Now in NZ the largest circular knitting needle available is 80cms so was going to order one on line from the States. I was wondering where would be the best place to buy? I thought Patternworks but wondered if there was a better, cheaper place?

    Many thanks in advance. I did consider getting the Denise interchangables but they are rather expensive!

    Knit on >^..^<

  24. Smokin’ bag! And your skill with the flower, and trimming, is impressive. Well, you’re always impressive, Wendy.

  25. I love, love, love the sharing…….and the honesty re felting or any other process……you rock……Lucy is smart to nap……especially in this weather……..

  26. Sheri in St. Louis says:

    Ooooh – love the bag!! My patterns shipped today and now I’m anxious to start in on one. Putting in a lining and zipper, though? That intimidates me. My sewing machine has not seen the light of day for too long. Please give tips to make it easier. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. What a great bag. You make it look easy. Can you show a picture of the side post-felt? Thanks!

  28. I love that “Aha” moment when you realized that you could cut the felted flower. I took a class with Nicky Epstein on Felted Flowers and it was so much fun to create felted flowers. Nicky even talked about embellishing the felted flowers with beads, feathers, textured or multicolored leaves. I’d say go for it!

  29. I’ve trimmed felted things before (like bag handles). Isn’t it so cool that you can do that? I usually swish it in hot water again and rub the edges to soften them up so they don’t look so *trimmed*. Can’t wait to see your Noni with the great bamboo handles you got! How come you order your zipper? Isn’t there a hobby store nearby with a fabric department or even a real fabric store you can go to?

  30. Oh my goodness your bad is fabulous. So is Lucy, by the way.

  31. so cute!

    hot water being hotter than normal can be a sign that your water heater needs help, according to my landlady.

  32. The bag is so cute. I had never really thought much about embellishing with felted flowers, but that really is gorgeous.

  33. Cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute. I like the flower after the pruning. Add the leaves! They’d match nicely with the green stripes…

  34. Nannette says:

    I almost choked on my coffee when I read about you felting the living crap out of that flower! I must admit that I wasn’t too excited about this project when you first showed it, but now I just love it. I can’t wait to see the finished product. Thanks for the inspiration.

  35. marjorie says:

    The bag is terrific. This is not something I had considered making, but after seeing how beautiful yours turned out, I want to try one.

    I have felted in a front-loading washer (one of the energy-saver models) using the directions in “Knit Baby Heads & Toes” (Storey Publishing). There is advice (p. 20) attributed to Bev Galeskas of Fiber Trends that I followed. Run the washer at the lowest water level using hot water and wool wash, and let it go through the cycle. I had to do this twice–I test-knitted one of the projects (booties), and it worked out just fine. My washer adjusts the amount of water it uses for the number of garments, and the felting instructions suggest adding something else (jeans). That would force the washer to use more water.

  36. It’s felt. You can cut it. That’s priceless!

  37. that bag is too cute!

  38. Oh, that bag is too cute, I love it! And I love the addition of the flower too, a few green leaves would look great.

  39. I really love the way this came out, Wendy.

    Must. Not. Buy. Kit. Now.

  40. ahhh cute!

  41. Now we’re ALL gonna want one!

  42. love the bag – and trimming the flowers was pure genius!

    can’t say I would ever have thought of it on my own!

  43. I just felted one of her bags and also thought that the flower was way too big for the bag….you’ve inspired me to trim mine!

  44. It is so helpful to watch you make this. I’ve never felted a project before, but I got my pattern in the mail the other day and I plan to make a baguette for myself and if all turns out well, one for my step-mother as well.

  45. Love the bag, Wendy. And the flowers make it–I’m glad you decided to decorate it. Leaves would be the icing!

  46. Jennifer says:

    So girly! I love it!

  47. I love the Noni bag! I just started one last night – I can’t wait to see how it felts up. I had the same problem with the flowers coming out too big – I think I’ll make mine smaller this time.

  48. Try using an upholstery or curved carpet sewing needle for sewing through felt…the needles are very sharp and very tapered but with very sturdy and easy to hold ends (and big easy to thread)…MUCH easier on your hands which don’t need to feel pinched or sore when knitting or blogging. You can buy these needles in little packs of assorted types and sizes. I think Singer makes them. Beautiful bag and beautiful work as always!

  49. What a cute girly bag…{giggle}

  50. Pretty pretty!

  51. To keep openings on your felted projects from “flaring” while you felt them, you can loosely stitch the opening shut with some cotton cord. Then, after felting, just take the stitches out and voila! No flare! I’ve been using this trick a lot on my felted sheep.

  52. A curved sewing needle would help immensely. Also for sewing the zipper in.

  53. I love the bag. I really am going to have to add one of those to my list of things to knit. Great idea on trimming the flower. I never would have thought of that. Lucy does indeed look thrilled.

  54. Rubber gloves are a big help with the hot, hot water. I’m glad to see someone else making this bag. It’s the next one I’ll be making. I’ve got the handles, but I’m still deciding on the colors I’ll be using.

  55. The bag looks great so far, and the trimmed-down flower is very cute. Kudos!

  56. Becky Clark says:

    Please post a picture of the felted bag end – I really want to see the “bull’s eye” felted.

  57. Wendy, how did you felt the flower? Did you let it float wild and free in your washing machine or did you slip it into the relative safety of a lingerie bag? What did you use for agitation? It’s the most perfect example of felting I’ve seen in ages. –Barbara, The Felting Challenged

  58. Love it! Great job.
    I have two pairs of rubber gloves. I think I may have worn them two or three times. Burnt hands, yes. Dye stained hands, you betcha!
    Once I get started, I don’t seem to think to stop and look after the bits and parts either.

  59. MamaLana says:

    Hooray for you, Wendy. I have never been able to felt anything. The thought of knitting something to shrink it ON PURPOSE just defeats me! LOL P.S. Lucy is very gorgeous.

  60. Love, love, love the bag. I have a Debbie Bliss Tennis Sweater that would match it perfectly!

  61. I usually felt in a delicate garment bag with some jeans…. that way I can just pull the bag out of the wash and not have to stick my whole hand in. Also – it keeps my felted gook reasonably contained. ๐Ÿ™‚

  62. The bag looks lovely! I just felted my first ever bag, and it was an amazing process. ๐Ÿ™‚

  63. Wendy, your Noni bag is darling! I have several Noni patterns on my to-do list. Thanks for the inspiration!

  64. ok I LOVE that bag…. In general I love knitting felted bags but have been trying to knit lace lately. After seeing this I think I have the felted bag bug again ๐Ÿ™‚ … That wool felts up nicely too! Did it just take one wash cycle or more?