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Web-Letter, Issue 65 – Pear Laptop Bag

It’s not that I have anything against Apple Inc. I have a Mac—two in fact—and I wouldn’t be parted from them. But apples in general get more attention than perhaps is warranted. To whit: it was a shiny red apple that Eve bit into—for better or worse. And we’re all familiar with the adage: "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". I think Apple has even been used as a first name. Isn’t that how Gwyneth Paltrow christened her firstborn?

So what about PEARS? This week’s web project in CEY’s Renaissance gives the nod to diversity in fruits. We present you with a pear embellished felted laptop bag in which to cart your computer around—whether your prefer PC to Apples or vice a versa.

Pam Allen

The Story:

I know that the felting craze is slowing down a bit; but I’m just now gearing up for it. I’ve finally gotten over my anxiety about letting go of hours of knitting—and throwing careful calculations to the wind. Or, better said, drowning them.

It isn’t that I’ve become less obsessive about the results—I’ve learned to accept my perfectionist leanings and know that they aren’t going anywhere. The news is that I’ve found a way to have more control over the felting process. 

I felt by hand in my plastic dish pan. I let the water run until it’s as hot as it gets, then while I fill the basin, I squeeze in a bit of dish soap and throw in my project. When full, I lay the basin down on a towel for a moment to dry the bottom. This avoids drips as I carry the basin to the dining room table. There I knead and squeeze my project while I watch a rented movie. Right now I’m watching the BBC’s Foyle’s War. While 1940’s Fords wend their way over rural England’s roads, and Police Chief Foyle doles out wry comments in a clipped accent, I witness the slow melt and stiffening of the fabric I’m felting. 

I like to read about what I do—I have an extensive knitting library. The book I refer to most when I’m in a felting mood is Bev Galeskas’ Felted Knits (Interweave Press, 2003). But there are plenty more to choose from at your local yarn shop, book store or library.

Pam Allen

The Yarns:

Renaissance — 100% wool

Wool yarn, plain and simple, often takes a back seat to all the interesting fiber blends that dominate today’s yarn market. But wool yarns can hold their own in any yarn gathering. Here’s why: 

• Wool is long-wearing
• Wool absorbs moisture and releases it into the air—thus wool garments are both warm and ventilated.
• Wool is light and lofty
• Wool can stretch to twice its length and then return to its original size. Hence, wool garments hold their shape.
• Wool felts
• Wool is a renewable resource

CEY’s Renaissance is a classic 3-ply, worsted-weight, 100% wool yarn that comes in 34 painterly colors. The Peruvian Highland wool used in Renaissance is soft and warm and knits up into garments that are lightweight yet substantial. Renaissance is great for colorwork—it comes in smallish 50 gram/110 yard hanks. Smaller hanks mean you can use lots of colors without a lot of leftover yarn—great for expanding your creative outlook, and keeping dollars in your wallet.

pattern image
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The Pattern:

Here is the free downloadable Pear Bag pattern.

If you have difficulty downloading or printing the PDF pattern above, try this: page 1

pattern image

The Stitches:

Intarsia and Fair Isle are two different techniques for knitted colorwork. In Fair Isle knitting, the colored yarns are all carried (stranded) across the back or wrong side of the knitting on each row.  In other words, if you’re working with red and then switch to yellow, the yellow yarn strand will lie along the back of the red stitches and the red strand will lie along the back of the yellow stitches. Fair Isle is used when color changes happen every 5-7 stitches or less.

A pattern worked in Intarsia, however, uses separate pieces of yarn for each color area. There are no strands across the back of the knitting. Intarsia uses colors in their own areas, without carrying the color used before it.  Intarsia is often referred to as “picture knitting” because it gives the knitter the ability to “paint” larger areas with color without having strands across the back that might draw in the knitting.  

When using many colors to form a design in intarsia, the different color yarns are often wrapped on bobbins to keep them from tangling. But some people just cut lengths of yarn no more than 45” or so and don’t bother with separate bobbins. To avoid holes, each color strand must be anchored at the point where the color change occurs. To do this: Drop the working yarn and bring the new yarn up from UNDER the old color, ready to knit (or purl) the next stitch. For more information on intarsia, visit our tutorial:

On Ravelry? Find this design.
If you do not yet have access to Ravelry, add your e-mail to their list, and check back once you've received your invitation.

If you like the design above, you'll like this one too:
Falling Leaves Felted Bag
pattern available in
Web-Letter Issue 51

Ravel it.