Monday, 11 March 2013

Toft Alpaca - Bulb Bag Workshop

On 26th January I skipped off to The Toft Alpaca Shop in Dunchurch for the Bulb Bag workshop with two lovely friends.
To start the day we had a lovely walk around the farm to see all of the alpacas, there are over 250! They were all a little more interested in the grass as it was the first day of the snow thawing.
Returning back to the shop we made the tough yarn decisions and began knitting the bag.
I wanted to knit up a cream bag, after seeing a lovely completed one on display. The only cream yarn was a 50/50 wool alpaca blend, which was a good choice as it made the upgrade from a mini to a big bulb bag a little less.
I really enjoyed having a few hours dedicated to knitting, I wouldn't usually sit for such a long period of time and knit row after row. The benefit of the workshop was getting help from someone experienced for the tricky parts you think you know, but want some confirmation your doing the right thing.
By the end of the workshop i had completed the base of the bag, pick up all the stitches around the edges and knitted all the increase rows. So I was left to decrease and make the handles at home before felting.

I completed the knitting in just over a week. However the finishing took my a few more weeks. Its always the part of a project I put off for as long as possible as I'm never certain how to do it right.
When knitted up the bulb bag is quite loose, so I found sewing in the ends was a challenge as it was adjusting the tension and looked quite scruffy, however my friend who also attended the workshop convinced me the felting process would work its magic.

I added my saggy bulb bag to the washer with an old rough cream towel and washed on a 40deg cyclce and waited for the magic to happen. After 2 washes I lost my bottle and took the bag out to dry...

The stitches were still quite visible and the bag was still quite saggy, so it went back into the washing machine for another tumble with the towel.
After leaving the bag to dry for a couple of days I pressed the front flap as it had become a little wonky during the felting process.
I still think it needs another felt so I haven’t sewn the button on yet, this weeks project…

I cannot believe how quick this bag knitted up, I'm still a little uncertain on the chunky tail like bag handle, however I love the shape of the bag body. I already have my eyes on a humbug version....
Having such a lovely shop near by could be very dangerous, there are workshops planned for nearly every weekend. On April 1st there is a family open day where there will be tours of the farm to see the lovely alpacas.

Thank you xx

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