Sunday, January 30, 2011

The last handmade holiday gift this year...

Here's the felted water bottle holder I mentioned in my last post.  The pattern is very very basic. It did not include instructions for a strap so I made one up and luckily the length turned out well in terms of sizing for an 8 year old. It would have needed to be much longer for an adult.  You can find the patten here.  I'm going to include pre-felted sizes for you so if you want to try this pattern, you'll have some idea of how big to knit the holder. So here's the before pic:

knitted water bottle holder prior to felting
I double stranded the same two colors of Patons "Classic Wool" that I used on the clogs with the same size 11 US needles. I was knitting to fit a Camelback BPA-free hard plastic water bottle holder (about 8 1/2 inches to the top of the lid by 9 3/4 inches in circumference) so if you've got a larger circumference bottle you may want to size up a bit because the dimensions I'm about to give just fit perfectly for this bottle.  So here are the pre-felted dimensions:

Base square= 4 inches
Bag length= 12 inches
Bag width (laid flat and measured straight across) 6 inches
I-cord strap= 8 inches

The strap was knit with 3 segments in size. I started out by picking up stitches on the edge of the bag to do a knit/purl rib of 7 stitches. Then I sized down to 5 then down to 3 so that the ending would be easier to tie through the loop of I-cord I knit for the other side. I decided to do this because I really wasn't sure how much the strap would shrink and if I'd knit the end of the strap to the other side of the bag I'd have been stuck with whatever came out and if it was too short or too long I'd have had to cut it and figure something else out. With the design I used, the length of the strap could be adjusted a bit.  Quite frankly, I was convinced that the length I knit was going to be super long even after felting but I was completely wrong.  Lesson: If you are going to felt a strap, err on the side of knitting something way way longer than you think you'll need.

Strap length, total= 64 inches
7 stitch rib portion= 36 inches
5 stitch rib portion= 12 inches
3 stitch rib portion= 16 inches

You can see this step pattern in the "before" picture above.

I felted the holder in a lingerie washing bag along with some towels (lesson hadn't been learned about not using towels for felting- see the previous post) in the washing machine. I pre-soaked the holder in a pot of boiled water on the stove for about 1/2 hour or so then dumped it all into the washer. It took about 4 agitation cycles to get it down to where it seemed the right size.  I think the bag length is a little long and if I do this pattern again, I'll make the length about and inch shorter. I did not allow the bag to go through the spin cycle as this can put unwanted creases in the material that is really difficult to get out. I pulled the bag out of the washer and hand pressed it in some towels to get the worst of the water out then I put the water bottle in and left it alone to dry. Here's the result:

The finished holder, slightly used.
You can just make out the stepped decrease on the strap. It's not unsightly at all.
This photo was taken about a week after I gave it to my stepson and he'd had a chance to use it and for the dog to chew on it, etc.  He likes it and it seems to be working well. Unfortunately, I found what looks like a chew mark on the i-cord strap and it looks like it might rip through. If that happens, I have plenty of repair yarn left over and I'll plan on needle felting the repair.  We'll see how it goes.

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