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My sweet little cousin, Ayla, inspired this felted backpack. A girl must have an appropriate bag to tote her goodies in. While it is sized for a child, adults can use it as a mini-backpack by simply knitting longer shoulder straps.

This is a perfect project if you've never done colorwork before. Any messy color changes will be felted away.


model: Ayla photos: Margot Centanni, Jordana Paige

Before Felting
Height: 18 inches
Width: 12 inches
Depth: 6.5 inches
Strap Length: 28 inches

After Felting
Height: 13 inches
Width: 10 inches
Depth: 4.5 inches
Strap Length: 21 inches


Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220 yd/201m per 100g skein]
[A] #8913 Cherry Blossom; 2 skeins
[B] #7802 Cerise; 2 skeins
[C] #8911 Grape Jelly; 1 skein
[D] #7826 California Poppy; 1 skein

1 24-inch US #10.5/6.5mm circular needle
1 set US #10.5/6.5mm double-point needles
Stitch markers
Tapestry needle
0.5 yard fabric for lining
Sewing thread
Sewing needle
Sewing machine (for lining -- sew by hand if machine is unavailable))

16 sts/20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

Stripe Pattern
4 rows B
2 rows A
3 rows B
4 rows A
2 rows B
Work remaining rows in A.

Using circular needle and B, CO 48 sts.
K 33 rows.
BO all sts.

Using circular needle and B, CO 148 sts.
Beg with a RS row, work 10 rows in stockinette st.
Next Row
(First row of Stripe Pattern) [RS]: K69, place marker, work Row 1 of Chart, place marker, k to end.
Continue in pattern as set, working through remaining rows of Stripe Pattern and working sts between markers following Chart, until all rows of Chart have been worked.

Continue in stockinette st using A until work measures 16 inches, ending with a WS row.

Eyelet Row: K3, yo, k2tog, [k6, yo, k2tog] twice, k12, yo, k2tog, k4, yo, k2tog, k12, yo, k2tog, [k6, yo, k2tog] 5 times, k12, yo, k2tog, k4, yo, k2tog, k12, yo, k2tog, [k6, yo, k2tog] twice, k3.

Cont in stockinette st until work measures 17.5 inches, ending with a RS row.

K 3 rows. BO all sts.

Using double-point needle and B, CO 4 sts.
Work I-Cord for 57 inches. BO all sts.

Shoulder Straps
(Make 2)

CO 6 sts.

Row 1: [Kfb] 6 times. 12 sts.

Row 2: [K1, sl 1 purlwise with yarn held to front of work] 6 times.

Repeat Row 2 until work measures 30 inches.

Next Row: [K2tog] 6 times. BO rem 6 sts.



Sew side edges of Body together.

Sew Body to Base, so that Body seam is at center back.

Using circular needle and B, with Base facing and beginning at center back, pick up and k 1 st in each st and 1 st in edge of each garter ridge around lower edge of bag, next to lower seam.

Join to work in the round. K 3 rounds. BO all sts.

Curl fabric over seam and sew edge to bag, creating a tubular ridge.

Weave in all ends.

Felt Bag, Straps and Drawstring
Set washing machine to hot setting and fill for small load.

Place items in machine with a small amount of detergent, and an old pair of jeans (or some other heavy article of clothing), to help provide agitation for felting process.

Run through cycle, checking intermittently until bag reaches desired size. When checking bag, ensure that the 16 eyelet holes have not closed up; use a knitting needle to open them up if necessary.

Remove from machine and rinse.

Cut a piece of heavy cardboard to size of felted bag base. Place in bottom of bag, matching corners of cardboard piece to inner corners of bag base.

Stuff bag with plastic bags, molding bag to desired shape.

Important Note: Ensure that the circumference at the top of the bag is the same as the bag circumference just above the base! Otherwise, lining the bag will become more difficult.

Fold top of bag into pleats, matching up eyelet holes and using photo as guide, and hold pleats in place using clothespins.

Allow all pieces to dry competely.

Remove clothespins, plastic bags and cardboard.

Use sewing thread to sew straps to bag; use photo as guide.

Thread drawstring through eyelet holes, using photo as guide. Knot ends of drawstring.

Cut pieces of lining fabric for body and base as follows:

Body Width: Circumference of bag, plus 1 inch.

Body Height: Height of bag from base to just below drawstring holes, plus 1 inch.

Base Width: Width of bag at base plus 1 inch.

Base Depth: Depth of bag at base plus 1 inch.

Sew lining as follows, using seam allowance of 0.5 inch for all seams:

With right sides together, sew short edges of body lining piece together. This is the back seam.

With right sides together, sew base lining piece to body lining piece, matching back seam to center of one long edge of base piece. It may be necessary to snip the lower edge of the body lining piece at the points where it matches up with the corners of the base piece.

Fold top edge of lining to wrong side, creating a hem 0.5 inch deep. Sew in place.

Place lining inside bag, so that wrong side of lining fabric faces wrong side of bag fabric. Hand sew in place along upper edge of lining.


Jordana's got a thing for bags! She's the owner of Jordana Paige, a company which designs stylish handbags for knitters to tote their projects in. View her line of products at Jordana Paige.