Felted Amulet Bag
By: Carol Ventura
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With tapestry crochet, one or more yarns are carried while another is single crocheted. This craft has the flexibility and portability of crochet, but the fabric looks as if it were woven on a loom. In the 1970’s, Carol Ventura found the colorful tapestry crocheted shoulder bags made in Guatemala very inspirational. Since that time, she has explored the design potential of the technique, developed a system of diagramming patterns, and created a variety of flat and three-dimensional projects. This amulet bag project is a perfect introduction to tapestry crochet since it is done with a loose stitch and this pattern includes several tutorials. For more about tapestry crochet, please look at her web page at http://www.tapestrycrochet.com/ and for the rest of the story, please look at her blog at http://www.tapestrycrochet.com/blog/. Don't forget to check out the video for this project!
- Yarn: red and white worsted weight wool (but NOT Superwash, which does not felt, and some white wool does not felt either, but white Lion Wool felts great)
- Hook: Steel crochet hook size K or size that will give an acceptable gauge.
- a safety pin, stitch marker, or a piece of yarn of a contrasting color for counting the rounds
Finished Size Before Felting: 3 1/4” wide by 3 3/4” high (not including the strap).
Finished Size After Felting: 2 3/4” wide by 3 1/2” high (not including the strap).
Gauge: 4 stitches equals 1 inch, 4 rows equals 1 inch.
Round 1: Starting with red, make a slip knot (leaving a three-inch tail), then chain 12. Increase in multiples of 6 chain stitches at this point to make a wider bag. Starting with the second chain, single crochet 11 stitches. Single crochet 2 more stitches into the last chain for a total of 13 stitches. Continue to single crochet using the new top of the chain until you come around to the first stitch, carrying the “tail” as you go. Single crochet 2 stitches into the last stitch. This first round should have a total of 24 stitches. This piece is worked as a spiral, not in concentric rings, so it is difficult to tell where each round ends. To keep track of where each round ends, slip a safety pin or stitch marker into the top of the last stitch of the round or lay a two inch piece of yarn of a contrasting color across the path of the last stitch. You will remove the safety pin or stitch marker from the last stitch as you come to it again and slip it into the new last stitch or cross the path of the last stitch with the end of the counting yarn at the end of each round.
Round 2: Cut the red tail flush and then start to carry the white yarn. Single crochet around without any increases, carrying the white yarn. The bag should still have 24 stitches when you finish this round. Turn the bag inside out (to make it right side out).
These illustrations are for right-handed crocheters and are read from right to left and bottom to top. Left-handed crocheters, please look at the reversed images in a mirror.
Round 3: You will begin to tapestry crochet the motif in this round. Remember, that to do a tapestry crochet stitch, colors are switched while 2 loops are still on the hook; yarn over with the white and pull it through the loops of the last stitch of the previous round to prepare for the tapestry crochet stitch. Rounds 3 through 7 correspond to the illustrated motif (read from right to left and bottom to top). Start the pattern as follows: tapestry crochet 1 white stitch, then 5 red stitches. Repeat this sequence 3 more times. As you tapestry crochet each stitch, the hook should point toward the inside of the bag. Every once in a while, untwist the yarns by holding the bag up in the air with one of the yarns while pulling on the other yarn. Let the piece spin around in the air so that the yarns untangle.
Round 4: Tapestry crochet 2 white stitches, then 4 red stitches. Repeat this sequence 3 more times.
Round 5: Tapestry crochet 3 white stitches, then 3 red stitches. Repeat this sequence 3 more times.
Round 6: Tapestry crochet 4 white stitches, then 2 red stitches. Repeat this sequence 3 more times.
Round 7: Tapestry crochet 5 white stitches, then 1 red stitch. Repeat this sequence 3 more times.
Repeat rounds 3 through 7.
Last Round: Continue to carry the red yarn. Crochet around with white. Cut the red yarn flush at the end of the round. Single crochet 4 stitches with white to bring it to the side of the bag.
To Finish: Crochet a chain as long as you want the strap to be (this one has 135 chain stitches). Attach the chain to the other side of the bag with a single crochet stitch, slip stitch, cut the white yarn (leaving a 6 inch tail), yarn over and pull it all the way through the loop. Work in the end for 1 inch to secure it, then trim it off. To felt the bag, wash it in a washing machine in hot water with mild soap (like Ivory Dishwashing Liquid) and a cold rinse twice. It will shrink a little more each time it is washed. Now it’s time for you to show off your felted amulet bag and teach a friend how to make one!
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