Yaya Design

  Felted Handbags

by
Yaya Design

 

 

 

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The Consuelo Bag - front
    Felting is an ancient craft, practiced in many countries, using various methods.  Felted Handbags by Yaya Design combine beauty, uniqueness, and practicality. 

     The process begins with choosing a group of complementary skeins of 100% wool yarn.  The wool is knit, by hand, into what seems to be a ridiculously large version of a handbag.

 
      The Consuelo Bag, shown here is quite large - The width is 16" and the height is 16 1/2".  It has a strong double-pull zipper (two separate pulls allow access in the middle, or anywhere along the zipper.  The felt is thick and sturdy. The bag is fully lined, with five inside pockets (two with zipper, three without).  The adjustable strap is made of the same batik fabric as the lining.


            
 

Consuelo Bag, back      When the knitting has been completed, embroidery begins, using the same 100% wool yarn, adding variety and interest to the finished bag.

     In the next step, the huge knitted piece is soaked in cold water with white vinegar, to set the colors. 
 
     Then comes the exciting step of felting (also known as fulling), which shrinks the knitting by about 30%.  In the finished felt, knitting stitches are no longer visible - the fabric is so strong that it could actually be cut without fraying!  


     
Felting is accomplished with alternate washings in hot soapy water  (using a washing machine) and icy cold water.    Typically the fabric initially becomes even larger, when the fibers relax in their first hot water bath.  But in subsequent hot/cold cycles, the fibers grab their neighbors and tighten up, eventually producing solid felt.  The felting process shifts the design in unpredictable ways - it's always a pleasant surprise!

Consuelo, with her Consuelo Bag 
  

     After felting the handbag must be stretched a bit to even it out, then blocked and dried.

     A high quality batik fabric from  Indonesia, India, or Africa is chosen for the strap and lining to complement the finished felt colors.

     The adjustable strap is created and attached securely inside the bag.   
    
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Then the lining is cut out, pockets and zippers added, and finally sewn together and attached to the felt bag.
 
   
     
 Felted Handbags by Yaya Design may be washed by hand or in a washing machine, in cool or lukewarm water.  They should be dried only by air - machine drying would cause pilling. 

     Here is Consuelo, herself, in Greenwich Village, sporting her very own Consuelo Bag!

      
 
Every Felted Handbag by Yaya Design is unique.
You will never run into someone with exactly the same bag as yours!

If you're interested in one of the handbags shown on the website, or custom designing one just for you, please email yaya@yayadesign.net 

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