We started screen printing fabric because we wanted to make bags that were different. I love a crazy quilt cotton as much as the next person, but seeing the same ones again and again didn’t tempt me.
Screen printing gave us lots of freedom both in design and in the fabrics we wanted to use. The latest hap bags were printed onto a waterproof fabric and we were able to make exactly the bag we wanted.
One of the things I wanted to bring to our project bags was colour – and what better way to do that than creating a fabric with hand dyed yarn?
The yarn we’ve used is a BFL and Masham blend from Laxtons – so it’s British wool which is processed and spun in Yorkshire.
As it’s a machine knitting yarn, the yarn arrives with us on cones, and has to be put into hanks for dyeing. After being dyed and dried the yarn gets wound into centre pull balls because that’s what the knitting machine likes.
The knitted fabric for each bag is made in a single piece. Once it’s been cast off it gets washed and blocked before being ironed onto a heavy weight interfacing. It might seem really odd to iron a fabric but it’s the best way to make sure it has the strength and structure it needs as a bag. The fabric was knitted at a tight tension so even after being ironed it retains a lovely amount of yarny bounce. Being 100% wool also helps with that – giving the same treatment to acrylic would have ended in disaster.
So that takes care of the outside of the bag. We knew that we wanted the bag to be sturdy so the lining is made of canvas. Each bag has two large and four small pockets so it’s easy to keep everything organised. One of my pet hates with project bags is having a gap in the top that things can fall out of. To avoid this we’ve added a drawstring flap and a magnetic catch.
The linings and drawstring flap are both cut from rolls of cloth. The lining is screen printed and heat set to ensure the ink will last. Canvas webbing is cut for the handle and to hold the D rings.
Then the whole lot goes off to the lovely Carol who makes most of our bags. There’s a fair bit of stitching in these, and I’m lucky that Carol loves the challenge of getting everything to it together perfectly.
The bags will be available in two sizes.
Large bags will hold 600 grams of yarn so are perfect for a sweater or large shawl.
Small bags will hold 200 grams of yarn so are perfect for a smaller shawl, socks or part of a garment.
The large bags will cost £70 and the small bags £60 and both sizes will be in the shop at 1900 this evening.