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There seems to be this tendency out there to think of handknits as precious, fragile things to be coddled and only dragged out of mothballs on high days and holidays, as it were. And indeed, some of them surely are. But there’s no reason at all to think that knits can’t be items of everyday use.

I wanted to prove this concept to myself and others by replacing my ancient, much-loved peg bag (a charming little handwoven thing I got years ago when my sister and I went on a holiday together touring the south of Western Australia) with a felted peg bag. And while I was about it, why not extend the concept? I mean, I was about to deliberately felt a handknitted thing, right? Why not make sure the job was done right and spin the yarn as well, especially for felting?

Damn straight.

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Thusly, this lovely 8oz bundle of Targhee from Crown Mountain Farms (mayitrestinpeace) was spun into a fattish chain-plied yarn, loosely spun and not too overplied that came out nice and squishy.

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I wanted a sculptural, functional household item, something to be proud of but not at all precious about. A simple construction was going to be better. I decided on a simple panel of stocking stitch, folded in half and seamed, then decorated with swirls of icord sewn onto the bag.

I wanted it to be lush. I wanted dense swirls, spirals, curlicues, flourishes of textural decoration that flowed up to the edges and formed handles then seamlessly flowed back down onto the bag body. I knew there was a lot of icord ahead of me, and the handspun was too big and a little too uneven to use an icord maker.

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I spent a lot of my time at the Knitting Retreat knitting icord, probably giving the impression that I’m an inept knitter who is barely able to knit a tube, and eventually gave up when my sanity was threatened at about 4.5m of the stuff. The panel nearly knit itself. I arranged the icord on the panel, pinned it, and began sewing it down. That stalled for a while (not a fun process, lemme tell ya) but after a while I got it done. The bag was seamed (some of my very best seaming work).

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And then it was felted. And now it hangs in the laundry, a small celebration of our pride in our surroundings every time we go to hang the washing out. Why not knit ordinary things, I ask you?

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