I came across this Mochi Mochi Dokomun backpack on Ravelry and couldn't resist knitting one for Julian. I thought it would make a perfect book bag for our trips to the library. Though after seeing it start to come together, he had other ideas about what he might like to carry around inside: pencils, scissors (not allowed), trucks, and raisins. Silly billy ;0)
I knit it from Elann Peruvian Highland Wool (2.5 balls of russet brown #3729 and odds and ends of natural and ruby red for the teeth and mouth). This one seemed to literally fly off of the ginormous 8.0mm/US11 needles the pattern calls for. Including the intarsia bit this took less than a day to knit! You just gotta love that!
Then it was time for the hard part: felting! You see, I have one of those energy-efficient front-Loading washing machines and had never had much success felting in it...until now that is because I finally figured out the trick ...
If you have and LG Tromm (or a machine with similar options) here's the secret recipe: put your bag in a king-size pillow case and tie a knot in the end. Put a few drops of dish soap (I use Shaklee's uber concentrated, environmentally/kid friendly dish soap) in the detergent tray. Set it on quick cycle, hot wash/cold rinse, and select the no-spin option. On my machine, this works out to 18 minutes. I checked on my bag and decided to go for a second cycle to get it to felt the way I wanted.
Ta-da! It's perfect! This was such a success that I think my hand-felting days are finally over! Oh, I should mention that I didn't add anything else to the machine for agitation, just the knit bag in the pillow case. I read somewhere that this might actually be more efficient for felting in a front-loader.
Now all I need to do is brave Wal-Mart to get a zipper and a couple of big black buttons for the eyes. I really dislike that store, but their button selection is so much better than our local fabric shop that I just have to suck it in! I also ordered the webbing and buckles from etsy (will share the links once I receive the goods and am happy with them) which will be all that's needed to turn this flat Domokun into a bonafide back pack full of raisins for my quirky little guy;0)