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Monday, February 1, 2010

Diamond Back Laptop Sleeve (felted)

I really needed a laptop sleeve to protect my laptop from all the scratches and scuff marks it was getting when traveling. But when I went to the stores, I could only find either mainly solid colored (boring) or funky colored sleeves which don't quite work in a business environment.

 W 12" x L 15.5" x D 1.5" (fits most laptops to 15")
Photo courtesy Knitcircus Magazine Spring 2010

Alrighty, off to make my own. I picked colors that would work in a business environment and came up with a design that was pretty snazzy but not too over the top, and would work for a woman as well as a man.

As it turns out the team over at Knitcircus really liked the design as well and accepted it for their first online only magazine for Spring 2010. Yeah!

Photo courtesy Knitcircus Magazine Spring 2010

After drawing and re-drawing the pattern on graph paper a couple of times to make it nice and balanced it took me two swatching sessions to tweak the pattern so that it was easy to knit (not too many floating strands across more than 5 sts that need twisting). Then off it went for a round of felting - and - rats, the bands looked much too skinny now and the red diamond in the center was taking over! Help, I see red!

Alrighty, pattern got adjusted one more time to account for the shrinking and to keep the colors in balance. After this felting session, I liked the look of the pattern but also noticed that the non-colorwork sections didn't shrink as much. So, pattern needed to be adjusted again to account for the stronger felting of the stranded work sections.

The swatching and felting sessions also gave me a heads up on how hot the water can be before the red color started to bleed. Crucial to know because you don't want to knit and felt your project just to have it ruined by bleeding colors at the very end!
Lesson learned:  

It is crucial to swatch AND felt before you start your project
You will be sooooo... disappointed if you don't do this little bit of homework up front. Every yarn and color felts differently and you want to get the water temperature right so that the trickier colors won't bleed.

felted Diamond Back color pattern

I prefer to felt these smaller items by hand (just can't get myself to run the washer even on a small load for just one piece) as it takes only about 15 - 20 minutes of playing in water (who doesn't love that?) to get it felted nice and densely. Plus, with hand felting you can control the shrinking as it felts in the direction you rub. With the washing machine you are left to luck...

I then used a couple of books wrapped in a plastic bag and a towel to block the laptop sleeve to size or you could cut a foam block to size and wrap that in a towel.

While the felted sleeve was drying I wrote up the pattern and emailed it to Knitcircus for tech editing. And as soon as the sleeve was dry, I sewed in the zipper and mailed it off to Knitcircus as well for a photo shoot.

That was the hardest thing for me because the sleeve felt so great and I really loved the pattern and wanted to look at it a bit more before letting it go...my baby! :)

If you would like to wrap your dear laptop in this felted Diamond Back Laptop Sleeve you can find this pattern in the Knitcircus Magazine Spring 2010 issue as part of their whole pattern collection for $7.50 until May 1, 2010 (that's when the next magazine issue will replace this one). What a deal!

And if you don't own a laptop that needs to dress up, you could use this pattern to make a bag (just add a handle) or a great pillow for your favorite lounge chair... just thinking out loud. :)

I will have to decide then what I will do with the pattern. So, hurry up to ensure you get a copy for sure.

You can now also purchase the individual laptop pattern:

Happy Knitting and Felting!

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