The benefits of integrated felt bag handles 

As I lay out the fibres for my latest felt bag, I am reflecting on the options for felt bag handles. For me a bag of whatever kind has to have a handle. I just can’t manage clutch bags and in truth I struggle to use any bag that can’t hang comfortably on my shoulder.

There are many methods to make a handle for a felt bag. The handle can be made from felt or an alternative material like canvas or leather. It can be integrated into the bag as part of the design , or it can be attached in a variety of ways. I am thinking of :

  • Stitching
  • Loops
  • Ties
  • Knots

All of which I have tried at one time or another.














These handles all work but what I really like are fully integrated felt bag handles.


Because I think integrating fully integrating the handles,  is what sets felt bags apart.    It makes them unique.   With some thought the handles can be integrated seamlessly, giving simultaneously strength and style. That’s just not possible with fabric or leather.  Maybe is possible wth knitting or crochet  ?  But a knitted bag is not very stylish.

Here is an example of a bag I have made wth two integrated handles

the corded handles are felted into the fabric of  the felt bag and also form the start of the cord edging of the felt bag

the integrated cord gives the bag structure







A more substational felt bag made from the beautiful Gotland wool.  Here the handles are intergated into the back and the front of the bag giving it stability and shape.


Both bags are different in design but based the same integration principles.  Both have unique and fully integrated handles.

I made a bag recently at a workshop that I really like and it’s got leather handles. This adds contrast and is very easy to do.

Gladstone Bag










What I am currently wondering is can I modify this bag design to give it integrated handles. This is quite crazy idea really as it will make the bag much  more complicated to make. I think if I am going to do it,  I will need to make  strap like handles, or maybe strap like at the end and cords in the middle.

So even though I think integrated handles have benefits ,   I think , this time , I will make a bag without integrated handles.  I will continue to ponder the best method of attaching them for the next bag.

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Why I enjoy the excitement of Eco Printing

Eco printing is fun, exciting  and for me a good change from natural dyeing and felting.   Here in the UK now is the ideal time for eco printing.   The flowers are blooming and the sap is rising as the spring turns in summer. I had a great experience with a workshop in 2016 with the wonderfully generous Fabienne Dorsman-Rey at Art Van Go .  This year I have refreshed some of my Eco printing knowledge as I was lucky enough to win a free workshop with Kathy Hays.

Their Eco Printing methods are not the same but are very complimentary and I would recommend them both.

Looking back a year ago I am delighted with this eco printed and slow stitched cloth I made during and after Fabienne’s workshop.

I also incorporate Eco printed silk into felt pieces. Below you can see where I used the almost shibori dyed edge of a piece of ecoprinted silk chiffon to represent cliffs.

This year pieces include this beautiful sample eco printing with continus, geranium coreospsis and fern.

I have also been trying my hand at making ecoprinted scarfs. I am quite pleased with my first attempt.

The photo is not so good, but I cant find a good way to photiograph a long scarf.  Can anyone advise me ?

This scarf has been Eco printed with geranium and budlehia and  natural dyed with onions.

When it stops raining I need to start harvesting some leaves as I have learnt from Kathy Hays that prnting will work well with dried leaves.  This has the advantage that I can enjoy Eco Printing during the rest of the year.

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Why I enjoy Eco printing

I love the colours you get with natural dyes although the process can be frustrating in its unpredictability. But I find there is a lot of  excitement and even more unpredictability by adding prints of leaves.  I especially enjoy slowly unrolling my Eco Prining bundles and anticipating what has happened during the process.  If you haven’t tried I would encourage you to give it a go.