all done with the bag
colorwork pattern - pattern 20, from Knitting Marvelous Mittens, plus a couple of extra stripes on the side
bag pattern - my own
yarn - Patons Classic Merino (Don't ask for the exact colors, as I got rid of the ball bands long ago.) I'm pretty sure I used well under 1/2 a skein of each. (It comes in 100 gram, ~220 yard skeins.)
needles - size 3 DPNs (yes, bulletproof gauge)
My friend Carol helped me with the lining today. (Okay, truth be told, she sewed the lining for me today. My helping consisted of standing around and watching, for the most part. Though I did sew the lining in on my own.) I know that at least one person was interested in the pattern. Since I used a colorwork pattern straight out of a book, and don't have a good way to share charts anyway, I'll leave it up to you to find a colorwork pattern you like. But I'll give you the basic bag recipe.
- Cast on 96 stitches (or # you need) using a provisional cast on.
- Join in the round and knit several (I think I did 6) rows in the background color before starting the colorwork pattern. I highly suggest either using a pattern that has stripes at the sides (such as the patterns in Knitting Marvelous Mittens), or adding in your own stripes, to create a faux seam. This will give some perceived shape to the bag. I also knit these stitches very tightly, not really paying attention to stranding tension. Because it was alternating stripes, this didn't cause problems, but instead helped keep the corners tight, which helps the bag stay relatively flat. Just make sure to calculate the seam stitches into your stitch count before you cast on.
- When the bag is a bit shorter (maybe 1" or so) than the length you desire, switch back to straight stockinette in the background color. Knit until the bag is the length you like, then put the live stitches at the top on scrap yarn.
- Block the bag. This will help with stitch evenness, and help the ends to lie flatter for your finishing work.
- Unravel the provisional cast on while slipping those stitches onto your DPNs. I found it easier to slip those stitches onto slightly smaller needles.
- Close up the bottom of the bag using a 3 needle bindoff. (Remember to do this inside out!)
- Put the live stitches at the top back on your needles.
- Knit attached icord. You'll do this in two separate sections. Start at one stitch past the center side stitch at one seam, and continue through the center stitch of the seam on the other side. Then continue knitting regular icord for a good while. (Whatever length you like.) Do the other half of the bag the same way. You should have icord edging around the entire top of the bag, with icord handles hanging from each side of the bag.
- Sew the end of one of the icord straps to the other side of the bag. Take the icord strap that starts at that other end, and twist it around the attached strap until it's as twisty as you like, then sew it in on the other side. Futz with the twisting until it looks nice. (Yes, futz is a technical knitting term.)
- finish stuff up - weave in ends, sew and attach a lining if you like, etc. You may want to steam the top to keep it non-curly, though I haven't had a problem with that yet on my bag.
I recommend doing your bag at a really tight gauge for whatever yarn you choose. I actually haven't measured my gauge, but on my swatch I was just under 7 stitches per inch, in a worsted weight yarn, using size 3 needles. I think a tight, dense fabric is nice, even if you line your bag and don't have to rely on the knitted fabric to hold the bag contents. It looks nice, and will hold up better to wear.
Did I forget anything? I hope not, but let me know if you have any questions.
By the way, the real reason for my trip to Carol's wasn't the bag. It was to do this: