Thursday, April 17, 2008

Grandma's Got a Brand New Bag

During the month of April I'm knitting these market tote bags with a group of knitters from Ravelry. I've got five done towards my goal of a grocery trip using only these bags and being plastic free and "Green". I'm really enjoying the knitting and how quickly they finish up compared to my normal sweaters. If I ever wanted to start a cottage industry these would be the choice I'd make. I'm having a hard time holding on to them, as everyone keeps suggesting I give them out!! So like the Little Red Hen, I offer to help them knit their own... but none have taken me up on the offer. As you can see, I've got several different sizes and have developed the pattern a bit further with each bag. I've knit them all in the round and four are closed with a three needle bind off. The nylon can tote was bound off with off the two knitting needles with a crochet hook because the fiber was a bit stiffer to work with. I've made two with flat bottoms and I think this is my preferred choice as it will keep any smaller items from falling through.

Here is a look at the different yarns I've tried so far. They are all cotton except the top one which is nylon. I've enjoyed seeing how each behaved and tend to be drawn to a mercerized cotton over the more common sugar n' cream yarn. I really like the smooth finish and the slight sheen it provides.

I've also altered how I do the iCord handles. The original pattern calls for two handles, each knit across the entire width of one side. I did notice on most knitters blogs that they felt the handles left the top opening too small. So on the first three I adjusted the pattern to leave several stitches on each side of the tote outside of the iCord and this worked fine. It allowed me plenty of access into the bag without pulling the top to tight. Many who knit the bag flat solved this by leaving a few rows open along the side seam. One of the worst parts of the iCord handles is the Kitchener Stitch closing. Even after doing it eight times so far, it still ends up a bit bulky and doesn't look as finished as the rest of the bag. I solved this by knitting the iCord handle in one piece. I start as instructed, with the cord attached to one side and then begin the detached cord as instructed. When the free portion is long enough to go around the edge of the bag, I then reconnect it to the back side of the bag (being sure not to twist it) and complete the the second side of attached cord. Then off to the other detached portion of the handle and finish by closing with just one set of kitchener stitches. I'm very happy with this change and will be doing it on the remainder of my totes. Here's a look at the two handles, side by side.


Allena said...

i love all your bags, i'm just starting my bag, slow i know! i'm going to take all your adjustments and see what works for me! thanks for writing about them!

MollyBeees said...

Just found your blog through Ravelry. Will be back often! Great job!

Tamara said...

I've bookmarked your blog for when I start the handles on my first bag. I'm so glad I found you through Ravelry---that's where I found the pattern, too, come to think of it! Anyway, your bags look wonderful!

Janet said...

You've been tagged! I hope you don't mind.
Details on my blog:

tina said...

Your bags look GREAT----- and I need to knit a set for myself. It has been on my list for way too long actually.

Thanks for sharing your details!!!!!!