UPDATE 24-MAY-2013: I have just published an updated version of this pattern entitled "BYOB 2.0 - Bring Your Own Bag! v2.0". This version now includes 3 different sizes and new all-natural yarns. See the Blog entry here for further information, and download the free pattern from Craftsy: "BYOB 2.0" . I hope you enjoy this updated version!
Thank you for all the great comments and suggestions on my "BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag!" pattern that was recently published in Knitty, Summer 2008. I am going to post some blog entries over the next few days with variations that you might want to try. In the meantime, I have had a number of requests for further information, so I will answer some questions here:
Q: There are two different ways of working the Seed Stitch given. Why is that? Seed Stitch is worked as k1, p1 on an odd number of stitches when working flat, but when you are working in the round, then you need to start the 2nd round with a P1. Both options are shown in the pattern. However, it will always be that a knit stitch should fall above a purl 'bump' in the previous row, and a purl will come above a knit in the last row. The base also contains selvedge stitches and these are included in the row instructions.
Q: Is it necessary to shape the base? I am having trouble getting the increases and decreases to look good in the Seed Stitch. Seed Stitch is a bit unforgiving and will unfortunately show up inconsistencies in your knitting. However if you work these increases and decreases firmly and close to the tips of the needles, then you should have no problems making these look good. The shaping again makes it easier to load the bags and for them to sit well at the check-out, but you can opt to work a rectangular base if you wish. You will not get such a smooth result as the base is a more angular shape, but if you are having problems with the increases/decreases then you might prefer that result.
Q: I am quite short. Can I change the length of the openwork panel so that the bags are shorter? Absolutely! These bags are a good size so that they will accommodate large items such as cereal packets. However, you might like to work less of the lacy panel and have a shorter bag. Have a look also at the subsequent postings for other variations of this bag, so that you can see other styles of bags that you might wish to try.
Q: How much weight will the bags take?
They will carry about the same as a standard supermarket plastic bag without any difficulty. These particular BYOB bags are reasonably large so they can accomodate bulky items but I find they are still good with moderately heavy things in them when I carry them on my arm. When I head to the shops I take a couple of linen bags for the really heavy items, a few of these BYOB bags for all the bulky things and a few of the solid basketweave or Fibonacci bags for everything else. That seems a really good combination and avoids the need for all the plastic.