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. This gives the appearance of neatly arranged grains of rice that is the characteristic 'look' of Seed Stitch. 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 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 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 would then have a more angular shape, but if you are having problems with the increases/decreases then you might prefer to do that instead.
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 different options that you might want to try and also see the new version of the pattern which now has 4 different sizes.
Q: How much weight will the bags take?
They will carry about the same as a standard supermarket plastic bag without any difficulty. They are especially useful for bulky items, of course, 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 and a few of these BYOB Bags for all the awkwardly-shaped items. That seems a really good combination and avoids the need for all the plastic bags at the checkout.
Download the free BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag! pattern from my website and please also look at the other bags available on the site to give you some other ideas.
Next Up: BYOB - Fired Earth Colourway