We have now reached the point in the Market Bag Tutorial/Knit-along where we can actually start knitting our bag, a single-coloured variation of the BYOB 2.0 - Bring Your Own Bag Pattern.
And please, see the link at the bottom if you have missed any of the 3 preceding blog-posts in this series which dealt with pre-washing your yarn, gauge, and Provisional Cast-On choices.
The Base and lower section of the BYOB 2.0 pattern features Seed Stitch, which is an easy-to-work pattern giving a firm finish and attractive texture. I have to say I love this stitch. It's one my favourite "Zen" stitch patterns, where it is possible to totally immerse myself in an audiobook or watch a movie while productively knitting away.
However, you can choose any stitch pattern that you like as long as it is fairly firm. It is surprising how different you can make something look with only a small change such as this!
Have a look through some stitch guides at your local library or on-line and see if you'd like to use a different stitch pattern. The photo above shows Double Moss Stitch would be a good alternative, for example - but you decide what you'd like to select for your bag.
You will need to work a tension swatch in the pattern of your choice and also make sure that you have the right number of repeats across the row. For our Seed Stitch base we are going to cast on 41 sts (see below). However, if your pattern has a repeat of "4 sts + 2", for example, then you could work: 38 sts + 2 Selvedge sts, total 40 sts.
Selvedge Stitches [also spelt: Selvage] are worked at each side of the knitting to give a neat edge. In this project we are going to pick stitches up along this edge when we start on the main body of the bag.
The instructions in the BYOB 2.0 pattern use the "English Selvedge" which is to knit the first and last stitch on all Right Side rows, and then slip them on all Wrong Side rows. The slipped stitches are worked without twisting (ie slip as if to purl).
This gives a neat series of slightly-elongated knit stitches on the edge of the fabric. When you are ready to pick up the stitches along this edge, it is easy to insert the knitting needle into the spaces between as the selvedge stitches are only worked on every-other-row.
How many stitches?
In the BYOB 2.0 pattern the base is shaped into an oval. However, for this Tutorial/Knit-along, we are going to simplify things and just work a plain rectangular base.
So we are going to start with 41 sts, as in the pattern, but then not increase in the centre. This will make a slightly smaller sized base overall, but I think this will be good for a market bag. The larger base is good for a shopping bag that will be placed on a check-out counter, but for the market bag the slightly smaller size should work well.
If you would like a larger or smaller base for your bag, then you will need to adjust the number of stitches to cast on. Compare the size we are working to the bags you looked at last time and work out if you need to make any changes.
... And so to the bag
Although the base is worked flat, it is a good idea to use circular needles at this point as they will be needed once we start working up the side. Also, I suggest that you start with needles at least 80cm/32 ins long as we will need the extra length when we come to picking up the stitches (more on this next time).
So, using the Provisional Cast-On method of your choice and Waste Yarn:
CO 41 sts using 4.0mm/US #6 circ ndls, 80cm/32 ins long. **
Row 1 (RS): Join in MC yarn and k to end of row.
Row 2: Sl 1, [k1, p1] to last 2 sts, k1, Sl 1.
Row 3: K2, p1, [k1, p1] to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 4: As Row 2.
Rep Rows 3-4 until wk meas 15cm/6 ins.
** NB: Adjust the number of stitches to be cast on and the needle size to suit your swatch and calculations. See the Knit-along #2 post for more information on this.
See you again once you have your base knitted!
Previous Blog-Post: Market Bag Knit-along #3 - Provisional Cast-Ons