Following on from the last Blogpost "Pre-washing Yarns", we are now ready to start gathering the materials for our market bags.
This will be a slightly simplified version of my BYOB 2.0 - Bring Your Own Bag! pattern. The market bag that we will work here will have a little less shaping for the base and will be in a single colour.
I have chosen a bright, cheery yellow for the bag that I will be making. This is Lily Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton in colour #10 Yellow, but you can choose any colour for your own market bag. There is a wide range of solid colours and also some stripes and tints too. The yarn comes in regular-sized balls (70.9gm/2.5 oz) and Super-size (113gm/4 oz).
You will need approximately 3 regular-sized balls of yarn for this project, but have a 4th ball on hand in case you find that you need a little bit more. As a comparison, my bag weighed 205gm/7.25 oz which is roughly 320m/350 yds of yarn, but please use that merely as a guideline for your own yarn purchase.
It is hard to match dyelots at a later date and spare yarn is always useful if you find you have too much. Maybe your next bag can have a jaunty yellow stripe to use up any left-overs!
If you wish to pre-wash your yarns, then prepare your skeins and wash them as per my last post. Then when they are dry, wind each skein back into a ball ready to start work.
Now, if you look at the pattern, you will see the suggested needles for this project under the heading "Materials". There are two different sizes of needles required and this is because the openwork part of the pattern needs to be worked on larger needles than the Seed Stitch to get the right dimensions.
You will also see a suggested gauge of 18 sts and 32 rows to 10cm/4 ins in Seed Stitch using the smaller sized needles, 4.0mm/US #6. So start by casting on about 24 stitches and work about 10 rows or so in Seed Stitch. How is this feeling? Does it feel nicely tight or a little loose?
The bags do have to be worked fairly firmly or they will stretch, so if it feels a little "loosey-goosey" to you, go down a needle size and work a few more rows. If it is too tight and cardboard-like, then increase the needle size. Do this until the material feels "just right".
Now measure your gauge and see how it compares to the pattern. It would be great if you can match the suggested gauge in the pattern, but it is more important to work the right fabric for your bag.
This can vary so much: from knitter to knitter, from one yarn type to another, even one needle brand to another! If your gauge matches the pattern, then you can work the number of stitches and rows given. If it does not, then you will have to do a little Maths to calculate how to adjust the pattern so that you get the size bag you want.
Size of Bag
Now you need to figure out what is the ideal bag size for you. We are going to be working the medium-size bag like the blue one in the photo above. This is 35cm/14 ins tall and 36cm/14.5 ins wide.
Measure some of the bags you have to hand and see how those measurements compare to the bags you like to use. Note where you may need to make changes to adjust the directions to suit your very own bag.
Then when you have all those items to hand we will be ready to start knitting!