Coming up with projects to knit while traveling can be a bit of a challenge for me, they need to be engaging enough to be interesting, but not so difficult that I need to constantly refer to patterns or charts. I had recently done another project with a cable braid, and it seemed to fit the criteria pretty well, but this time I decided to try working a seamless cable band by doing a provisional cast-on, and an advanced grafting technique I found recently. Once the cable band was finished, the body of the bag is simply stitches picked up from the edge of the band and worked in-the-round. The only tricky part was the grafting, since I’d never grafted anything but plain stockinette before, but I found it to be quite easy once I figured it out. The bag turned out really cute, and I mastered a new technique, score!
11 inches (at widest point) by 7.5 inches tall (not including handles)
worsted weight, approximately 130 yds—sample knit with one skein of Wool-Ease Oxford Grey
18 st per 4 inches
8 US / 5mm
This pattern uses a provisional cast-on, and an advanced grafting technique (some experience with grafting (kitchener stitch) is recommended).
The cable band forms the top of the bag, then the body of the bag is picked up along the bottom edge of the cable band and worked in-the-round down from there.
st = stitch
K = knit
P = purl
C12F = slip next 6 st to cable needle and hold to front of work, K next 6 st from left-hand needle, K 6 st from cable needle
C12B = slip next 6 st to cable needle and hold to back of work, K next 6 st from left-hand needle, K 6 st from cable needle
Using provisional cast on, cast on 29 st.
Row 1: K4, P3, K18, P4
Row 2: K4, P18, K3, P4
Row 3: K4, P3, K6, C12F, P4
Row 4: K4, P18, K3, P4
Rows 5—10: repeat rows 1 and 2
Row 11: K4, P3, C12B, K6, P4
Row 12: K4, P18, K3, P4
Rows 13—16: repeat rows 1 and 2
Work these 16 rows 7 times (7 pattern repeats total), then work one more repeat ending with row 13.
Joining the band seamlessly
Grafting (kitchener stitch) is most commonly done on stockinette. For grafting the reverse stockinette sections, there is a slight difference, but it’s not very difficult.
Thread a length of yarn on to a tapestry needle. Hold the needles so that the cast-on stitches are on the back needle and the ending edge of stitches are on the front needle (the right sides of the cable should be facing out, make sure the cable band is not twisted). The “i-cord” side of the band will be to the right side, and will be the starting point for grafting.
Set up as usual: go through the first stitch on the front needle purlwise, then go through first stitch on the back needle knitwise. Go through first st/front needle knitwise and slip off the needle, then second st/front needle purlwise; go through first st/back needle purlwise and slip off needle, then second st/back needle knitwise.
Basic kitchener stitch sum-up: Front needle: knit, slip, purl. Back needle: purl, slip, knit
Reverse stockinette section: keep working the front needle the same as for stockinette grafting, but on the back needle work in the opposite direction for the purl stitches. So on the back needle, work the last knit stitch purlwise, slip off the needle, then go through the first purl stitch purlwise instead of knitwise. Work the front needle the same as usual—knit, slip, purl—then work the back needle knit, slip, purl.
As soon as you reach the cable section, you’ll start working the back needle in the usual grafting method again (front needle: knit, slip, purl; back needle: purl, slip, knit). Then, again, when you get to the last section of purl stitches, work just as you did for the previous purl stitches.
So, you always work the front needle the same. On the back needle, you go through the purl stitches the opposite direction than you’d do if they were knit stitches. It sounds more complicated than it is.
(If you need further help, please contact me and I’ll be happy to assist.)
Beginning at the end of the join, pick up 102 st (approximately 4 out of every 5 stitches) around the bottom edge of the cable band. Place marker, join and work stockinette stitch for about 5 inches. Bind off with three-needle bind off (or bind off and sew edge closed).
Turn bag inside out. Sew diagonally across bottom corners. Weave in all ends, turn right side out.
Lining is recommended to add stability. You may use any kind of handle you like; solid wooden handles will hold the shape of the bag as they will not allow the fabric to pull in when the bag is being carried.