Last summer, KnitPicks offered a great kit for making 2 tote bags, with one skein of the 4 natural colors of Simply Cotton Organic cotton yarn. The colors of this cotton are naturally occurring. From darkest to lightest: toffee, ginger, malted milk, marshmallow.
The kit is no longer available for purchase, but you can now download the pattern for free. I was ecstatic to find a fun knitting project that would be interesting to make (since there are multiple cultures) and is very functional!
The woven stitch on the bottom of the bag has more give on the width than the length. My first bottom measured 6" in the width, but would easily stretch to 8" to make it a square. I thought that the pattern was really pretty, and I could see making kitchen towels out of this stitch.
The gauge of the lacy sides was larger than the woven bottom, so the 12" of sides knit up extremely quickly:
The project required a provisional cast-on to start, a technique that I had never attempted. I found the following video, and it turned out to be a piece of cake.
Isn't my first provisional cast-on pretty?I tend to use cast on with the long tail method, or backwards loop if I am in the middle of a row. I found this video helpful for how to do a knitted cast on (used for making the holes in the handles). I could see myself using this method more often, as it eliminates the necessity to guesstimate how much of a tail you need.
The bag is cute, was fun to make, and I think will make a fun, practical- non-winter-accessory gift. There is even enough yarn left over to make a second bag!