Here it finally is: my completed knitted and embroidered bag, knit in superbly gorgeous Jamieson & Smith 2-ply wool, it has folk-inspired charm by the armful, and I adore it.
I had finished the knitting portion of this bag quite some time ago, but was awaiting buying some lining fabric and handles before I got on with the rather big task of embroidering all of the detail.
The number of French Knots on this bag is not to be underestimated. It wasn’t until I actually picked up my tapestry needle threaded with yarn and consulted the charts for the embroidery stitches that the momentous task actually struck me for all that it was. Of course, the hundreds of French knots, cross stitches and duplicate stitch could be left off, but they add so much to the charm of the knitted piece that they are absolutely worth the effort of the extra work.
The result is decorative and intricate but without any flounce. For all of the embellishment it is in no way over-the-top. In fact, I think it is just about perfect. And because I wanted it to be as perfect as possible I blocked it a second time after the embroidery to give the best possible finish that I could achieve.
I deviated from the pattern slightly by beginning the project with a provisional cast on. The bag is knit from the bottom upwards, and I had originally intended to Kitchener stitch the base of the bag closed for a perfect smooth finish, but as I was piecing the bag together I instead decided on a three-needle bind off for the added strength and structure that this technique lends to a join, and the finish looks so neat and perfect that I am convinced this was the right choice.
The only other modification I made to the pattern as written was to add in a further repeat of the ‘upper leaf’ pattern in the charted design, because though my stitch gauge was bang on, my row gauge was off and I didn’t want the bag to end up too short.
If I were to knit this pattern again I would change one further thing. After the decreases that shape the top pieces that lead up to the handles I would have added an extra 3-4cm of straight knitted fabric, to give a bit of extra length to the fabric that feeds through the handles, because knitting them as written leaves only a bit of leeway in the opening of the bag. I have compromised slightly by sewing down only the lining fabric to secure the inside and have the knitted fabric stop just inside the bag, but I think I shall cover the join with either a knitted strip or piece of matching velvet ribbon at a later date.
This was a really enjoyable project to knit and finish, and I absolutely love the finished piece which I shall cherish using.
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith 2-ply