I decided I really needed this bag as soon as I saw it for the first time. I hadn't been knitting long and really wasn't sure if I could handle the project. It looked like a really big project to me. The pattern called for 32 balls of yarn and had ominous terms like intarsia, gussets, embroidery, and seams. It sounded like a lot more commitment than I, as a beginner, was willing to make to any project. That is a lot of yarn to have sitting around if I didn't finish the darn thing. Now wait a minute before you say anything, I was a beginner. The idea of a whole stash of unused yarn hadn't even taken hold in my mind. As you can tell from my Flash Your Stash - 2006 post, I have since gotten the hang of how things can work.
When my mom came to visit last October - she was pleased to see me knitting. She's is a very talented lady and knitting is one of the many things she has mastered. She took a look at the pattern and declared that of course I could knit that. She also added that if I wanted, she would knit one for me. Now that was a great offer; my mom has always made wonderful things for me. And here she was, offering to make yet another project for me. Instead, I took it as a challenge and decided I could do it and I ordered the yarn. Some of the yarn was backordered, but it was all here by Christmas last year. I finally started the project early January.
Now that I have been knitting for a little longer, the project doesn't seem daunting at all. It's just going slow. I work on it in between other projects or when I'm trying to figure out what other projects to start. It has become a stereotypical stepchild of my knitting projects.
I decided to start with the straps. It seemed that would be the most boring part of the project. The pattern calls for the straps(2) to be knit in stockinette stitch, eight stitches wide by eight feet long. I was right, that was boring, but both are done. This picture shows the two straps and the two side gussets that are specified in the pattern.
I've also started the front panel of the bag. I am knitting the whole pattern as written, Reynolds Lite Lopi on size 15(US) needles. The back is supposed to be solid according to the pattern, but if I have enough yarn, I may do flowers on both front and back. Although, it will get finished a lot quicker if I make a solid back. The intarsia on the front panel is not really complicated or too challenging. It's turning out as a nice introduction to the technique. Plus, the finished project is going to be felted, so most mistakes will disappear.
You can see I haven't really gotten very far on the front. I'm not loving the whole process. I keep getting a tangle of yarn that has to be separated every few rows. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually. It would probably help if I was using shorter lengths of the colors. The thought of actually getting to use the bag is what is keeping me going, albeit at a very slow pace.
I have the hex frame for the top, the buckles for the straps, and the feet for the bottom. I don't have a piece of masonite for the bottom yet, or the fabric to cover the masonite. I love projects like this that have a bunch of parts and stuff that goes with it.
Here is my math for the rest of the project. When I get this bag finished, it will free up space in my stash for 32 balls of yarn. I'll carry this bag into a LYS and bring home 32 new little treasures. So I better get knitting.