Robert Frost's immortal words were echoing in my head this week as I knitted i-cord - miles and miles of i-cord. First I had to do the i-cord bind off on the top of the bag. Then I had to knit the attached i-cord on the bottom of the bag. Then I had to knit 3 separate strands of i-cord to make the braided handles. OK, it really wasn't miles but it felt like it, especially because I only have circulars in the US 10.75 (7 mm) needles I was using. So I had to transfer the sts from the right to the left needle after each row instead of sliding which is much faster. But I finished it last night.
After the i-cord, I decided to knit a second bottom. If you remember, I wanted to use a Bag-E-Bottom to reinforce the base. I was thinking about this and I thought that just dropping it in the bottom was not going to work. It would slide around and fall out. So I knit a second bottom and crocheted it on three sides (2 short and 1 long) to the bottom of the bag on the inside. After the felting, I inserted the Bag-E-Bottom into the pocket formed by the two bottoms and let it dry. The bag was slightly smaller than the Bag-E-Bottom, but it will be fine after it dries. Here's a photo of the bag and the unattached handles drying. I felted them last night. The ends of the braid came undone as I had only knotted the tails together thinking they'd felt themselves together. But apparently they came undone before the felting so the braids had unraveled. But the i-cord felted so I just re-braided it and held them closed with clothespins to dry. When I sew them on the bag, they'll stay together.
I hate trying to find something to shape the bag around. I used cereal boxes and a zipper plastic bag box covered in plastic. But I could have used something slightly bigger. You can see how the bag curves in at the sides. It should work itself out but if I had a box or two that would make the felt stretch slightly, it would have been better. No flash used for these photos. It is taken in natural light so I guess it is pretty close to the correct colors but it looks lighter than the real life bag.
Interestingly, I made my first felted bag as an up-scale lunch tote and spent a lot of time working out the sizing - only to fail miserably. It was too big. I use it as a knitting tote. That is the one I photographed with the yarn originally. This one - which was designed to fit the Bag-E-Bottom - is going to be almost perfect for the lunch tote. With the reinforced bottom, it should work well. But all that after the class is over.