The Net Duffel Bag has been done and photos taken for over a week now, but only today do I find the time to write about it.

Bag_2009_05_03_NetDuffelBag

Pattern: Net Duffel Bag by Vivian Høxbro, as published in Interweave Knits, Spring 2009
Yarn: 2.5 skeins Louet Euroflax fine / sport weight linen, 100% wet spun linen, color: Blue Heron
Needles: size 2
Started 4/9 and finished 5/3/2009

The major modification I made was to inadvertently overlook the needle change when beginning the handle. I’m glad I did. This made the handle far shorter than in the pattern yet I can easily sling it across my body. I can’t imagine how long the handle would be had I worked it on size 6 needles as recommended. Looking at the photo in the magazine on page 29, it looks like a shorter handle than mine, but look closely, and you see there is a knot back behind the model’s shoulder. So if you are making this and don’t want the bag to hang past your knees (and before washing it came to my knees and I’m 5’7″), continuing on with your smaller needles for the “band and handle” section is A-OK.

Now, unless you want to weave in a minimum of 144 ends (72 squares x 2 ends each) just for the body, I have a tip. Knit the base with the first skein of yarn, cutting the tail when the instructions tell you to except for square 16, which you can leave attached. I used a safety pin to hold the last stitch in place. Before continuing into tier 1, take your second skein of yarn and split it into sevenths, so you have 7 little balls of yarn. The remainder of ball #1 (still attached to square 16) is your 8th ball.

The next squares you work set up a pattern of eighths: the bag is constructed in eighths up through its 5 tiers and using 8 little balls will help minimize tails. When you’re done with the base you work squares 17 through 20. Start with a new little ball of yarn for each square that needs it (I used a rubber band on each ball not in use to keep it in check otherwise they got too unruly) and don’t cut the tails here, just hold the last stitch in place with a safety pin. You’ll find each ball in position to work another square when you get to its connecting square. Indeed, the instructions tell you not to cut the yarn after working the last stitch of a square once you get up into square 21, but nowhere do they tell you to make 8 little balls of yarn. I used skein #3 for the handle and have I’d guess a little more than half a skein left over.

Bag_2009_05_03_NetDuffelBag_detail

Despite this little trick I still felt like I had a bajillion ends to weave in. Part of the reason was I worked half the first tier cutting the yarn after each square until it dawned on me that the bag was worked in eighths and so could have saved myself some weaving had I realized this and split skein #2 earlier on. The other reason was each skein also had several knots in it (say 4 or 5 EACH) so I still had lots to weave in.

I threw the finished bag into the washer and dryer with our regular laundry and it came out soft, pliable, and slightly smaller and tighter. I like it even better now. Also, since my last adventure with linen when I noticed the yarn got softer the more I unraveled and reknitted what I was doing, I worked these skeins about 10 minutes each in my hands, kneading and squeezing, before winding them into balls and starting this project. This made the linen easier to work with.

And one final thought: Euroflax isn’t exactly cheap. This is the most expensive tote bag I own. 🙂

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