I'm sure many knitters have had this problem: I love the look of fair isle projects, but just don't want to deal with all the work. So many colors, yarns, and *gasp* bobbins! Not to mention all those darn ends to weave in. Luckily, slip stitch patterns create a similar effect with only a fraction of the effort.
This felted tote is perfect to use up those odds and ends sitting in your knitting closet, and great for beginners that want to try some color work.
A. 1 skein white worsted weight wool (I used Patons classic merino).
B. About half a skein dark green worsted weight wool
C. About 1/3 skein bulky lavender wool. (You can use worsted as well, but the bulky yarn gives the tote a nice texture).
U.S. size 8 needles
About 4.5 stitches per inch, but gauge is really not too important here.
sl - slip one stitch from left to right needle without knitting it.
*Note: Make sure your yarn is on the wrong side of the work when you slip stitches.
Cast on 55 stitches using A.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: p1, (k5, p1) 9 times
Row 3: switch to B, k2, sl1, [k1, sl1] twice, k5 (sl1, [k1, sl1] 3 times, k5) 3 times, sl1, [k1, sl1] twice, k2
Row 4: p2, sl1 [p1, sl1] twice, k5, (sl1, [p1, sl1] 3 times, k5) 3 times, sl1, [p1, sl1] twice, p2
Row 5: switch to A, [k1, sl1] 3 times, (k7, sl1 [k1, sl1] twice) 4 times, k1
Row 6: [p1, sl1] 3 times, p1, (k5, p1 [sl1, p1] 3 times) 4 times
Repeat Rows 3-6 once more, then Rows 3 and 4 again.
Row 13: switch to A, knit
Row 14: as Row 2
Row 15: switch to B, k6, sl1 [k1, sl1] 3 times, (k5, sl1, [k1, sl1] 3 times) 3 times, k6
Row 16: p1, k5, (sl1 [p1, sl1] 3 times, k5) 4 times, p1
Row 17: switch to A, k7 (sl1 [k1, sl1] twice, k7) 4 times
Row 18: p1, k5, p1 ([sl1, p1] 3 times, k5, p1) 4 times
Repeat Rows 15-18 once more, then Rows 15 and 16 again.
Row 25: knit
Row 26: as Row 2
Break off B
Rows 27- 30: using A, work in stockinette (knit the right side, purl the wrong side)
Rows 31 and 32: switch to C, knit
Rows 33-36: switch to A, work in stockinette
Rows 37 and 38: switch to C, sl4, (k3, sl1, k3, sl3) 5 times, sl1 (or if you prefer work to last 4 stitches on Row 37, then turn the work and work back starting with the parentheses)
Rows 39 and 40: switch to A, work in stockinette
Repeat Rows 37-40 again, then Rows 37 and 38 again
Rows 47-50: switch to A, work in stockinette
Rows 51 and 52: switch to C, knit
Break off C
Rows 53-56: switch to A, work in stockinette
Work Rows 1-26 twice more, but reverse colors by starting with B.
Work rows 27-52 once more.
Work rows 1-26 once more, using original color pattern.
You should have a large rectangle of fabric. Fold it in half and sew up the sides.
Holding a strand of B and C together, cast on 4 stitches. Work in Icord (knit the 4 stitches, then slip them all back onto the left-hand needle, repeat) for about 10 inches, bind off. Repeat for the second handle. Attach each end of the handle 11 in stitches from each corner of the bag. Repeat on the other side for the second handle.
Put the tote inside a pillowcase. Wash on the hot/cold cycle. I didn't felt my bag completely because I wanted the texture to show. If you want the same effect, remove the bag after about 15 minutes rather than letting it run through the whole cycle.