I was delighted during the Holidays when my daughter, Colleen, shopped on line at Knit Picks and gave me a collection of knitting stitch reference books and a knitted tote bag kit that I'd been wanting. The bag is Road Trip Tote Kit "Heartland". http://www.knitpicks.com/cfkits/kit_display.cfm?ID=40211
I finally read through the whole pattern in mid January. This pattern is definitely not for a novice knitter, mainly because of the intarsia. The chart has as many as 6 colors across some of the rows. I made and blocked a swatch and did get the gauge listed on the pattern, I then completed the base and about 6" of the back (the back and the intarsia front are done separately) but then put what I had knitted in time-out, as it definitely wouldn't have been the size that the pattern claimed, especially the height. The width might have been close but the height would have been much shorter.
I sent a pm on Ravelry to the designer to see why, but still have never received a response from her. Then I sent message to Knit Picks giving them all the gauge numbers and why I felt the bag would never become the dimensions stated by the designer. I received a response from them saying they agreed with my numbers and would contact the designer for further info. Two weeks later, I received another Knit Picks message stating that the designer told them that the actual height of the tote was "about" 10" tall and that the 11" listed was a typo. In my opinion the whole gauge listed on the pattern is wrong!
So now I've decided on Plan B. I frogged the whole piece I had knitted and started over with a larger needle. I knit another swatch to get a new gauge and re-figure the number of stitches needed to get the tote the size that I want. I've decided to crop the chart too, so the whole tote will be a shape that is different from the pattern.
My tote will be about 10 1/2" square with a shoulder strap so I can wear it cross body on days when my hip tells me that I need to use my cane. I'll make the bottom base and each side 4" wide. The original pattern info has the bag as a sort of a trapezoid shape with the bottom about 12" across and the top about 17" across and the bottom base and each side about 4". I haven't yet decided how I'll do the shoulder strap. I may use a commercial one or knit one, then use a heavy interfacing and the fabric lining to line the strap for stability so it won't stretch. Need to think about that for a while.
This project will take a while as I'm using US #2 needles and the yarn is fingering weight, not to mention the time consuming intarsia for the front of the bag.
To save my sanity I'll alternate working on the bag with knitting cute baby sweaters. I've got a new baby sweater design currently in the works. I've written out the pattern and have completed knitting 2 of the 4 sizes so I need to get going on the other 2 sizes before I can publish the pattern. This one will be a yarn stash buster!