The latest is that my computer is dying a slow death. There are new crashes and errors daily, each more frustrating than the last. I could give a planned obsolescence rant here, but the fact is my G5 has been a workhorse, and it’s a grandma as far as computers go. Unfortunately, it’s been so awesome until now that I wouldn’t consider replacing it with anything but another Mac – if my pocketbook allows it. Macs are so damned expensive! So I fumble along, delaying the inevitable. Following a particularly spectacular crash this afternoon, a little message at the bottom of the screen sadly stated ‘panic: We are hanging here…’

I know exactly what you mean.

So here’s my latest addition to the blogosphere, in case the computer won’t turn on tomorrow: using double-knitting for seamless starts.

I love the coppery colourway of Firefly yarn. It’s a viscose and linen blend and I covet it. But I remembered a linen purchase a year or so ago, and decided to use that up instead. Turns out it’s pure long-fibre hemp, not linen, but it’s a bright fuschia and not hard on the hands at all to knit. I had bought it with a pattern for a market bag and so cast on.

Here's what we're going for, but with a better seamless bottom

The pattern, though, is knit bottom up in the round, with the bottom cast on edges seamed together later. That’s dumb. Seaming’s no fun, and the bottom of the bag needs to be strong. So instead, I double-knit the bottom on straights, separated the layers onto a circular, and continued the bag in the round. Here’s how:

  1. Cast on an even number of stitches onto a straight or circular needle. Do not join in the round. I held two strands of yarn together for extra thickness.
  2. k1, sl1 pwise wyif (for the knit stitches to show on the outside), or
    k1, sl1 pwise wyib(for the purl stitches to show on the outside) to the end of the row.

    The double-knit stitches, all on a single straight needle

  3. Repeat step 2 as many rows as desired, making sure to knit an even number of rows.
  4. Redistribute stitches onto circular needle as follows: hold the points of your circular needle parallel. Slip the first stitch onto one circular needle point, slip the second stitch onto the other circular needle point. Repeat until all stitches are on the circular needle. You have now separated the two layers and have a seamless bag base.

    The straight needle on the left, the circular on the right: separating the double-knit rows into front and back

    The two layers, now separated and on the circular needle, ready to be joined in the round

  5. Join in the round and continue.

    The bag from the bottom: the cast-on (down the centre) is also the seam

That’s it – I’ll show you the bag when it’s finished!