Tanis Gray's recent book Knitting Architecture includes one of my patterns, the Wrought Iron Tote. The book contains a lot of great patterns over a wide range of styles; some of my favorites are the King's College Pullover by Mari Muinonen, the Fisher Building Mittens by Jane Dupuis, and Tanis' own Bird's Nest Shrug.While the sidebars on architectural inpirations are fun and informative, this is not primarily a book about the architecture and construction of knitted garments, but rather includes garments inspired by classic or well-known examples of architecture and architectural ornament.
I created the stranded motif for the Wrought Iron Tote when I was working up a number of stranded patterns for use in my self-published collection, Ferrovia. Like the motifs included in the Brandt Cardigan, Renee Pullover and Quotidiana Hat, the motif I used for the tote was inspired by wrought iron designs from the Exposition des Art Decoratifs in Paris in 1925 (the exhibition which gave rise to the term "Art Deco").
This project was really the first of its type for me (the only other bag I had ever designed was the Rose of Sharon bag, which is very different!). So I was very conscious of practical considerations, such as the ideal size of the bag (roomy, but not so wide it couldn't fit comfortably under the arm), how to stabilize and reinforce the bottom, and how to make sure the strap did not stretch out with use. I thought about felting the fabric (the yarn was Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, which can be felted), but when I felted a swatch to see what happened, the stranded areas felted unevenly, and after talking it over with Tanis, we decided to use a non-stretchy lining instead. So the interior and strap are lined with canvas, and the bottom is reinforced with a plastic needlepoint canvas panel, sandwiched between the knit fabric and the lining. You could also add feet to the exterior of the base to prevent scuffing; another handy addition would be to add an interior pocket or two to the lining.
(All photos courtesy of F+W Media.)