Well, I think I’ve come up with just about my perfect knitted tarot bag design, although I’m still looking for the ideal yarn. My bags are fitted and have squared-off sides and bottom—you could almost call them cases rather than bags. Pictured are two versions in cotton. I think I’ll try a hemp yarn next as its slight stiffness might give a little more body to the case.
First I knit a sample to get the yarn’s gauge (using smaller needles than the yarn normally calls for). I determine the number of stitches to match the deck’s measurements plus about 1/8″ to 1/4″ for each dimension.
I knit the flap in seed stitch (Row 1: k1p1; Row 2: p1k1)* so it will lie flat. When the flap, including top edge, is long enough, I cast on enough additional stitches to knit the rest of the bag in the round with 5 double pointed sock needles. (Note: Plan on adding 1 or 2 stitches to the front and back needles as the seed stitch used on the flap is wider than stockinette stitch.)
Needle 1 = knit side stitches in seed stitch; needle 2 = front stitches in stockinette; needle 3 = side stitches in seed stitch; needle 4 = back stitches in stockinette (the back continues directly on from the flap). Optional: My needle 2 (front stitches) begin with 3 rows of k1p1 ribbing to keep the top edge from curling.
In order to have a nice flat bottom I end the body with a purl row to define the edge. My bottom is stockinette with the purl side out. You want to be positioned to begin a needle 1 (side) row. Pick up the adjacent stitch from the back (needle 4) and purl together with the first stitch of needle 1. Purl until one side stitch remains on needle 1; purl it together with the adjacent stitch from the front (needle 2). Turn the work. Knit together the next stitch from needle 2 with the first stitch on needle 1. Knit the rest of the stitches on needle 1 except one. Knit this last stitch together with a stitch from needle 4. Turn the work. Repeat as above until you reach the other end of your case and meet the stitches on needle 3. Knit the stitches from needles 1 & 3 together using a Kitchener Stitch. (Note: you may need to turn the bag inside out in order to do the Kitchener Stitch. This is better anyway as the final row will have the purl side out.)
I then weave the beginning and ending tails of yarn to a center point on the front edges so that the tails become ties for securing the center of the top flap to the center bottom edge.
Happy knitting. All suggestions for yarns or improvements are gratefully accepted.
See the earlier version of my tarot case and links to other tarot bags here.