About those bags ...
If you have seen one of my knit bags up close, you will notice that there are no seams - none on the bottom, none on the sides. That is done with the ribber and circular knitting. The knitting machine can knit a 'tube' of yarn! The carriage can be set so that it knits on the main bed for one pass and the ribber for the next - back and forth, back and forth. You end up with the same thing as you would knitting on circular needles by hand.
The end is cast on to seal it and then the circular knitting begins. When the bag is the correct length, the stitches on the ribber are bound off creating a neat edge. I continue knitting on the main bed, reducing the stitches as I go to form the flap. The strap is called an "I cord". It is 3 stitches knit on the main bed to the desired length. The fabric naturally rolls and forms that nice cord. I attach the cord all the way down to the end of the bag on the inside to give it stability. To attach it just at the top of the bag would save on yarn, but would make the bag sag.
There is much more that I want to experiment with my machines. I have a whiteboard full of ideas, from wire jewelry to woven bags. I will keep my blog updated as I make new things. There is just one more installment of this series right now - my views on machine knitting vs hand knitting. See you soon!