As the sides knit up, the blue is really taking over and my concerns about the red and yellow are subsiding. I'm calmer with every round as the bag starts to look more like I imagined.
The openwork on the sides should be easy - on odd rows, *K2tog, YO, K1, YO, SSK*, repeat to end of round, and on even rows, just knit. Simple enough, right? But I keep doing it wrong! Not sure why, but I keep skipping the second YO. Yikes! If I don't mind my stitches, my rounds'll get shorter and shorter ... and the columns of openwork won't line up.
I'm gonna have to keep checking and fixing to get it right. Because with this pattern a mistake will stick out like a sore thumb. A bit of patience now will have its reward in the end.