I returned to the pattern to get inspiration for the bag handles. When the bag was almost as tall as I wanted I decreased every fifth stitch to bring the top in and keep the bag from flopping open, and changed to garter stitch (knitting in the round it is knit 1 row, purl 1 row). After knitting six rows garter stitch I counted and I found I had a total of 78 stitches. I decided I wanted the short sides of the top to be 1/2 as long as the sides, so I divided by 6 and planned on 13 stitches at each end and 26 for each long side. I counted the stitches and decided I wanted the applied I-cord on the entire long side length. I did not plan that the applied I-cord would take up (and by that I mean shorten) the long side, but I am still pleased with the outcome.
What do you think?
(Edited 12/4/2013 to update yarn)