A hand-knit market bag is just the thing for a trip to the neighborhood farmers' market. Both the large tote and the smaller bag make a statement with bold stripes; the smaller bag goes a step further by incorporating the fashionable "tweed" look.
Binding Off -- BO
Casting On -- CO
Stockinette Stitch -- St st
Large bag: (before felting) 17" (43cm) wide, 16" (40.5cm) deep, handle 291/2" (75cm) long; (after felting) 151/2" (39.5cm) wide, 12" (30.5cm) deep, handle 26" (66cm) long
Small bag: (before felting) 15" (38cm) wide, 9" (23cm) deep, handle 14" (35.5cm) long; (after felting) 14" (35.5cm) wide, 71/2" (19cm) deep, handle 121/2" (31.5cm) long
Before felting: 121/2 stitches/20 rows=4" (10cm)
What You'll Need
Yarn: Large bag: 100% medium weight wool yarn: 600 yards (549m) color A; 400 yards (366m) color B. Small bag: 100% medium weight wool yarn: 150 yards (137m) color A and color B. Superwash wool or synthetics will not felt; do not use for felting projects.
We used: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220: #8555 black (yarn A), 3 balls for large bag, 2 balls for small bag; #8021 natural (yarn B), 2 balls for large bag, 2 balls for small bag
Needles: US size 101/2 (6.5mm) circular 24" (61cm) long
Notions: 3 stitch holders; stitch markers; tapestry needle
Miscellaneous: Washing machine, laundry detergent, pillowcase or lingerie bag
Notes: Instructions are written for large bag; numbers for small bag are in brackets. All pieces are worked holding 2 strands of yarn together.
Make the Handles
Holding 2 strands of color A together as 1, cast on 10 stitches. Work in stockinette stitch for 64  rows. Cut yarn, leaving a 4" (10cm) tail; slip stitches onto holder. Pick up 10 stitches at cast-on edge, and work in stockinette stitch for 64  rows. Cut yarn, leaving a 4" (10cm) tail; slip stitches onto another holder.
Repeat to make the second handle, except do not cut the yarn in the last step. Leave those stitches on needle. You will have 2 knitted strips with live stitches on both sides.
Make the Bag Body
Attach the handle: Using the second handle with 10 stitches and the working yarn (color A) attached, use the cable cast-on method to cast on 10  stitches in front of the stitches on the needle. (20  stitches)
Fold the knit strip in half to create the handle. Transfer 10 stitches from stitch holder onto working needle; knit across these stitches (30  stitches). Cast on 26  stitches using the cable cast-on method, and then knit across 10 stitches from first handle (66  stitches). Cast on 10  stitches in front of these stitches, knit across second set of 10 stitches from first handle, and then cast on 26  stitches using the cable cast-on (112  stitches). Join work into a circle, taking care not to twist stitches. Place stitch marker in front of first stitch worked to indicate beginning of round.
Rounds 1, 3, 5, and 7: Purl.
Rounds 2, 4, 6, and 8: Knit.
Round 9: Knit until 13  stitches before the marker. Place second stitch marker (use another color to distinguish from first marker). The second marker will indicate beginning of round for color changes. Cut yarn, leaving 4" (10cm) tail to weave in later.
Create color sequence: For large bag, work [9 rounds color B, 9 rounds color A] 4 times (72 rounds). For small bag, holding 1 strand color A and 1 strand color B together as 1, knit 11 rounds. With 2 strands color B held together as 1, knit 11 rounds. Change to 1 strand A and 1 strand B held together, and knit 11 rounds. Using 2 strands B, knit 4 rounds.
Make the Bag Base
Knit 8  stitches past second marker, then bind off 40  stitches. Knit across next 16 stitches, place them on holder, bind off 40  stitches, then knit across 16 stitches remaining on needle. Work 35  rows in stockinette stitch. Bind off.
Place stitches from holder back on needle, and rejoin yarn. Work 36  rows in stockinette stitch. Bind off.
Thread tapestry needle with 18" (46cm) strand of yarn, and seam center of base together using mattress stitch. Rethread yarn as necessary. Starting in middle of bag base, whipstitch bound-off edges from bag body to base sides. Base piece will be slightly longer and will need to be eased to the sides (knitted fabric shrinks more lengthwise). Weave in all loose ends to wrong side of bag.
Felt the bag.
Our next pattern, the himalayan silk purse, is made with luxurious yarns for bright colors and lush textures. Keep reading for the himalayan silk purse knitting pattern.
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