Back when I started knitting again, about 2 years ago, made several of these bags. Used Peaches & Crème cotton, the 2oz/98 yard balls. It took a little while to get a “design” down, although its not much of a design since all the variations worked! But I get so many compliments on these bags that I decided to formalize the pattern so I could share it.
For all the steps and stages, its still open to variations depending on what needles you use. Its all straight knitting, yarn overs, and the handles are a bind off/cast on. A few places you might need to do increases, and two rows have decreases. But you can cast on with what ever technique you’re most comfortable with. You can increase with what ever technique you are most comfortable with. K2tog works fine for the decreases. Circular needles are best for the body of the bag as the stitch is too loose for using DPNs. But if you use something to hold the stitches on the needles, DPNs will also work. The lightest color bag in the pictures was all #13 needles, except for the change over to #9’s. The others started with #13s, went to #15s, and then back to #9’s. If you use #13’s, you will probably want to add an extra row of pattern to get the bag size. But as you can see from the pictures, that little bag holds 10 lbs of potatoes! You can certainly use more than a single ball of yarn and make a bigger bag. But remember it will be that much heavier to carry!
The increases to make the bag opening, with the smaller needles is a necessity. otherwise the mouth of the bag will be small and hard to get objects – like 5 lb bags of potatoes – into the bag. If you want a bag that will have a smaller opening so stuff is less likely to fall out, then go for it.
These are washable, but being 100% cotton, you will probably have some shrinkage. Still, they stretch open and hold a lot of groceries. always keep an eye on the balance of yarn on the ball as I’ve found these to vary greatly despite the label and have just managed to finish, or have had yarn left over despite extra rows of knitting!
Yarn: Peaches and Crème 100% cotton, 2oz/98 yard, or any similar type yarn. Acrylics will stretch too much and don’t have the strength you need
Needles: #13’s, straight or circular, #15 circular if you have them, #9 circular. two markers.
ALL STITCHES ARE DONE LOOSELY. Looser the better!
cast on 9 stitches by your favorite technique on #13 needles (I like to knit on)
knit next row, increasing by one stitch at the second stitch to 10 stitches. Do the same for the next row, increasing to 11 stitches.
Knit 10 rows
Next row, knit1, k2tog, and knit to end of row, back to 10 stitches. Next row do the same, back to 9 stitches. This is the bottom of the bag.
Switching to circular needles, pick up stitches around edge of knitted piece.
You are ultimately looking for 60 stitches to make the body of the bag (plus or minus a few is not important. less is a taller, thinner bag, more will make a fatter, shorter bag). You don’t need to pick up 60 at this point. You can increase accordingly on the next row.
when you have picked up your stitches, count, and prepare to increase for the next row if necessary. You will also switch to #15 circular needle if you want.
Knit the next row, increasing if necessary. Place a marker to indicate beginning/end of row.
Next row, (K1, yo) all the way around keeping stitches loose
Next row, Knit the knit stitches and drop the yo. Repeat
Next row, (K1, yo) all the way around. Next row, Knit the knit stitches, drop the yo, but now yo again before the next knit (K1,dropyo, yo). Now knit the next row dropping the yo. repeat pattern
knit next row
next row, (k1, double yo). Next row, knit the knit stitches and drop the double yo.
knit next row.
IT IS VERY EASY TO DROP STITCHES DOING THIS AND VERY DIFFICULT TO SEE THEM. SO BE CAREFUL AND CHECK FOR THE LOOSE LOOPS ON EACH ROW. A LOOSE LOOP MAY BE JUST THAT, OR MAYBE A DROPPED STITCH. PICK THEM UP AS QUICKLY AND SOON AS POSSIBLE OR YOU WILL HAVE BIG OPENINGS IN THE PATTERN, BIG ENOUGH TO LET YOUR GROCERIES SPILL OUT!!
If you are using #13 needles, you may want to put another double yo row to give yourself a deeper bag, but it is not necessary.
Next row will be a (k1,yo) through the row.
For the next row, time to switch to the #9 circulars, and to increase to 80 stitches. The easiest way to do this here is to knit your knit stitches, dropping some of the yo’s and knitting others until you have your 80. If you wind up with 78 or 82 its all good.
Knit next row. Here you will want to place a second marker at the half way point.
Beginning the next row, bind off 10 stiches, knit to next marker, b/o 10 stitches.
Next row, knit into the first two bound off stitches. This will give your handles extra strength. cast on 15 stitches, then continue knitting to next marker. repeat for the second handle. Now knit around until you have just enough yarn left on your ball to do the b/o round. it should be at least 3-4 rows of knitting. The more rows the more comfortable the handle will be in your hand.
b/o loosely and secure ends. Blocking is not necessary. Putting in a five pound bag of potatoes will take care of evening out the stitching!