Monday, May 11, 2009

Hybrid Bag

Hybrid Bag
I looked at and knitted up several patterns for shopping bags, only once following the pattern as written. And none of them were exactly what I wanted. This one is the hybrid that I like the best, and is the first one I reach for while shopping. I kept the features I liked with tweaks, and eliminated the ones I didn’t (it’s Frankensteined, lol). It has the longer handle that doesn’t grow, I added ribbing to the opening to hug things in, and I used a stitch repeat that gives a very stretchy fabric but without the big holes. Once you’ve carried groceries from your trunk to the kitchen on your shoulders, you’ll wonder why you ever tried hauling all that in just your hands before.
When you get to the bottom of the bag and begin decreasing, you will need to switch to a shorter circular. Other options are using two circs or the magic loop method.

  • US size 8 circulars
  • Stitch markers
  • Any DK or worsted weight, since gauge ain’t crucial (you’ll need about 400 – 600 yards)

Cast on 40, pm, cast on 85, pm, cast on 40, pm, cast on 85, pm (250 total)
Rounds 1 – 8: Join, being careful not to twist the stitches, and work garter stitch for the long segments and k1p1 rib for the shorter segments.
Round 9: bind off the stitches on the longer sections and continue in ribbing for the shorter sections. Be sure to bind off loosely, or the tighter edge here will cause the handle to dig into your shoulder – ask me how I know (80 total)
Round 10: replace marker, cast on an additional 20 stitches, continue in the ribbing pattern across the next 40 stitches (rejoining the round), cast on another 20 stitches, continue ribbing the final 40 stitches (120 total)
Rounds 11 - 15: Rib all around, maintaining the pattern already established in earlier ribbing
Round 16: Prepare for the body of the bag by k3, inc, (k6, inc) 18 times, k3, inc, k3 (140 total)Round 17: knit around

Round 1: knit around
Round 2: (yo1, k1) around
Round 3: (drop yo, k1) around
Repeat rows 1-3 until you’ve made about 2/3 of the desired length of the bag (which will be at least 2/3 the height of aluminum wrap and cereal boxes)

Round 1: Knit around, placing a marker after every 20th stitch
Round 2: (yo1, k1) around
Round 3: (drop yo, k1) around
Round 4: (k2tog, knit to marker, pm) around.
Round 5: (yo1, k1) around
Round 6: drop yo, k1) around
Repeat rounds 4-6 until you have 98 stitches remaining (14 stitches per segment)
Round 7: purl around
Round 8: (k2tog, knit until 2 stitches before marker, ssk, pm) around
Repeat rounds 7 and 8 until just 14 stitches remain.

Here, you have one of two options. Using a darning needle, run the tail (be sure it’s long enough) through the remaining stitches several times and cinch it up. Or divide those stitches between two needles, and apply the 3-needle bind off. Weave in your ends and shop your hiney off.

We all need a set of bags to bring home a week’s worth of groceries without using the store’s plastic ones. Why not make one of each from different patterns? Just a quick google brought up a nice list of free patterns. Ravelry has several as well, and if you’re not yet on Ravelry, get thee over there right now!

pm = place or pass marker
k1p1 = knit 1, purl 1
inc = increase
yo = yarn over
k2tog = knit 2 together


  1. What yarn did you use with this? I just love the way the colors play. I'd like to find something with a similar repeat.

  2. That's Ulmo Multy by Araucania. It's 100% cotton and was kettle dyed. Their colors are really gorgeous!
    there's a ravelry link for the yarns at

  3. Oh I should have known. I love Araucania. I know just where to go to get some. Thanks so much for the quick answer!

  4. Started on this bag earlier this week and am LOVING it. I'm really looking forward to using this bag. Thanks for the pattern!

    Round 10 difference: I had to cast on the body stitches in a different order than what the pattern states. I'm not sure if I didn't understand what you meant, but after binding off the second long section, I couldn't cast on the first set of 20 stitches until after I'd k1, p1 the first 40 stitches. So after my bind off row, I did: K1, p1 section; cast on 20; k1, p1 section; cast on 20, then continued in pattern. I'm hoping it'll all be OK once I get to the bottom section! So far, I LOVE this bag and want one in all the colors. :)

    (I'm user Whitlock on Ravelry)