Market Bags / Stashbuster

Market Bags

To say I have a large crafting stash would be an understatement. This is my contribution to Earth Day 2019.

Glass, handcrafted, porcelain, Swarovski and Czech beads. Fabric, not just any fabric but 100% organic cotton flannel, bamboo fleece, organic cotton quilting prints, silks of varying mm and styles. Dyes, I have EVERY color of FRD and Acid dye Dharma Trading had in their catalog in the 1st 10 years of the 2000’s. Yarn, OMG my yarn collections: bamboo cottons, organic cottons, silks, yak, soy, Merino, sock, bulky, DK, sport, imported german sock yarn and special recycled shell fish yarns that feel so supple you would wonder if they spoon fed exotic moths to spin gossamer webs that are SO LUXURIOUS to the skin. I even have a modest collection of cross stitch supplies/patterns and spinning fibers and supplies (from my son’s sheep and a few alpaca’s I made trades for.)

It all takes up a room of about 8′ by 16′ with project desk, sewing machine, shelving and totes galore and a few personal office supplies. This does not include the HUGE lingerie business that I had to shut down 17 years ago with enough fine fabrics and finished product to cloth all of Manhattan in gossamer unmentionables for every day of the week. So after working 50 hours a week in my 30’s and 40’s to feed my teenage girls crafting desires I am left with all of this when their energy petered out and they fled home for the big city.

So….. I have been tackling my yarn stash lately. My recent passion is socks. I am justifying my sock yarn purchases by killing 100g of yarn for every 50g I purchase ready to go or to dye. AND I am using my newly acquired yarn within 6 months of purchase! Yea me!!!! The project of 2019 seams to be the market bag.

I HATE PLASTIC. Just peek into some of my previous and up and coming health and wellness ramblings and you will discover my issues with plastic and synthetic, petroleum based anything. So naturally I started bying the market bags in my Organic store that were made from recycled materials. Fine and good but riding around for 53 miles, full of supplies, in the open bed of a pickup, followed by getting carried, by hand, 600 feet down a wooded trail ,by kids who didn’t pay for the…… To say they were being trashed fast would be an understatement. My bags were soon held together by duck tape after a few uses.

I have been toying with the idea to make market bags for a while. They are real cute, sturdy, I can personalize them, make them from recycled yarn or organic cotton or even my supple bamboo cotton. I finally took the leap and I have made more than 4 of them in the past month in between all my other spring chores.

I can finish one in about a day. They knit up quick and kill about 300 gms of yarn per bag. I use two strands of sport or 3 to 4 strands of sock weight yarn. I start with a size 5 40 or 60 inch cable. After the base I stick with the 5 or change to a 14 to speed the process up. They are knit in Magic Loop. If you prefer DPN’s, go for it. Then back to a 5 after the body is done to make a tight rim and the handle.

As a quick note!!!! I am not a pattern writing pro! This is more of a how to, fly with it as you will this is my basic “recipe.” Feel free to message me or comment if you see flaws. This is my 1st official posting and sharing of a knitting project.

  • You will need 300gms total of yarn
  • 1 size 5 40″ or bigger cable
  • If you would like also a size 14 40″ or bigger cable.
  • A tapestry needle to tuck in ends.

IF you are using sport or heavier use 2 strands at a time. If you are using fingering use 4 strands at a time. When I connect I Russian join or just knot. With a project like this it is easy to hide knots and tuck ends.

I start by CO 8 stitches, 4 per needle with Judy’s magic cast on

Then knit all 8 stitches the 1st round

2nd round I K1, yo, K2, yo, K1 on each needle

3rd round and all odd rounds of bottom K

4th round k1, yo, k1, yo, k2, yo, k1, yo, k1 on each needle (if you want lacy, knit in the fron of the yarn over. If you want tight knit in the back of the yarn over.)

6th round K1, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo k1 on each needle.

8th round k1, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k1 on each needle.

Can you see the growth here? You are setting up 4 growing wedges for the base and will keep increasing the 2nd gap of knit and the 4th gap of knit by 2 every row until you have 50 stitches on each row.

Once you reach 50 stitches on each of your 2 needles you want to knit 2 rounds, then I Pearl every other round for 4 rows and knit 2 top rows on the last.

This is where you will keep the smaller needles or switch to the bigger. If you switch to the bigger do a foundation row to K2tog every other stitch reducing to 75 stitches.

Now you will k2tog, yo all the way across the row.

K the next row.

K2tog, yo all the way across,


Keep this going until you have about 10 to 12 inches of bag.

If you used the big needles K an extra row than pick up your size 5’s again.

You will K, Kfb, K, kfb all the way across the row to create 100 stitches again.

Now with your 5’s K 2 rows, pearl every other row to create 4 total pearl rows.

Knit 2 rows

For the handle I K3 cast off 40 stitches. K 10 stitches, cast off 40, K7 stitches.

Make the handle as long as you want by just knitting every row of that 10 you are currently on. I make the handle as long as the bag. I like to let it stretch and knot excess for me and my girls wear them as messenger bags.

Once you have your length Kitchener or 3 needle bind off with the 10 stitches left on the other side.

Tuck in your ends and you are done. I hope you like them! I am debating lining them with gusseted cotton or flannel fabric and selling them. We’ll see when and how I get to that project. I can’t see making a profit in time and supplies to sell a bunch, but maybe lined I can find a niche. If you get to it before me, let me know how you do.

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