October’s Project: Japanese Knot Bag

Here is a simple tote pattern with an ingenious design. It’s a rather quick knit that can be adapted and embellished however you’d like.

The original pattern and photographs can be found here.

This is a knitting pattern for a bag inspired by the Japanese knot bag.

A Japanese knot bag is a small roundish bag with 2 handles. It is frequently made with recycled kimono fabric. It is carried with one handle over the other to create an interesting asymmetry. The handles could be of equal length or one could be significantly shorter than the other.

It is a clever bag design that requires no extra accessories for closure.

My knitted knot bag complete with buttons

My knitted knot bag complete with buttons

In this pattern, I have chosen to knit one handle shorter than the other. I have also decided to position the shorter handle in front of the longer one. The idea is to loop the shorter handle over the longer one to act as closure in front of the bag. The usual position is side by side.

I have also used smaller sized needles than was recommended for the yarn so that I get a firmer and sturdier knitted fabric.

Materials
1 skein Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Bulky Scuba (100% Peruvian Highland Wool)
Assortment of buttons

Equipment
3.5mm knitting needles (double-pointed or circular needles)
An extra pair of 3.5mm double-pointed needles.
Sewing needle and thread in matching colour

Directions for the body

  1. Cast on 72 stitches
  2. Bring the first stitch and the last stitch together
  3. Place a marker between these 2 stitches
  4. Join together and start knitting in the round by knitting the first stitch right after the last stitch
  5. Knit in the round until the piece measures 17cm. The body of the bag is basically a square. If the width of the bag is more than 17cm, then knit till the height is the same as the width.

    Body of the Bag

    Body of the Bag

Directions for the Handles

  1. Adjust the first 18 stitches onto a single needle
  2. Then, knit these 18 stitches as follows: K2, P2, K10, P2, K2
  3. Turn and knit the same 18 stitches as follows: P1, K1, P1, K1, P10, K1, P1, K1, P1
  4. Repeat these 2 rows until the handle measures 25cm
  5. Using kitchener stitch, graft these 18 stitches to 18 stitches next to it.
  6. Once grafted, cut off the yarn and weave the ends into the bag neatly
  7. Start step 2 and 3 again with the next 18 stitches
  8. Repeat these 2 rows until the handle measures 13cm
  9. Using kitchener stitch, graft these 18 stitches to the remaining 18 stitches on your circular needles.

    Bring the two edges together for the kitchener stitch

    Bring the two edges together for the kitchener stitch

The finished handles will look like this:

The handles, one longer than the other

The handles, one longer than the other

Sewing up the bottom

Front view of the knot bag

Front view of the knot bag

  1. Position the bag so that the shorter handle is in front of the longer one
  2. Sew up the bottom using mattress stitch

Attaching the buttons
Using a sewing needle, attach assortment of buttons to the body of the bag.

Lining the bag

Line the bag and it lasts longer. I lined both the handles and the body.

Find any fabric that you can re-cycle. You can buy new fabric too but I think an old T-shirt works just fine. Measure and cut the fabric with about 1 inch extra for folding in. Two narrow strips for the handles and a long rectangle for the body.

Position and pin the narrow strips to the inside of the handles right side facing up. Fold the 1-inch border in and slip stitch along all the sides.

Fold the fabric for the body in half right-side together. Mark out the 1 inch border and stitch up the side and bottom. You can use the sewing machine for this if you have one. Turn it out so that the right side is facing out. Turn the knot bag wrong side out and slip the body lining in. Fold the 1-inch border and pin along the opening of the bag over the handle lining.

Lining for the bag

Lining for the bag

Remember, sew the buttons or any other ornaments that you like onto the bag first before you line it because you want to hide all the threads and endings underneath the lining. fabric for the body in half right-side together. Mark out the 1 inch border and stitch up the side and bottom. You can use the sewing machine for this if you have one. Turn it out so that the right side is facing out. Turn the knot bag wrong side out and slip the body lining in. Fold the 1-inch border and pin along the opening of the bag over the handle lining.

I tried to be as clear as possible but if you still have questions, feel free to ask.

This is a free knitting pattern. I’ll be thrilled if you use it. Please link back here if you do. If you took pictures, I’ll be happy to upload it to the Knitting Pictures I like section.

Happy Knitting!

 

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