March 10th, 2014
I am brand new to the world of knitting. This tote is my second knitting project ever! And to be honest, my first project was just a warm up to get to this one. Because you see, when I discovered the book Simple Knitting by Erika Knight I wanted to make almost every project in it, but I had to learn how to knit first!
The book is full of lovely projects, all accessible to the beginner knitter, and presented beautifully. The instructions are clear and very well illustrated–a very rare thing indeed!
The project that drew me in was this knitted tote, called the Shopper. The bag has a super nubby texture and smooth twill tape handles, not to mention it’s enormous! Even though a project that takes more than a few hours can be daunting for a beginner, I was too in love with this bag not to make it.
The pattern turned out to be quiet straightforward and wonderful practice. The bag is simply a super long rectangle, folded in half. You could use any stitch you are comfortable with, but stick with the sturdier stitches. The one called for in the book is the tweed stitch. It is thick and bumpy and knit up beautifully with the super bulky yarn I used.
After you have knitted and knitted and cannot knit anymore, you should have a rectangle approximately 18″ by 40″. But you can make it skinnier or shorter depending on how you like your bags. To make the bag, fold the rectangle in half, right sides facing, and use a backstitch to sew up the side seams. I used a brown wool yarn that was smaller than the green yarn I used for the bag and stronger too (+ a yarn needle).
To make the boxed corners, you use the same technique Jill used in her twill tape tote tutorial (step 5). With the bag wrong side out take one corner and flatten it so the seam runs down the middle. Sew a line 2 or 3 inches down from the tip of the corner, creating a triangle. Fold this triangle in towards the bottom of the bag and sew down. Then repeat with the other corner.
For the handle, I used 3 1/2 yards of 2″ wide black cotton twill tape from where else? The Twill Tape Guy. After knitting for what seemed like forever, I was eager to get to the finishing bit. Luckily the Twill Tape Guy has crazy fast shipping–crazy fast!
When you get your twill tape, cut it in half to make two handles. Then using strong thread (sometimes called button thread) sew one handle on: start at the bottom, sew up the twill tap to the top of the bag, leave enough slack for the handle, and sew the twill tape down the same side to the bottom of the bag. Flip the bag over and sew the other handle in the same manner, folding the raw ends under before you stitch.
Volia! A knitted tote with twill tape handles! If this seems like this tutorial is a little loosey-goosey, it’s because it’s meant to be. This bag doesn’t have to be made in exactly these measurements with exactly this stitch. I think it would be lovely with a giant cable going up the front, or done in a herringbone stitch, or heck it could even be crocheted! I think what is striking about this bag is the contrast of textures: the smooth black twill tape against the pebbly knitted fabric.
You can check out my ravelry page for more details. What have you been knitting lately?