Susitna string shopping bag

Last night I finished a string shopping bag I’d been designing. Nothing fancy, but I wanted a circular-knit bag done by machine and I haven’t ever seen a pattern like that. What’s a girl to do but design one herself, then?

I knit this in the round on my standard gauge Brother machine with ribber. The yarn is some unknown cotton rescued from a thrift shop sweater I got for a whopping $1. The handle is stockinette but knit circular so that it’s double thickness. I think this makes for a comfortable handle but it also seems to stretch less than other knit handles I’ve tried. Since it’s knit circular, the only seaming you have to do is at the end when you attach one end of the handle back to the bag.

Susitna bag

(In case you’re wondering, the tree isn’t diseased or something, it’s just showing some moose damage. When food gets scarce in the wintertime, the moose in our neighborhood like to scrape the bark off our mountain ash and birch trees for food.)

Susitna holds a ton of stuff! I tested it with six large, heavy cones of yarn and there was still plenty of room for more in the bag. Very strong, too! I’ll be using this for groceries and lugging books to the library and back. Beats plastic bags!

I’m writing up the pattern right now in case anyone else is interested. I’ll be putting it up for free here today or tomorrow. It’s written for a standard gauge machine with ribber attachment, but could easily be done on a bulky or midgauge machine, too. (I wasn’t able to test knit a sample on any other gauge because in the summers I only have access to a standard gauge machine.) Susitna is named after a mountain I see every day, Mt. Susitna. Also known as the Sleeping Lady, it lies across Knik Arm from Anchorage, Alaska.

Without further ado, here’s the free pattern: Susitna shopping bag pattern (PDF).

It’s free, but please don’t make copies or sell the pattern. If you’d like to use this pattern to make bags to sell, that is perfectly fine. However, you cannot sell the pattern itself without violating copyright.

If you decide to use it, please let me know if it’s unclear or if there are typos.


30 thoughts on “Susitna string shopping bag

  1. The bag looks great and when reading the pattern, and a method for making a mesh is something I have been looking for for years. I cannot wait to try this! Have some huge cones of Cotton yarn that I have had no use for. I hope I can manage this, but looks like I will need to get at the machine and try it before I know for sure.

  2. I love your shopping bag, can you post the directions again please it accidently was eliminated. Carol Fidler

  3. What a great shopping bag! I too have some huge cones of cotton and look forward to trying this out. Thanks for sharing the pattern, just got my ribber and so excited to try new things.

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  6. Love that! I haven’t knit the bag, but the pattern is clearly written and I esp like the ingenious method of adding the handle – and the way you describe the cast on which is a method I use for bags as well but I could never have come up with that simple graphic.
    I wonder why I always knit clockwise? Maybe it’s a left-handed thing?

  7. Fabulous bag! It’s similar to one I bought in Mexico 25 years ago and still use today. Just made of cheap cotton string, but just about the handiest thing ever for those unexpected shopping situations. :) Can’t wait to try this pattern. Thanks!

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  9. Thats fantastic – I have posted it on all my giving up plastic blogs – bags plastic that is being one of the things I am no longer friends with.

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  11. It would be great if I could use your photo – for my moose damaged trees post obviously… is that possible??

  12. Thanks! I’m glad people find the pattern useful. If you make any, I’d love to see pictures.

    You’re welcome to use the photo of the moose-damaged tree. It’s a mountain ash tree in case it matters.

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  14. This is a great bag pattern! I love the strap! Doesn’t roll one bit and the bag itself holds so much! I cut the size down a little bit for mine, but it ended up wonderfully!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  19. I LOVE this bag!!! Does anyone have any instructions or links for making a similar style of bag but by hand knitting/crochet? I don’t have a fancy machine but would like to make something beautiful like this for taking on a boat…long term. Thank you :o)

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  22. The most durable paper bag that is used in the majority of stores is the T-shirt bag.
    Roaches feed off of the glue used for paper bags and cardboard boxes.

    Around the world the popularity of utilising paper carrier bags is growing more and more.

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