I enjoy going to thrift shops and looking for vintage collectibles and china, and since I’ve been knitting have found some good bargains in yarn. Since 90% of my knitting is for charity, I appreciate finding some nice yarn at a good price. I was thrilled to find a large plastic bag filled with 17 unopened skeins of Caron Premium yarn in off-white for only $10.00.
I envisioned soft, fluffy baby blankets for my Lakota Indian group and was disappointed when I made a trial swatch to find that the yarn was thick and rather stiff when knitted. So much for fluffy baby blankets and I made a dishcloth, a table mat and a floor mat. The yarn worked OK for these projects but I had a lot of yarn and didn’t want to make any more cloths or mats. Then, I thought it might make a good, strong market bag to carry all the fresh corn and melons I buy at the farmer’s market every summer. My daughter had a nice pattern for a seamless tote bag that is knit in one piece from the bottom up. The pattern called for 4mm (#6 US) needles and cotton or DK (baby/sport) yarn. I used #6 needles with my thick, sturdy yarn and following the pattern for the bag portion exactly, made a very thick, sturdy market bag. I changed the pattern a bit for the handle which my daughter had made and found to be stretchy. I made two long I-cords, doubled them and stitched to the center front and center back of the bag to form a shopping bag shape.
Using the thinner yarn would have produced a bag 13 inches wide x 14 inches deep. My bag turned out to be 18 inches wide x 17 inches long.
Here is the link for the tote bag:
…and here is a You Tube tutorial on how to make an I-cord. This is another project that is mindless and good for knitting when there might be distractions. I used the same needle and yarn size to make the I-cord as I used for the bag.
I made this shopping bag-size tote several years ago for the Warren County (Lebanon, Ohio) Fair. It won a blue ribbon and I enjoyed doing the harness horse design. I used a coloring book sketch transferred to white fabric, then embroidered the design with black floss. I used crayons to color the picture and heat set it by placing a piece of white paper over the coloring and pressing it with a hot iron.
I used the same patchwork blocks to make the back of the bag, machine quilted it with low loft batting and made a lining and handle.
I found the large size of the bag to be extremely useful. My oldest daughter recently mentioned that she would like to have one the same size and I started looking through my orphan blocks and scraps to see what I could put together.
The center block is a Morning Star block I posted last year and the center with vintage-type fabric was appropriate for my daughter because she is interested and talented in any type of hand sewing. I looked for scraps with shades of yellow and blue and cut 2-1/2 inch blocks to accentuate the focus block.
On the back, I put together 2-1/2 inch blocks with 2-1/2 inch strips to continue the color theme. The front and back were machine quilted using low loft batting. The sides were left unquilted to cut down on bulk. I made another bag of plain fabric for a lining and made the handle extra-long so my daughter can swing the bag over her shoulder if she wants.
The bag is large – 22 inches wide x 25 inches long and should accommodate a lot of stuff when my daughter comes for her weekend visits.