Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Little Check Market Bag

Little Check Market Bag

If you follow me on Instagram then you probably know why this post has been so long in the making: we've been traveling, and anyone who's able to travel with small children and also knit is far more talented than I (it doesn't help that my little one is the Houdini of hotel rooms). Luckily, I left this little beauty blocking while I was gone, so I had at least one nice thing to come home to. Speaking of the bag, I should also mention that it follows my standard rules of knitted bags, since it's both functional (faux i-cords in the body and the handles help to prevent stretching) and fun (imagine it with even more colors!). And heck, maybe it's even functional and fun enough to use on my next trip... :)

Yarn: Lang Yarns Presto (50% Cotton, 50% Acrylic; 71 yards [65 meters]/50 grams); #911.0074 - 3 skeins (color A - the blueish one), 911.0001 - 1 skein (color B, the white), & #911.0002 - 1 skein (color C, the tan)

A closer look at the stitch pattern and the handle.
Needles: One set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 7, one 16" or 24" circular needle, also in size US 7, one 16" or 24" circular needle in size US 6, and one needle in size US 8 for provisional cast on (optional)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 17 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette (20 stitches = 4 inches in pattern)

And now that that's covered, let's make a bag! We'll begin with the handles. I should tell you that you have two options at this point, as well: later on, when you finish the bag, you can either attach the handles by seaming normally, or with a three needle bind off. For both, you'll use your color A yarn. If you'd like to go the seaming route, then, using your size 7 needles, cast on 12 stitches loosely. If you'd like to use the three needle bind off at the end, using your size 8 needle, cast on 12 stitches provisionally, and then transfer work to your size 7 needles (this is also why the size US 8 needle is optional!). 

Anyway, once you're done with your cast on for either method, we'll continue to work the handle as you'll find below. Remember that you can pull the yarn tight before your 4 slipped stitches both in the handle and when you work the bag later; that's your faux i-cord that provides the bag its nice, sturdy shape! So let's work like so:

Handle Row 1 (wrong side): k4, p4, k4

Handle Row 2: k4, sl4 wyib, k4

Work handle rows 1 & 2 until the handle measures roughly 12" and you've just finished row 2 of the pattern. If you're seaming, bind off loosely. If you're using the three needle bind off, transfer live stitches to a scrap of yarn to bind off later when you attach it to the bag. Make another. And then, it's time to start the main attraction!

Once the handles are done, it's time to work on the body of the bag, which will be made bottom-up. With that goal in mind, then, and using your size 7 dpns and your color A yarn, cast on 8 stitches, and then distribute evenly between 4 dpns (usually I work things on 3 dpns; however, given the construction of this bag, 4 will make it a lot easier to work). Join in round. Then we'll work the bottom of the bag, with increases, as you'll find below:

Increase Row 1: knit

Increase Row 2: * kfb * (16 stitches)

Increase Row 3: knit

Increase Row 4: * k1, kfb * (24 stitches)

Increase Row 5: knit

Increase Row 6: * k1, yo, k4, yo, k1 * (32 stitches)

Increase Row 7: * k2, slip 4 stitches with yarn in back (sl4 wyib), k2 *

Increase Row 8: * k2, yo, k4, yo, k2 * (40 stitches)

Increase Row 9: * k3, sl4 wyib, k3 *

Increase Row 10: * k3, yo, k4, yo, k3 * (48 stitches)

Increase Row 11: * k4, sl4 wyib, k4 *

Increase Row 12: * k4, yo, k4, yo, k4 * (56 stitches)

Increase Row 13: * k5, sl4 wyib, k5 *

Increase Row 14: * k5, yo, k4, yo, k5 * (64 stitches)

Increase Row 15: * k6, sl4 wyib, k6 *

Increase Row 16: * k6, yo, k4, yo, k6 * (72 stitches)

Increase Row 17: * k7, sl4 wyib, k7 *

Increase Row 18: * k7, yo, k4, yo, k7 * (80 stitches)

Increase Row 19: * k8, sl4 wyib, k8 *

Increase Row 20: * k8, yo, k4, yo, k8 * (88 stitches)

Increase Row 21: * k9, sl4 wyib, k9 *

Increase Row 22: * k9, yo, k4, yo, k9 * (96 stitches)

Increase Row 23: * k10, sl4 wyib, k10 *

Increase Row 24: * k10, yo, k4, yo, k10 * (104 stitches)

Increase Row 25: * k11, sl4 wyib, k11 *

Increase Row 26: * k11, yo, k4, yo, k11 * (112 stitches)

Increase Row 27: * k12, sl4 wyib, k12 *

Increase Row 28: * k12, yo, k4, yo, k12 * (120 stitches) 

Knit increase rows 1 - 28. Transfer work to your 16" or 24" circular size US 7 needle and place marker. Then, we'll knit a few transition rows, as follows. We will continue to work in color A yarn.

Transition Row 1: * k13, sl4 wyib, k13 *

Transition Row 2: knit

Transition Row 3: * k13, sl4 wyib, k13 *

Transition Row 4: knit

Knit these four transition rows. Then we'll begin incorporating our main color pattern, which is Dice Check from page 51 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, and will be worked in as follows:

Row 1: using color B, * k13, sl4 wyib, k13 *

Rows 2 & 3: using color A, * k1, (sl2 wyib, k2) 3 times, k4, (k2, sl2 wyib) 3 times, k1 *

Row 4: using color B, * k13, sl4 wyib, k13 *

Rows 5 & 6: using color C, * sl1 wyib, (k2, sl2 wyib) 3 times, k4, (sl2 wyib, k2) 3 times, sl1 wyib * 

Knit rows 1 - 6 until 3-color section measures roughly 7" and then knit rows 1 - 4 again. Clip the tails of your color B & C yarns, since you're done with them. Then, using color A, continue as follows:

Transition Row 1: knit

Transition Row 2: * k13, sl4 wyib, k13 *

Transition Row 3: knit 

Knit these three transition rows and then we'll begin our edging as follows. We're still just working with our color A yarn.

Edging Row 1: * p1, (k2, p2) 3 times, sl4 wyib, (p2, k2) 3 times, p1 *

Edging Row 2: * p1, (k2, p2) 3 times, k4, (p2, k2) 3 times, p1 *

Knit edging rows 1 & 2 four times. If you're making the seamed version of the bag, bind off loosely, in pattern. If you're using the three needle bind off, transfer the stitches on each end of each handle to a dpn to work the bind off. Then, on the bag, bind off 9 stitches loosely in pattern. Bind off the next 12 stitches using a three needle bind off, seaming together the bag and the end of your first handle. Then, bind off the next 18 stitches of the bag loosely in pattern, and then repeat the three needle bind off with the other end of the first handle, being careful not to twist the handle. Repeat for the second handle, attaching it, like the first, to line up with the faux i-cord in the bag. Oh, and if you're making the seamed version of the bag, now's your chance to seam your handles to the bag, attaching them so that the faux i-cords line up. For both versions, once you're done binding off/seaming, tuck in ends and block into shape!


  1. Hi Gretchen,
    I've been following you and your adventures on instagram. You were some really beautiful places. I just finished your baby market bag to give as a gift. It was fun to knit. Especially the faux i-cord. I'm going to knit this one for me!
    thank you for all your beautiful patterns. You are an inspiration!

    1. Hi Ramona!

      I'm glad you are enjoying my designs and my Instagram... I recognize your user name, too! :) Anyway, I'm glad to see you around and please let me know if you ever have any questions too!

  2. I love every pattern that you do, the cowl and this market bag are definitely on my list. I'm in need help with writing papers at the moment and I am always re-sharing your post so the other readers would know.

  3. I love your patterns! I am attempting to do this one, but I have a question. Can you do this bag in a sport or DK weight yarn? Thank you!!!

    1. Oh man... yes, of course you *could* do this in a different weight yarn but it would require significant modification if you wanted it to remain the same size. What about holding two strands of sport weight together?

    2. I'm not sure. I am still kind of a newbie and using 2 threads together, blows my mind!!!
      I found a beautiful yarn, Universal seaspray cotton yarn in colors of pink/white, blue/white, teal/white. It's 100 grams, 230 yds, #301 Carmine. It would make a beautiful bag, and I adore this pattern you've done. First time I've done any type ICord!!

      Thank you for taking the time to write me back!

    3. I looked it up and you're right - that yarn is very pretty!!! :) And the whole "holding two strands together" thing still blows my mind too, but it's very useful when pattern modification is a bit of pain (it will also make your bag sturdier!). Anyway, let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Is there any reason this couldn't be made with one color, single thread?

    1. Not that I can think of! I would keep the ribs of slipped stitches since those give the bag a lot of structure so it doesn't stretch out, but otherwise you can just knit in stockinette! :)