I wanted a nice stretchy bag to take to the library or to the store, and so I decided to work one up. Maybe you can use one, too.
Finished measurements: 17" wide, 13" tall, 22" handle
cotton yarn~ I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream in potpourri
US 8 circular knitting needle 16" or 20"
US 11 circular knitting needle 16" or 20"
Using US 8 needle, cast on 59 sts.
Knit flat in garter stitch (knit every row) for 30 rows. This will be the bottom of the bag.
Pick up and knit stitches all the way around the bag bottom~ 28 sts along the short sides and 59sts along the other long side. Now you have a rectangle of sts (174) that you will begin knitting in the round.
Place a marker for the begining of the round and work in garter stitch for 9 rows. Yes, this means that you will knit one round, purl one round. Don't worry, you won't have to purl that many rounds. This will make a solid, yet stretchy base along the sides of your bag so that items don't fall out as readily.
So, Rounds 1-9: work in garter stitch.
Rnd 10: K2tog in every stitch (87sts)
Change to US 11 needle. K every round until bag measures 11 1/2 or 12" from bottom. (If you want your bag longer, simply stop about 1" from your desired height.) These large needles will give you very large stitches. This is what makes this bag "meshy" without using a mesh stitch. It's simple, mindless knitting that gives you an airy, stretchy bag.
Rnd 1-6: Work in garter stitch. (yes, purling rows again.) This will give you a narrow, yet stretchy opening for your bag. Without the garter stitch around the opening, it got very loose and floppy.
Rnd 7: K2, bind off 28, K18, bind off 29, K16
Now you will have two sets of 18st each for each side of the strap. You will begin working flat with one of these sets of stitches. Just leave the other set on your circular needle~ they'll just hang out there until you're ready for them.
Rows 1-4: K across
Rows 5-12: K across to last 2 sts, K2tog. (This will decrease each row 1 stitch.) Row 12 should end with 10 sts.
K each row (10 sts across) until strap measures about 12". (If you want your strap a different length, stop knitting about 2" from your desired length.)
Begin increasing to finish handle.
K across to last st, Kf&b; in last st.
Continue until you have 18 sts.
Graft these 18sts to the 18sts that have been waiting on the cable of your circular needle.
(If you have never grafted in garter stitch before, it's knit, purl, knit, purl. If you've never grafted stitches before, head over to knittinghelp.com and look at the video for kitchener stitch. It's really not too hard.)
With this cotton yarn, I don't weave in the ends because I'm afraid they'll pop out. Instead, I split the strand of yarn, and pull one end under a stitch. Now there is a stitch between the two ends. Then simply tie the two ends in a knot (around the stitch). Now you can weave in or snip the ends of yarn.
Now enjoy your handy work!
You may use this pattern for personal use. Not for use for mass production or selling items without permission.