1Bag Directions

Understanding the Basic Design of a 1Bag

My first 1Bag Hand Knit Grocery BagThe 1Bag pattern was designed to replicate the plastic shopping bags provided at grocery stores–the same dimensions and construction.

I designed the pattern so that it could be knit as-is, or modified with different stitch patterns if the knitter so chooses.

The 1Bag employs two stitch pattern types:

A. A closed stitch pattern for the bottom, sides, and handle
B. An open mesh stitch pattern for the body of the bag

It is knit in the round, with cotton worsted weight yarn, on size U.S. 10* circular needles, beginning at the lower edge with a cast-on of 108 stitches.

[*Originally I wrote that I had used size U.S. 11 needles — I realized afterwards that the needles I was using were size 10. The 1Bag could be knit on size 8, 9, 10, or 11 needles, depending on how stretchy you want your 1Bag to be and also depending on the tension of the given knitter. I tend to knit with a tighter tension than other people, so a larger needle might work better for me whereas you might do well with one of the smaller sizes. The 1Bag is going to be great, and stretchy and hold a bunch of groceries no matter what size needles you use.]

You knit the bag from the bottom edge up through the handles, then you go back and knit the actual bottom.

Here is a diagram showing the dimensions of the body of the bag, on one side only. Notice each handle is made of 11 stitches, and the center portion is made up of 32 stitches. Keep in mind, this is the front of the bag. The same diagram applies to the back of the bag, so if you double the number of stitches you see in the diagram you get a total of 108 stitches.
Basic Diagram of the 1Bag Construction

In all, there are 44 stitches (11 stitches for each handle section, front and back–added together they come to 44 stitches total) devoted to the sides and handles of the bag, and there are 64 stitches (front and back combined) devoted to the body of the bag.

If the closed pattern stitch you use requires an even number of stitches, reduce or increase the handle stitches by 1 stitch for each section, front and back.

If the open mesh pattern you use requires an odd number of stitches, likewise reduce or increase the number of stitches in that portion of the pattern – both front and back to accommodate the pattern.

You use any closed pattern stitch such as stockinette, seed stitch, basket weave, garter, etc. for the sides and handles.

You use the same closed stitch pattern for the first two inches or so of the bag, all the way around.

You use any open mesh pattern for the body of the bag, from the first two inches up.

Example of a variation of the 1Bag design, using different stitch patternsAfter knitting 12” in the round, you will be casting off the 32 middle stitches (front and back–a total of 64 stitches), and changing to straight knitting for the handles. What you will do is, place 11 left front handle stitches on a dpn, cast off 32 front middles stitches, place 11 right front handle stitches on a stitch holder, place 11 left back handle stitches on a stitch holder, cast off 32 back middle stitches, place 11 right back handle stitches on another dpn.

From there you will continue with whichever closed pattern stitch you are using for each handle. However, you will no longer be knitting in the round, so you need be sure to continue your closed pattern stitch as is appropriate for regular (straight) knitting on the handles.

I switch to smaller dpns when knitting the handles, so I will get a tighter knit fabric for the handles–this is optional. If you have size U.S. 11 dpns and want to use them, do so. If you don’t, then change to a smaller size dpn (but not smaller than size U.S. 8).

You use the stockinette stitch for the actual bottom of the bag. The way I worked the decreases on the bottom of the bag creates a similar bottom to that of an actual plastic grocery bag (see diagram below).
Diagram showing bottom of 1Bag

Now that you have an understanding of the basic design and construction of the 1Bag, here are detailed directions for the first 1Bag I knitted. This will serve as the basic pattern.

Click here to get the free pattern for my first 1Bag.

I hope you participate!

Logo for the 1Bag Charity Knitting Project

Copyright (c) 2008 J. L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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  1. Love the bag, I am going to try and knit one.
    Thanks for sharing the pattern. I love reading your blog and hope to purchase some of your other patterns soon.

  2. I loved your birthday entry – wow. You just take my breath away with the beauty of your spirit and soul, and your ability to express yourself and share yourself with others! YOU are a national treasure!
    Love, Joan

  3. I just finished knitting a 1bag for my sister for her birthday. I used some great recycled cotton yarn, so the bag helps the planet in more than one way. I’m sure she’ll love it…and use it. After I finish my Christmas knitting, I’ll be making some more of these for myself. Thanks, Firefly!

    • Hi Sarah,
      I saw your post about the ibag. Fun, fun pattern. You completed this bag so I thought I’d contact you, hope you don’t mind. I’ve been doing just fine until I started the bottom and the decreases. The ssk part doesn’t seem to work for me so I tried to slip the stitch before the marker, remove marker, slip stitch back on left needle, knit through back loop of both stitches, place marker and go but that doesn’t seem to work. If you could help me I would be so greatful.

      Kind regards,

  4. […] 1Bag from Scrumptious Living […]

  5. I absolutely love this idea. I wish I could knit and do this too. I am a beginner crocheter. Keep up the good work and great ideas!

  6. I love the bag, and it’s the perfect gift for my farmers’ market-loving friend.

  7. I’ve carried my ‘french shopping bag’ in my car (made of twine netting) and used it for 20+ years. I used to be called a treehugger, and I’d mutter under my breath ‘name caller’. Thank you so much for spreading the word with your 1bag, which I first saw on etsy. Even the smallest choice can either do no harm or harm our planet.

    A few things I’ve learned that you or your readers may want to know:

    I used to think that if I used the inevitable plastic intruder (shopping bag) to contain recyclables (paper, cans & plastic in Salt Lake) and drop it into the recycling bin, the bag would be recycled along with its contents.

    From a local waste management employee: When the bag comes down the conveyor belt, its contents are sorted out and the plastic bag tends to fly off like they all do and most likely will blow right over to the landfill, where it doesn’t belong, and, in the case of Salt Lake City, probably end up attached to a seagull!

    Instead, fill one plastic bag with all your empty bags and tie it’s handles together to make one bundle. It’s easily grabbed on the conveyor belt, all the bag’s wings are clipped and they end up where you hoped they would.

    If you don’t have curbside recycling, deposit them in toto at a local grocer who offers a bin to collect them for recycling.

    Thanks again, and all the best!

  8. […] Lightweight knitted shopping bag from I Live on a Farm ; RIGHT: Marlo Cairns’ Crocheted Tote made from plastic grocery […]

  9. http://blogsmart.net/?p=427 looks like it was lifted straight from your pattern :9

  10. Love your ibag. I was wondering if anyone else that has finished this pattern has had trouble with the decreases for the bottom of the bag? I would sure welcome any help I could get. I have tried over and over to complete this and I can’t seem to get the corners of the bottom to go in the right direction. I thought going to my yarn store “Knitterly and getting help today might work. She suggested instead of ssk to k2 through back loop. It still doesn’t look right. HELP.
    Warm regards,

  11. I have not knitted in many years, but have decided to try your 1bag pattern. I am not sure what ssk or yf is. I think ssk is slip stitch knit but not sure what yf is.

    thank you
    Chris Roal

  12. Help! I dont understand the first 4 lines of the open mesh pattern. So I *yf,k2tog* how many times? 16 or 32… Then what? Do I knit to the end of the round to finish round 2 then knit another round for line 3? So confused….
    Really want to continue this. Thanks!

    • Am also confused on this open mesh pattern. How can you end up with 32 stitches out of 108? Rows 2 & 4 need to have clarification.

      • Did you get an answer to your question? I am wondering the same thing

  13. I love your yellow version of 1Bag. What are the two patterns used on it?

    • The specifics of the yellow bag are included in the download version of this pattern, which is available for purchase here.

  14. […] pattern (here) was free.  The finished product seemed to fit the bill.  The pattern seemed interesting enough to […]

  15. I dont have circular needles yet. I am going to try with straight needles… love the yellow.

  16. […] Live On A Farm offers a cute blog and a Knitted Grocery bag pattern.  You’ll want to spend some time exploring this blog, with its recipes, knitting patterns […]

  17. hey–imade the bag–iswitched it up a bit–made the bottom first–flat–and just picked up the stitches from that and worked me way up–ilove it–

  18. Love this! I am the minister of a church in New York, and we are having an Earth Day celebration with two other churches next Sunday. I am going to get my church’s knitting group to knit up these bags, and print out your wonderful message with us to talk about. We teach others to knit, and will offer to teach them to knit these. I will let you know how many we make!

  19. […] furiously in background].  I’ll post a pic when mine is done, but you can get the pattern here, and here is the designer’s […]

  20. Just love your Yellow Bag.. Since Yellow is my most favourite colour I should see if I can knit your bag.. It would be great to have a small knitting project with me when I am off to see the Doctor or even visit a friend.. Since I don’t have my car anymore, I use Public Transit here in Vancouver,BC.. – Having a little bag with my knitting in is perfect and enjoyable too as the time passes quickly.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  21. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog
    loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  22. […] classic 1bag pattern (knit), […]

  23. I ordered and paid for the one bag patter 3/5/14 but never received it Can you help me, please?

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