Thursday, September 27, 2007

Knit Pattern: Recycled Grocery Bag Bag

I've checked my link in this post and it still works, but in case you have any trouble with the link, the website for making the plastic yarn is: 

B/O = Bind off
C/O = Cast on
K = Knit
P = Purl
sl = slip
st = stitch

For Circular Knitters

20-25 plastic grocery bags (Follow this link for a tutorial on making plastic bags into yarn)
Size 15 circular needles (12” will do)
Large yarn needle
Stitch marker

C/O 72 sts, place a marker at the beginning (before joining), then knit across.

K each row until bag is desired length (before straps).

Make “holes” for straps:

Row 1: K 10, B/O 16, K 20, B/O 16, K 10
Row 2: K 10, C/O 16, K 20, C/O 16, K 10

Knit 5-7 more rows (depending on how wide you want your straps).

B/O loosely and weave in ends.

Turn bag purl side out and flatten so the strap holes are lined up. Use large yarn needle to sew up the bottom seam of the bag (use double strands of bag yarn for strength).

Weave in ends and turn bag right side out.

For Straight Needle Knitters

20-25 plastic grocery bags (Follow this link for a tutorial on making plastic bags into yarn)
Size 13 needles*
Size 15 needles
Large yarn needle
Stitch marker

C/O 37 sts on size 13 needles*
Switch to size 15 needles and work 6 rows of stockinette stitch. Slip the first st of each row (this creates an easier selvedge to sew)

Row 7: sl 1, k 10, B/O 15, k 11
Row 8: sl 1, p 10, C/O 15, p 11

Continue to work in stockinette stitch until bag is twice desired length. End on a P row, then repeat rows 7 and 8.

Work 6 more rows, then B/O tightly or use size 13 needle*

Fold bag in ½ (purl side out), so the strap holes are lined up. Use large yarn needle sew up sides (use double strands of bag yarn for strength), turn knit side out.

* If you C/O loosely and B/O more tightly or vice versa, use smaller needles to C/O or B/O. The goal is to have the same tension for the C/O edge as you do for the B/O edge.

Coming soon... Little cable purse pattern


Kim Q said...

I love the bag! The link for the plastic yarn didn't come up quite right though. It should be:

Thanks for the pattern!


jodie said...

Hi, Did a google search for a knitted bag using recycled plastic grocery bags, and of all that I found I think yours is the easiest.
I am sending this message as my sister-in-law, is a teacher for fourth grade students,last year they started enrichment classes for a certain number of weeks in the fall and winter. Her hope this year was to do something with recycling/reusing in mind as well as a craft, as she was telling me about this I immediately thought of this project that I had heard about and had a pattern for, however I lost the pattern and in my research, found yours, which I think would be perfect for these kids to do if they so choose. My Sister-in-law is very excited, not only would they be learning something enriching ( knitting ) but most important they would be reusing a throw away material.
So I am sending this message, to make sure that if this were a project that these kids choose to do, would it be alright to print out this pattern to perhaps 20 to 40 children. my name is Jodie and my email is, please let me know how you feel about this venture. Thanks for time, Jodie

Anonymous said...

Hi Padme,
My mom made one of your bags this summer and I immediately thought of it while brainstorming for fund raising ideas with the Executive Director of a local food group I volunteer for (Gorge Grown Food Network in Hood River Oregon). I would like to ask permission to use your pattern for a knitting circle fundraiser that my mom and I would like to put together for Gorge Grown. The project is still up in the air since I'm not sure how many folks in our little community will want to commit to participate, but if we have enough people (10 ppl tops) we want to ask for a $10 donation to take the "class." All proceeds go to GGFN to help keep their doors open in this time of economic hardship. Please feel free to contact me at, and/or find out more about GGFN at



Anonymous said...

I cannot seem to get the part where you C/O after you shape the handle. Does anyone have an easy way to tell me what I am doing wrong?

Beth said...

when you cast on after you shape the handle, it is just the same as you casted on at the very beginning. I had a hard time at first, but it was mind over matter, just different...

groceries philippines said...

I want to try this. I really want to try this. At least I can help the environment in recycling things. Great blog in here.

Jason Zenteno

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

mikee said...

Oh! that was one of the beautiful groceries bag I've ever seen. so cute!

grocery philippines

JPayne said...

I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but there is one thing i'm curious about. What kind of needle did you use/find easier to use. I've heard the plastic doesn't stick to wooden needles, but the wooden ones brake easier when knitting with the plastic. What would you recommend?

Meg Kempert said...

J - I really like Denise circular needles. They are plastic, so the stitches slide more easily and the set comes with end caps for straight knitting. Aluminum needles work well with plarn also, but are a bit heavy and cold for my comfort. For wood, I recently discovered Knit Picks Harmony needles and it's been love at first knit. Hope this helps. Happy knitting!!!