Knitting a Grocery Bag, Free Style

Net Knit Grocery BagYou can never have enough reusable shopping bags! I love making these- it’s so easy to do, and it’s a great way to us up whatever cotton you have lying around. Now that it costs 5p per shopping bag up here in the land of tea and biscuits, there’s an extra little incentive to make some of these up and stash them around.

This isn’t a pattern, per se, but a (hopefully easy) guide to get you to whip up some nice, useful net bags. In terms of material, you want something strong with low elasticity – that means cellulose, so go for cotton, ramie, linen, viscose, etc. I would suggest that if you go below a sport/4-ply weight to simply double up your yarn.

Sorry I can’t estimate yardage for you! I used some scraps and a ball of Rowan Siena 4 Ply cotton (50g 140m/153yds) for this. The body of my bag, excluding handles, measures about 13 x 12 inches (30 x 33cm) un-stretched.

Note your bag will expand 25-50% when full!


Cotton or other strong, low-elasticity yarn, any gauge (DK-chunky is best, double up finer yarns), 1-4 balls

Circular knitting needles, 30-60cm/ 9-16”, up to three sizes bigger than what your yarn would recommend.

Notes on Construction

This bag is simple to make. First just knit a rectangle, pick up all the edge stitches, then knit upwards in a net pattern.


Cast on enough stitches to get about 8”/ 20cm in stockinette. I started with 34 in the above bag.

Knit in stockinette for about 5”/12.5cm.

At the end of your last right side row, continue around the perimeter of the rectangle, picking up and knitting stitches. Pick up and knit 2 of every 3 on the sides, while picking up the same number of stitches cast on along the bottom.


Join circle, place marker and begin knitting in round.

The entire body is knit in net as follows:

Row 1: K2tog, YO*

Row 1: Knit

When the desired length is met (keeping in mind it can get pretty stretchy!), knit about 1”/2.5cm of k1 p1 rib.

Handle and Finishing

Bind off all but last 5-9 sts, depding on gauge and desired length of handle. Continue knitting these stitches in k1p1 rib until handle measures about 15”/38cm or desired length. Join to opposite side with kitchener or preferred stitch.

Weave in ends.

You may have noticed that this is leftover yarn from my cotton jumper!  This is the perfect kind of project for that.

Purl Bee Elisa’s Nest Tote – I have also made this tote. I found it a little awkward to use, but the i-cord edging/handle is a great idea.  I personally found the two handles to be a bit poorly placed, but maybe that’s just me!

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