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This felted bag was inspired by one that my friend Sharon always totes her knitting in and the woven baskets commonly seen in French markets. I bought a few skeins of Cold Harbour Aran weight yarn during a visit to the mill -- it's actually a working wool museum -- early this year and created this shallow basket bag.

The bag has a square base and is knitted in the round. The handles are grafted together using the Kitchener stitch. Instructions have been included also for knitting this without double-pointed needles as many knitters have often equated using double-pointed needles to wrestling with a porcupine.

If you've always wanted to knit a sock, but never tried, then try this bag, since it incorporates several techniques common in sock knitting [Kitchener stitch, double-point needles, joining and knitting in the round, sloped decreases].

Note: As with all felting projects, it is absolutely imperative to understand how the knitted material will shrink. Therefore, you should do a swatch and determine the felting ratio. Most yarns shrink much more in length than in width. I found this to be true with the Cold Harbour Mill Yarns as well. To get a relatively square base, the bag was originally made with a base that knitted in the round.

The base of the bag and the part of the handles most likely to come in contact with sticky fingers, have been made in darker wool.

photo: Polly Outhwaite


Before Felting

Height: 8 inches
Width : 11 inches
Depth : 11 inches
Handle length : 9 inches

After Felting

Height: 6 inches
Width : 9 inches
Depth : 9 inches
Handle length : 7 inches



[MC] Cold Harbour Mill Aran Weight [100% wool; 140 yd/120m per 100g skein]; color: Devon Green [Light Green]; 2 skeins
[CC] Cold Harbour Mill Aran Weight [100% wool; 140 yd/120m per 100g skein];color: Tartan Green [Dark Green]; 1 skein

1 set [5 needles] US #7/4.5 mm double-point needles
32-inch US #7/4.5mm circular needle
3 stitch holders [or 3 large safety pins]
Tape Measure
Tapestry Needle



18 sts/24 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch [unfelted]


Bag Base [in the round]

Using double pointed needles and CC, CO 8 sts. Divide so that there are 2 sts on each of 4 needles. [Although it is possible to divide using 3 needles, I recommend using 4 needles as it makes the increasing a lot easier. The increases occur before and after the first stitch of each needle.]

Join by slipping first st onto Needle 4. Pull last st over first st and move the last stitch onto the Needle 1.

Round 1: Knit [8 sts]

Round 2: *K1, M1* around [16 sts].

Round 3: Knit.

Round 4: * K1, M1, K3, M1 * around [24 sts].

Round 5: Knit.

Round 6: * K1, M1, K5, M1 * around [32 sts].

Round 7: Knit.

Round 8: * K1, M1, K7, M1 * around [40 sts].

Round 9: Knit.

Round 10: * K1, M1, K9, M1 * around [48 sts].

Continue in this manner, so that all odd rounds are knit and all even rounds have 8 stitches increased until you have 200 sts. Since you are increasing before and after the first st of each of the needles, the first st is going to "pop" up, off the knitted fabric.

Switch to circular needles when there are too many stitches to work comfortably on the double pointed needles.

The circumference of the bag should be approximately 44 inches.

Continue with Bag Body [skip next section]

Bag Base[alternate flat knit version]

These are the alternate instructions for knitting the base back and forth. On circular needles, with CC, CO 50 sts. Work piece in St st until piece measures 12.5 inches, ending with a knit row. [You need to increase the fabric length-wise to take into account the vertical shrinkage.]

Do NOT bind off.

Pick up 50 sts along each of the 3 other sides of the rectangular piece [200 sts].

The circumference of the bag should be approximately 47 inches.

Continue with Bag Body.


Bag Body

Work 9 more rows in CC. Break off yarn and join MC. Work in St st until body measures 8 inches long. [Knit this longer if you would like a deeper bag].


Bag Handles

K12, BO 25, K25, BO25, K25, BO25, K25, BO25, K13 (for a total of 200 stitches.) Each group of 25 sts will be worked separately. Put 3 groups of 25 onto stitch holders and work the current 25 sts. Turn work.

Row 1 : P25.

Row 2 : K25.

Row 3 : P25.

Row 4 : Ssk, k21, k2tog [23 sts].

Row 5 : P23.

Row 6 : K23.

Row 7 : P23.

Row 8 : SSK, k19, k2tog [21 sts].

Continue decreasing as set every 4th row.

When 17 sts remain, break off MC and join in CC.

Continue decreasing every 4th row until 9 sts remain.

Work 4 more rows in St st. Put these 9 st onto a stitch holder.

Work remaining 3 groups of 25 sts the same. You will have 4 groups of 9 sts.



Thread tapestry needle and graft the handles together, using Kitchener stitch.

Sew in and trim all the loose ends. [If you don't do this before felting, you may end up with a tangled mess!]

Fill washing machine with economy/half load, hot water, a small amount of detergent, a towel or a pair of jeans [something to provide some agitation in the wash] and the bag. Run the wash cycle, checking every 10 minutes until the bag has felted to desired consistency. You should no longer be able to see the stitch definition.

You may line the bag with fabric if desired.


Polly Outhwaite is a Rowanette and one of the founding members of Central London Knitters, that meet up every 1st and 3rd Thursday evening in Liberty's Art Bar Café.

She can normally be found unraveling her latest project on All Tangled Up - Knitting from across the Pond.