Use this Japanese knot bag knitting pattern to make a small wristlet with an interesting closure requiring no additional accessories.
A knot bag is a small roundish bag with two handles. In Japan, they are frequently made with recycled kimono fabric. The bag is carried with one handle over the other. This creates an interesting asymmetry and a neat closure that requires no extra accessories.
In this knitting pattern, one shorter handle is positioned in front of the longer handle. It is then looped over the longer handle to form the closure. This bag is knitted in the round.
I have chosen to design one handle shorter than the other. I have also decided to position the shorter handle in front of the longer one. The idea is to loop the shorter handle over the longer one to act as closure in front of the bag. The usual position is side by side. It means no extra accessories for closure are required.
Finally, I have also used smaller-sized needles than was recommended for the yarn so that I get a firmer and sturdier knitted fabric.
1 skein of bulky wool yarn in a colour you like – The initial project was made with Knitpicks Wool of the Andes bulky yarn. But any bulky yarn, either wool or acrylic, is fine. Lion Brand’s Red heart comes to mind (https://amzn.to/3VqeJW9).
An assortment of buttons – I had wanted to use buttons I collected from old clothes over the years. However, the colours and designs are too dull. In the end, I bought a bag of colourful and cute buttons from a craft shop. I recently came across this uber cute bag of animal buttons on Amazon. For your consideration.
- 3.5mm / US 4 knitting needles (double-pointed or circular needles)
- A set of 3.5mm double-pointed needles.
- Sewing needle and thread in matching colour
- Stitch markers
Gauge and Measurement
My gauge using 3.5mm needles and 9 WPI bulky yarn is 20 stitches / 28 rows = 10 cm /4 inches in stockinette stitch unblocked.
The body of the bag measures 7 inch (18cm) wide by 7 inch tall (not including handles) unblocked.
Instructions for the body
Knitting in the Round
Cast on 72 stitches.
Bring the first stitch and the last stitch together. Place a marker between these 2 stitches. Join together and start knitting in the round by knitting the first stitch right after the last stitch
Knit in the round until the piece measures 18 cm / 7 inches. The body of the bag is basically a square. If the width of your bag is more than 18 cm, then knit till the height is the same as the width.
Some knitters told me that they do not like knitting in the round and prefer knitting flat. Here is the instructions.
Cast on 72 stitches. (Tip: You may want to leave a long tail of yarn sufficient to seam the sides and the bottom later.)
Knit in stockinette stitch until you get a rectangle with a height that is half the width. Ideally, the piece should measure 7 inches by 14 inches. When you fold the piece in half, you should get a square.
Do not bind off. Transfer the live stitches to waste yarn or a circular needle so that you can fold it.
Fold the piece in half so that the 2 sides meet. Seam the two sides together using the mattress stitch.
Instructions for the Handles
The handles are made up of a stockinette band with a seed stitch border.
Transfer the first 18 stitches onto a single double-pointed needle. Knit these 18 stitches as follows:
Row 1: K2, P2, K10, P2, K2, turn the work
Row 2: P1, K1, P1, K1, P10, K1, P1, K1, P1
Repeat these 2 rows until the handle measures 25 cm / 10 inches long.
Using the Kitchener stitch, graft these 18 stitches to the 18 stitches next to it. I highly recommend the knitting needle method by Techknitter. (https://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/05/easier-way-to-kitchener-stitch-also.html)
Once grafted, cut off the yarn and weave the ends into the bag neatly.
Repeat the same process with the shorter handle. This time knit until the handle measures 13 cm / 5 inches. Graft these 18 stitches to the remaining 18 stitches on your needles using the Kitchener stitch.
The finished handles will look like this:
Sewing up the bottom of the Japanese knot bag
Position the bag so that the shorter handle is in front of the longer one. Using mattress stitch, sew up the bottom. If you are new to mattress stitch, watch this Youtube tutorial to learn how to do it.
Accessorizing the bag
The bag is a little plain, use anything on hand to accessorize the bag. I sew a bunch of buttons to the body to pimp it up.
Remember, sew the buttons or any other ornaments that you like onto the bag first before you line it because you want to hide all the threads and endings underneath the lining. Double stitching motifs onto the bag is also another way to embellish the bag.
Lining the bag
Line the bag so that it lasts longer. I lined both the handles and the body.
Find any fabric that you can recycle. You can buy new fabric, but I think an old T-shirt works just fine. Measure and cut the fabric with about 1 inch extra for folding in. Two narrow strips for the handles and a long rectangle for the body.
Position and pin the narrow strips to the inside of the handles right side facing up. Fold the 1-inch border in and slip stitch along all the sides.
Fold the fabric for the body in half right-side together. Mark out the 1-inch border and stitch up the side and bottom. You can use the sewing machine for this if you have one.
Turn it out so that the right side is facing out. Turn the knot bag wrong side out and slip the body lining over the bag. Fold the 1-inch border at the top down and pin along the top of the bag overlaying over the lining of the handle.
Slip stitch along the edge. Turn the bag out and adjust the lining. Insert the longer handle into the shorter handle to close the bag. And you are done!
Wanna Keep an Offline Copy of the Japanese Knot Bag Knitting Pattern?
Pictures of a knot bag I made using brown worsted weight yarn with duplicate stitching embellishments.
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