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11 Contemporary Tote Bag Knitting Patterns


Klara Nilsson | Updated on October 19, 2021

Unlike sweaters, scarves, and hats, good tote bag knitting patterns are hard to come by. That’s why we’ve found the best knit tote bag patterns from all over the internet and listed them here for you.

Generally speaking, knitted tote bags are similar to beret knitting patterns – simple to work up, quick to finish, and very practical. Even better, they never go out of style. What’s better than wearing something you made yourself?

Whether you’re a beginner or knitting expert, you’ll find an easy free or paid tote bag knitting pattern in this list that you can knit up as a gift for a friend or for yourself. Customize your colorways, experiment with the patterns, and make a step towards sustainable fashion with a functional bag you can use over and over again. If you’re not looking to commit, simply try a free tote bag knitting pattern and see how it goes.

Most of the patterns in this list use worsted weight, chunky, or super bulky weight yarn. We’ve favoured patterns that use natural cotton or linen yarns too, since they are soft, sturdy, and last a long time. That means you can use your tote bag on a day-to-day basis without it losing shape.

11 Hand-Picked Tote Bag Knitting Patterns (Free & Paid)

Below are 11 contemporary free and paid knitted tote bag patterns for beginners and intermediate knitters. We’ve selected a range of different styles including traditional totes, over-the-shoulder market bags, and cross-body bags. Find your favourite pattern, knit it up, then go out and share your creation with the world!

1. Technicolor Tote Bag Pattern

Technicolour Tote Bag
Price$4.79 / £3.46
Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Suggested YarnSunday – Sandnes Garn
Designer’s WebsiteTechnicolor Tote Bag – PetiteKnit

The Technicolor Tote Bag by PetiteKnit is a playful pattern knitted in three different colors. Knitted in the round using three threads together to get a gradient color shift, it’s an excellent project for intermediate knitters. The finished bag measures 34 cm/13.5 inches in width and 38 cm/715 inches in height – plenty of space for your shopping!

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 11/8.0mm Needles
Yarn WeightDK / 8 ply (11 wpi)
Yarn Quantity945 yards (864 m)
AccessoriesN/A

2. Hanna Tote Bag

Hanna Tote Bag
PriceFree
Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Suggested Yarn Recycled Cotton Worsted Yarn – Paintbox Yarns
Designer’s WebsiteHanna Free Tote Bag – LoveCrafts

The Hanna Tote Bag is a stylish free tote bag knitting pattern with a playful design that uses three vibrant colors. It’s knit in flat blocks that are stitched together at the end, creating a sturdy market bag strong enough to carry groceries or more. The finished bag measures 41 cm/16 inches wide and 34 cm/13.5 inches high.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 7/4.50mm Straight Needles
Yarn WeightWorsted Weight
Yarn Quantity3 Balls
AccessoriesScissors

3. Pensacola Tote Bag

Pensacola Tote Bag
Price$3.74 / £2.70
Difficulty LevelBeginner
Suggested Yarn Rowan Handknit Cotton – LoveCrafts
Designer’s WebsitePensacola Tote – AppleandAcornCo on Etsy

Made with cotton yarn, the Pensacola Tote bag is an excellent pattern for everyday use. The finished bag measures 32 cm wide and 30 cm high, not including the bag’s handles. The pattern instructions create short handles, but you can easily make the handles longer or shorter to fit your preference. Knit with stripes or in one solid color, just be wary – it’s made out of cotton, so the bag will stretch when you use it.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 7/4.50mm  Circular Needles
Yarn WeightDK or Worsted Weight
Yarn Quantity150g
AccessoriesN/A

4. “This Way Up” Tote Bag

"This Way Up" Tote Bag
Price$3.46 / £2.50
Difficulty LevelBeginner
Suggested Yarn Wendy Supreme Cotton DK – Wool Warehouse
Designer’s Website“This Way Up” Tote Bag – LoveCrafts

Knit flat with DK yarn, the ‘This Way Up’ tote sports wide straps and lots of space for your things. The bag is knitted in four parts using the garter stitch before being joined together. The finished bag measures 46 cm/18 inches wide and 41 cm/16 inches high, while the straps are 25 cm/10 inches long.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 4/3.50mm Needles
US Size 9/5.50mm Circular Needles
Yarn WeightDK
Yarn Quantity15og
AccessoriesStitch Markers

5. Simple Knit Tote Pattern

Simple Knit Tote
PriceFree
Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Suggested Yarn Lantern Yarn – Purl Soho
Designer’s WebsiteSimple Knit Tote – Purl Soho

This Simple Knit Tote is a modern tote bag knitting pattern made with a cotton-linen yarn mix. Though the design is classic, the mix of yarn creates a fluffy effect that adds a contemporary twist. The pattern is completely free and contains instructions to knit the bottom flat, pick up around the edges and knit the body of the bag in the round. The straps are knit separately and joined in the middle with a 3-needle bind off.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle Size US Size 8/5mm Circular Needles (24 or 32 inch Cable)
Yarn WeightWorsted/Aran (4-5)
Yarn Quantity300g / 386 yards
AccessoriesStitch Markers

6. Summer Commitment Tote Bag

Summer Commitment Tote
PriceFree
Difficulty LevelBeginner
Suggested Yarn N/A
Designer’s WebsiteSummer Commitment – Espace Tricot on Ravelry

Knit with bulky yarn, the Summer Commitment tote bag is another free pattern that calls for knitting both flat and in the round – great for practicing both skills. The bottom and straps are knit flat and then the main body is knit in the round, while the straps are eventually joined using kitchener stitch. If you’re looking to knit a cross-body style bag, then you’ll need to pick up an extra skein of yarn, too.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 10 / 6.0 mm
Yarn WeightBulky (7 wpi)
Yarn Quantity355 yards (325m)
AccessoriesN/A

7. Mohave Slouchy Tote Bag Knitting Pattern

Mohave Slouchy Tote Bag
Price$5.00 / £3.64
Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Suggested Yarn Re-Tweed – Lion Brand Yarns
Designer’s WebsiteMohave Slouchy Tote Bag – MamaInaStitch on Etsy

This pattern creates an oversized, slouchy bag with wide straps perfect for beach trips. The design is both comfortable and practical, with playful tassels for extra fun and flair. Knit it in the round using circular needles and two different colors of yarn, or choose one solid color if you prefer.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 11/8.0mm Circular Needles (16in Cable)
Yarn WeightN/A
Yarn QuantityN/A
AccessoriesDarning Needle

8. Two Color Slouchy Tote bag

Two Color Slouchy Tote Bag
Price$4.80 / £3.50
Difficulty LevelBeginner
Suggested Yarn N/A
Designer’s WebsiteTwo Color Slouchy Tote Bag – LoveCrafts

This seamless tote bag knitting pattern is easy and beginner-friendly. It features shorter straps but you can easily lengthen them to knit a shoulder bag instead. The finished measurements are 41 cm/16” in length, 39 cm/15.4” in width, while the handles are 25 cm/9.8” long.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 17 / 12mm Circular Needles (31.5 inch Cable)
Yarn WeightSuper Chunky
Yarn Quantity110 yards/100 m Color A
55 yards/50m Color B
AccessoriesStitch Markers
Sewing Thread
Scissors

9. Knitted Market Bag Pattern

Knitted Market Bag
Price$7.50 / £5.46
Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Suggested Yarn Mandarin Naturell – Sandnes Garn
Designer’s WebsiteKnitted Market Bag – KnitCoCorner on Etsy

This knitted market bag is an eco-friendly pattern with a stripped-back, fashionable design. Made with organic yarn, the finished bag has a stretchy texture measuring 45-55cm in width, 37 cm in height, with 26cm handles.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeN/A
Yarn Weight100-130m = 50g
Yarn Quantity200g
AccessoriesN/A

10. Free “Summer Fling” Tote Bag Pattern

Summer Fling Tote Bag
PriceFree
Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Suggested Yarn Pure Linen – Rowan
Designer’s WebsiteSummer Fling Tote Bag – Dayana Knits

Summer Fling Hobo is a beautiful free tote bag knitting pattern perfect for casual outfits and strolling around town. Made with beautiful linen yarn which is both soft and firm, it’s bound to hold its shape well over time. The pattern contains instructions to knit in two colors, with one skein required for each color.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 3 / 3.25mm Needles
Yarn Weight130m = 50g
Yarn Quantity2 Skeins (154 m/168 yds per skein)
AccessoriesN/A

11. Free Knitted Tote Bag by Yarn Plaza

Free Knitted Tote Bag
PriceFree
Difficulty LevelBeginner
Suggested Yarn Lana Grossa Cotton Mix 80 – Ravelry
Designer’s WebsiteKnitted Tote Bag – Yarn Plaza

This free tote bag knitting pattern from Yarn Plaza is made out of soft cotton in three different colors. The twisted handle offers a unique take on a basic design that’s perfect for everyday use. It’s knit in the round using 9 balls of mid-weight yarn.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 4 / 3.5mm Circular Needles (47in Cable)
Yarn WeightBulky / 12 ply (7 wpi)
Yarn Quantity9 Balls
AccessoriesN/A

How Do You Knit a Tote Bag?

Knitting a tote bag or market bag is relatively easy compared to a lot of knitting projects. There are tons of super simple patterns to choose from, which means you don’t have to be an experienced knitter to get started.

In most cases, the process of construction is as simple as the final aesthetic. Unlike more complicated projects like polo sweater knitting patterns, tote bags generally don’t require much shaping or decreasing. The easiest way to knit a tote bag  is to use circular needles to knit the bottom of the bag flat, pick up around the edges, work the body of the bag in the round, and then knit each side of the strap separately to be joined at the end.

The size of different patterns obviously varies, but the size of the average tote bag is roughly 12 x 14 inches. You can choose to make short handles or longer handles, and vary the size of the opening depending on the items you’ll be storing in the bag.

Knitwear designers will vary the techniques required for their patterns, but most tote knitting patterns will require knowledge of how to knit and purl stitch, cast on and off, slip stitches, decrease, and sometimes perform stockinette and lace stitches.

The simplicity of most tote bag knitting patterns means you can let your creativity flow as you’re following the instructions. If you have the skills, try mixing different techniques to create your own unique design.

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